Learn this trainer’s six-move dumbbell workouts to build muscle all over and why they are so effective in building mass.

Hitting the gym floor for the first time can be intimidating and daunting at first. You are surrounded by complex machines and free-weight stations with dozens of different types of weights. That’s why going in with a plan in hand works so well to actually have an effective workout on day 1 and build confidence.

This six-move muscle-building workout can be done with just a pair of dumbbells. This helps you stay situated in one station and removes the need to take trips to different stations for one workout.

Better yet, if you’ve never done these exercises, practice those moves with or without dumbbells at home to gain familiarity.

To get the most out of your workout, work your way up to the weight you can do about 8-10 reps.

The Best Six Dumbbell Workouts for Building Muscle

The Best Dumbbell Workouts for Building Muscle

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This workout hits all your major muscles from your glutes, and hamstrings, to the core and chest. It’ll help you build muscle all over your body in weeks with consistent effort.

Dumbbell Double Arm Swings

Dumbbell Double Arm Swings

The kettlebell swing is an amazing exercise for virtually every muscle in the body. Luckily, you don’t even have to have a kettlebell to complete this move; a dumbbell works just fine!

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the top of the dumbbell with both hands, keeping your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Using your glutes and hamstrings to power the movement, swing the weight forward.
  • Once you’ve got it to about waist height, allow the weight to swing back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

7. Dumbbell Front Squats

Dumbbell Front Squats

Squats are an amazing exercise that can help the body in myriad ways. The front squat variation also helps to incorporate some shoulder work, and the nature of this squat kicks your quads into overdrive.

How to Perform:

  • Start standing, holding one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your elbows and place the dumbbells on the front of your shoulders, resting them there, if possible, with your hands supporting them.
  • Squat down as deeply as you can without your back collapsing forward or your heels coming off of the ground.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range, stand back up to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps for 3 sets per session, 2 sessions per week.

13. Dumbbell Press From Floor

Dumbbell Press From Floor

Bench pressing is a key movement that works the pecs, shoulders, and triceps. When it’s performed with dumbbells, the abs are often involved as well (at least to some degree).

How to Perform:

  • Grab a dumbbell with each hand and lay down on the floor.
  • Keep your knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling.
  • Once you’ve reached the top of your range, slowly lower the weights back down to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

26. Dumbbell Renegade Rows

Dumbbell Renegade Rows

One of my favorite dumbbell exercises. This move is awesome, especially at the end of a tough workout. The pushup position row will challenge your shoulders, triceps, biceps, and, most of all, your core.

How to Perform:

  • Place two dumbbells on the floor, spaced out equally.
  • Assume a pushup position, with your hands on the weights.
  • Next, pull the right weight up toward your chest by performing a row.
  • Then, return this weight to the ground and repeat on the left side.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per side, per set, for 3 sets per session, for 2 sessions per week.

22. Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press

Overhead presses are a critical piece of every successful training program. This move works the deltoids, traps, triceps, and various other muscles all at once.

How to Perform:

  • In standing, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Position the weights on your shoulders, with your palms facing one another. Press the dumbbell in your right hand toward the ceiling. Next, return this weight to your right shoulder as you simultaneously press the left dumbbell up. 
  • Continue to alternate in this pattern until you have completed 10-15 reps on both arms, for 3 sets per session, 2 sessions per week.

25. Dumbbell Skull Crushers

Skull Crushers

As wicked as this exercise sounds, it’s fairly safe. This is especially true when performed with dumbbells and a spotter nearby. Your triceps will really feel this one!

How to Perform:

  • Lie down on your back on a flat bench.
  • Push the weights up toward the ceiling by performing a bench press.
  • Next, allow your elbows to bend so that the weights lower down toward your head.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range, straighten your arms back out to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

The Bottom Line Dumbbell Workouts

These six-move dumbbell workouts will help you get stronger and build muscle all over. Best of all, these dumbbell workouts require very little space to perform.

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