Dumbbells are a useful tool if you want to build strength at home. You can use them to target a wide range of muscles and you can do unilateral movements with them, working one side of your body at a time, to help you identify muscular imbalances.
This six-move dumbbell workout from personal trainer Elise Young hits your forearms, biceps, shoulders, back, core and more. It takes roughly 20 minutes to complete, so you can squeeze it into a lunch break or do it before you start work.
To do the routine, complete between eight and 12 repetitions (reps) of each exercise, then repeat the whole thing three times. Make sure you prioritize your form in each of these exercises; copy Young's position during the movements, paying particular attention to the direction of the head and chest to avoid strain on the neck or the back.
Watch Elise Young's six-move upper-body workout
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Adding this sequence into your weekly workout schedule could help you improve your upper-body strength. But if you want to continue to challenge yourself, you'll need to regularly increase the weights you're using and follow the principles of progressive overload. This is the best way to build strength and gain muscle mass.
To start, pick a weight that feels challenging but manageable for eight reps and try to work up to 12 reps every time you come back to this workout. Once you can comfortably do 12 reps of each exercise, increase the weight and go back to eight reps, gradually working your way up again.
These exercises target the muscles in the chest and the back in particular and they will help you to build strength in the forearms. As several of the moves are unilateral, focusing on one side of the body, they will also highlight any muscular imbalances that you need to address.
Need help picking your weights? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help
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Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.
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