How to Choose the Right Dumbbells for Your Workout

What Size Dumbbells to Use

Strength training is one of the most overlooked exercises necessary for weight loss because building lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories while at rest. Luckily, there are plenty of strength training exercises you can do in the comfort of your home with a few sets of dumbbells. If you’re new to strength training, you may be unsure of what size dumbbells to use for your exercises. It’s important to choose the appropriate size, as too much weight can lead to pulled muscle and too little won’t be effective for you!

The first thing to note is that the weight you choose will vary depending on which exercise you’re doing. To help you choose the appropriate size for your workout, here’s a little cheat sheet:

2-5 lbs. in each hand works for…

  • Lateral raises (deltoids and trapezius: shoulders and upper back)
  • Bent-over rows (deltoids, trapezius, and triceps: shoulders, upper back, and outside of upper arms)
  • Upright rows (deltoids, trapezius, and biceps: shoulders, upper back, and inside of upper arms)
  • Triceps kickbacks (triceps: outside of upper arms)
  • Overhead shoulder presses (deltoids, trapezius, and pectoralis: shoulders, upper back, and upper chest)
  • Overhead triceps extensions (deltoids and triceps: shoulders and outside of upper arms)

5-8 lbs. in each hand works for…

  • Bicep curls (biceps: inside of upper arms)

12 to 45 lbs. (body bar) works for…

  • Chest presses (pectoralis: chest)

Zero (your own body weight) to 45 lbs. works for…

  • Squats (deltoids and triceps: shoulders and outside of upper arms)

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dumbbells, so it’s best to purchase a few sets that will give you some flexibility. This three-pair set of dumbells is a bestseller on Amazon for good reason! If you’re new to strength training, you can start on the lower end and gradually increase weight as you build up your strength.

Do you do strength training regularly? Which exercises are you a fan of?

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