8 Easy Dumbbell Workouts to Tone Up and Slim Down

Article posted in: Fitness
2 dumbbell on a yoga mat with phone

No room for a home gym? No problem. You can get an intense, effective, weight loss workout at home with just one piece of equipment: A set of dumbbells. Check out these eight easy dumbbell workouts to help you tone up and get fit!

If you’re just beginning your exercise journey, you might purchase a set of two, three or five-pound dumbbells. If you’ve been exercising for quite some time, you might jump right into eight or 10-pound weights.

To get the best of both worlds, adjustable dumbbells are terrific, allowing you to increase weight and difficulty over time and plan for each exercise accordingly. For example, your legs are much more powerful than your arms. It is way easier to squat with 15-pound weights in your hands than to curl the same weight.

So what’s a squat, anyway? And what is the correct way to curl? We’ve rounded up some basic dumbbell exercises, explained start to finish, to help get you started.

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Here are eight easy dumbbell workouts to help you tone up and slim down:

1. Bicep Curls


  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the sides of the hips.
  3. Engage your abs then slowly curl your hands up towards your shoulders, allowing the hands to rotate to face the front of your shoulder.
  4. Keep your elbows close to your ribcage. Slowly return your hands to your sides.

Want to work your biceps in a different way? Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rotate your hands away from your hips and slowly curl your hands up towards the outside of your shoulders. Again, keep your elbows close to your ribcage.

 2. Squat to Press

squat press

  1. Grab your dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. As you get into the squatting position, hold your weights at the sides of your head, with your arms bent at 90-degree angles and your wrists facing outward in front of you.
  3. Move your hips and butt back and downward until your knees are bent directly over your feet in the squatting position.
  4. As you come out of the squat to stand up, press your arms over your head until they are straight up in the air.
  5. Keep your core engaged to balance your body and return back to the squatting position while bringing your arms back down to their starting position.

3. Chest Press


  1. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and lay down on your back with your knees bent. (Your knuckles should be facing the ceiling.) You can also do this exercise on a workout bench.
  2. Push your lower back flat on the floor, removing the arch.
  3.  Push your arms up towards the ceiling, then in so the weights almost touch at the top.
  4. Return your elbows to the floor and repeat and the exercise.
  5. Concentrate on using your chest muscles, not your arms, to lift the weight.

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4. Lunges


  1. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Step forward with your right leg and squat down until both legs are bent 90 degrees. (Your right knee should not extend out over your right toe and your left knee should not touch the floor.)
  3. Return to standing, keeping your weight in your heels as you push back. Step out with your left leg, squat, then return to standing.

Want a challenge? Do a side lunge:

  1. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, weights in hand.
  2. Step sideways to the right with your right leg (approximately one to two feet out) and bend your right knee, ensuring it stays behind the toes.
  3. Keep your left leg planted and straight.
  4. Position your weight in your heels as you return to standing and then step out with your left leg.

5. Glute Bridge

glute workout

  1. Lie down on your back and bend your knees. Position your dumbbells on your hips and hold them in place with your hands.
  2. Use your heels to push your butt and hips up off the floor as high as possible, keeping your shoulders planted and abs tight.
  3. Hold briefly and then slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.

6. Plank Rows


  1. Get into a push-up or plank position. The key to a plank is to keep your body straight and abs contracted and tight. Your hands and feet should be evenly spaced. (Tip: Lay a full-length mirror on its side to check your alignment.) Your butt shouldn’t be sticking up in the air nor should your body be arched downward.
  2. Stack your arms under your shoulders and come up on your toes. To make this move easier, you can drop down onto your knees.
  3. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and lift it up to your right shoulder. Return it to the ground, switch arms and repeat the move on the other side.

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7. Dumbbell Shoulder Press


  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weights in hand.
  2. Surrender your arms and then push the weights up, completely extending your arms. Then slowly lower them down to the bent-arm position.
  3. Keep your shoulders back and chest up throughout the exercise.

8. Weighted Step Ups


If you have an aerobic step with adjustable risers, terrific! If you don’t, you can do these on your front porch or any other type of step in your home. According to Silver Sneakers, step workouts are a great way to work out your legs, hips, core and glutes.

  1. Hold weights in each hand.
  2. Step up onto your step, leading with your left foot. Left up, right up, left down, right down. “Push down through your heel, and lift yourself up until your leg is straight,” says Silver Sneakers.
  3. Repeat as many times as desired and then lead with the right foot.
  4. Go faster to burn even more calories.

*Always speak with a doctor before starting an exercise routine.

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