A staple in almost every training program, the dumbbell bench press targets the pecs (chest), anterior deltoids (shoulders) and triceps. The dumbbell bench press allows for even greater range of motion (than a barbell bench press), allowing a deeper stretch of the pectoral muscle. The added stability required for the dumbbell bench press builds stronger, more stable shoulders, as the shoulder girdle and rotator cuff must work even harder to stabilise the dumbbells.
When performing the movement, it is important to set the shoulders down and back, ensuring the lats are turned on. Start with the dumbbells on your chest, and press them straight up by extending the arms. Focus on a big squeeze of the chest at the top of the movement, ensuring the target muscles are being worked. Control the dumbbells back down to the chest and repeat.
*Performing this with a narrow grip will change the target area to the triceps.
*If you are a beginner, performing a floor press can be a good way to build the strength and stability required to perform this movement at full range. The movement is performed the exact same way, just with limited ROM (range of motion). The movement starts and ends with the elbows and triceps on the floor.VIEW OUR DUMBBELLs
A primary exercise for building a strong back, the dumbbell bent over row targets the entire back, with the lats, rhomboids, traps and rear delts all being worked. Performing this exercise with dumbbells allows for greater range of motion at top of the movement, allowing for greater retraction of the scapular and squeeze of the lats.
The movement is performed with the body in a hinge position, with the knees slightly bent and the chest parallel with the floor (you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings). It is important to maintain a neutral spine with the core braced. With the arms straight down, pull back with your elbows, retracting the shoulders and scapular, squeezing the lats. Hold the top of the movement for a split second, then control back down and repeat.
*Changing to a neutral or reverse grip will slightly change the target muscles.VIEW OUR DUMBBELLS
A great way to train the legs without the need for a heavy barbell or machine, the dumbbell goblet squat primarily targets the quads and glutes.
The movement is performed holding a dumbbell at chest height. Set up with your feet just outside of hip width, with the feet slightly turned out. Set the bum back slightly, then squat straight down with the knees tracking over the toes. Squat down as low as you can whilst maintaining a neutral spine. As you stand up, keep your chest up and extend your hips at the top (squeeze your bum!). Remember to breathe in and brace your core before you squat, breathe out on the way up.
*If you are a beginner with limited ROM, try raising your heels a few inches (stand with heels on a weight plate). This will increase your ankle flexibility and allow you to squat down lower whilst maintaining a neutral spine.
*Bringing your feet together and raising your heels up high will change the target area to the VMO’s (lower quad).
A must have in your leg-day session, the dumbbell lunge is a unilateral exercise that targets the quads, glutes and hamstrings.
Holding the dumbbells by your side, the movement is performed by stepping forward and dropping your knee to the floor in one smooth motion (so that your font shin and back leg are at 90O with the floor). Push off your front foot and step back to the starting position. Change legs and repeat. It is important to perform the movement with control, ensuring the knee is tracking the toe, the core is braced, and the pelvis remains neutral.
*This movement can also be performed stepping backwards or walking to slightly change the stimulus and target areas.
*If you are advanced, try holding the dumbbells in the front rack (on shoulders). This requires greater core stability and can make the movement more challenging.
A new addition to most training regimes, the dumbbell snatch is a single-arm, functional movement that requires power, speed, flexibility and coordination.
The movement is performed with the dumbbell starting on the ground, in between your feet. Squat down with your chest up, with one hand on the dumbbell and one hand out for balance. To begin, extend your legs and pull the dumbbell overhead in one smooth motion. Control the dumbbell back down to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Ensure your core remains braced the entire time, and your shoulder is stable with the dumbbell overhead.
*If you are a beginner with limited coordination or ROM, performing a single arm upright row can help build the strength and timing needed for the dumbbell snatch. However, you may also need to stretch your shoulders to help build the necessary ROM.
*Dumbbell overhead holds can help build the overhead stability required for this movement.
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