What are dumbbells?

Objects that have a certain weight that can help us load our limbs independently by making convenient handles to grasp onto. How do we include these tools of different weights and sizes to most effectively train our bodies from head to toe? We have your answer right here.

Full body exercises are my favorite; we get to work everything in the body efficiently, the way nature intended us to lift. Dumbbells are the perfect tool to use for loading because of the dynamic nature of movement and the fact that dumbbells are separated so our hands can move independently from one another.

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Best dumbbell exercises

Exercise 1: Prone row

To perform this exercise, one will get in a push up position with either one or two dumbbells to place to their hands. If it is just one dumbbell, then the hand with the dumbbell will perform a row- reaching from the ground to the shoulder.

If using two dumbbells, we can either alternate hands or do one at time reaching from the ground to shoulder in push up position. Bonus: Try reaching down in different directions (forward, wide, across, etc.). The mind is your only limit. 

Exercise 2: Shoulder matrix

In a squat stance we will perform a shoulder press one arm at a time to allow for functional movement of the spine and reduce the risk of low back pain.

The trick is, this is a matrix that will utilize different muscles throughout the shoulders in different ways. The 6 different presses to perform alternating arms arm: Forward, Backward, Wide, Side Bend Over Head, Twist in Front, Twist out Back.

Tip: To isolate the shoulders more you can sit while performing this exercise or just make sure to stand tall, which I prefer. I also, like to add 5-10 more lbs. per arm than normal sometimes and integrate a small squat to make it a more full body move and target everything from head to toe.

best dumbbell exercises to tone up

Exercise 3: Balance curl to press

Pretty simple explanation- while balancing on one leg perform a curl straight into an overhead press with a dumbbell one arm at a time. The best thing about this exercise is the versatility.

We can stand with the opposite leg of the lifting arm or same leg, we can change our hand position for curls (supinated-traditional curl, neutral-hammer curl, pronated-reverse curl) or our press can change direction (see shoulder matrix above). I like to go heavy and have the balancing leg perform a squat in order to incorporate more muscle groups.

Exercise 4: Power burpees

This is a great cardio/strength combo which is simply a burpee done with dumbbells. The variations to create different motions are practically endless from how the legs jump back in the prone position, to how the jump after rising from ground can go in numerous vectors, and the possibility of 1 vs. 2 dumbbells. Have fun and good luck with this serious movement.

Exercise 5: Lunge Matrix to press

This is my overall favorite exercise for lower body strength and power. Choose your weight wisely. This exercise is performed by doing the lunge matrix (forward, side, and same side rotational), but at each lunge, reach the dumbbells down to ankle height maintaining a flat back.

On the return to the starting position the goal is to get the dumbbells pressed overhead before we get all the way back up to our starting position. This exercise literally works the body from our hands to our toes.

Listed above are 5 killer exercises that make a killer workout. These are all exercises used in programs at PRiME360. Enjoy these movements as you progress to a healthier you.

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