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Dumbbell Exercises

Dumbbell exercises build strength on multiple levels. Because they are free weights, dumbbells can stimulate muscle groups that stabilize movement. They are also ideal for sports-specific training, allowing one the benefit of resistance while executing routines that cannot be performed with weight on a bar. Dumbbells are excellent instruments for building endurance. Simply adding weight to any activity will challenge one's previously assigned boundaries. By adding some simple drills to your regular practice, you can develop powerful muscle while sculpting an impressive physique.

Hold two dumbbells, one hanging at each side of your body. Position your hands with the palms facing toward your hips. Leaving one foot planted, step forward with the other to a length that is approximately 30 percent larger than your normal stride. Bend the front knee to a 90-degree angle and pause for a moment. Push off explosively with the same foot, bringing yourself back to the original position. Repeat this movement until you feel a sufficient burn in the thigh of the leg being put forward. Switch legs, and duplicate the process.

French Press
Lie down on your back on a bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms forward from your chest. Position the dumbbells so that the palms of both your hands face each other. Bend your elbows while pulling both arms back so that each weight ends up horizontally aligned with one side of your head. Press the weight back out to the starting position. Repeat a maximum of 10 times. When you can do more that 10 repetitions, switch to a heavier weight.

Dumbell Deadlift
Stand with your feet apart at a distance slightly smaller that the span of your shoulders. Pick up two dumbbells and allow them to hang at your sides, palms facing in. Bend your knees slightly. Lean forward from the waist as if you were placing the weights on the ground in front of you. Keep your back in a natural curve throughout the movement, neither overly rigid nor slack. Stick your bottom out behind you to counterbalance the shift of weight. Just before touching the dumbbells to the ground, rise back up to your starting posture. Repeat this exercise until you feel a considerable stretch in the hamstrings (backs of the thighs).

Stand in an upright posture, feet positioned shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Hold a dumbbell at each side so that both palms face toward your body. While keeping your arms rigid, raise both dumbbells out sideways. Continue lifting your arms until they are parallel with the floor. Your body should take on the shape of a capital "T." Hold your arms in the top position for two seconds, then slowly lower them to their beginning location. Repeat this movement for maximum repetitions but not to the point of injury.