Social Icons


How to Use Dumbbells for Women

Dumbbell workouts can be an effective way to improve strength, as well as balance, coordination, movement and overall health. Because women's bodies respond differently to bodybuilding than men's, it is best to develop a routine tailored to your body and goals. There are a number of good strength training exercises with dumbbells. Learn a few tips to get the most out of your training with dumbbells.

Step 1
Use proper technique. Always warm up thoroughly before beginning any strength training by walking or jogging slowly for at least 10 minutes. When you are ready to begin, be sure your body is aligned properly. When standing, your feet should be shoulder-width apart with knees slightly bent. Your back should be straight. Never hold your breath when lifting weights. Inhale while lifting and exhale while releasing. Stay focused and in control of the weights at all times with slow and controlled movements.

Step 2
Choose appropriate weights. When selecting a dumbbell size, choose one that will feel challenging but not too strenuous. The goal is to do three sets with 8 to 12 repetitions each. The last few repetitions should feel difficult. If they feel too easy, choose a heavier weight. If you cannot do 6repetitions, choose a lighter weight. As your fitness and strength increase, be sure to use heavier weights to challenge your body continually.

Step 3
Work your upper body. Upper body workouts focus on the biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders and back muscles. Many women want strong upper body muscles for sports, competition and everyday life. Some of the more effective dumbbell exercises for the upper body include:

Bicep curls: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your arms next to your sides, palms facing forward. Keep your elbows close to your side and slowly curl both dumbbells up to your shoulders. Lower back down and repeat.

Shoulder presses: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest them at shoulder height. Push the dumbbells straight up until your arms are fully extended overhead. Slowly lower back down to your shoulders and repeat.

Tricep extensions: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and raise this arm straight over your head. Your other hand should guide the dumbbell. Slowly bend your elbow and bring the dumbbell behind your head so it touches your upper back. Raise it up again toward the ceiling and repeat.

Rows: With a dumbbell in one hand, bend over and rest your other hand on a bench. The arm with the dumbbell should be straight down towards the floor. Raise the dumbbell up toward your chest and slowly lower back down toward the ground.

Step 4
Work your lower body. Lower body muscles include the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, as well as many smaller, supporting muscles. Some basic lower body exercises with dumbbells include:

Squats: With your feet shoulder width apart and both hands holding one dumbbell against your chest, lower your hips toward the ground, getting your thighs parallel to the ground. Stand up and repeat.

Lunges: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight down toward the ground. Take a big step forward with one foot and lower your back knee toward the ground. Bring your front foot back to your body and repeat with the other side.

Calf raises: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and put your toes on the edge of a step. Slowly lower your heels toward the ground and then rise back up onto your toes. Use a handrail for balance if needed.

Step 5
Avoid over-training. Two to three strength sessions a week is enough. Your muscles need time to repair between each workout, so try to schedule your sessions at least 2 days apart.