Dumbbells are some of the most versatile, convenient fitness tools in your arsenal. They can be used in any number of ways to train your biceps, triceps, chest, back, shoulders, legs, abs... in fact, just about every major muscle group in your body. No matter your age, workout goals or what stage of your fitness journey you're on: if you exercise regularly, you should not be without a pair of dumbbells.
If your dumbbells have been sat under the bed all throughout lockdown, it's time to dust them off: this week, expert personal trainer Cecilia Harris took over our Instagram, sharing a live 30-minute workout incorporating both bodyweight training and dumbbell work. Missed it? We've uploaded it below, so you can follow along at your leisure:
This great workout is designed to be able to be completed at home, in the comfort of your front room. As such, you don't need dumbbells that are super heavy.
In fact, with the dynamic movements and high-intensity training of this particular workout, it's better to start with a very light weight and switch to a heavier alternative if things feel too easy.
Starting with a heavy weight, especially before you're properly warmed up, can lead to a real risk of injury, tearing your muscle before it's been warmed up and stretched.
Building muscle is important, even if your goal is to lose weight. Building muscle changes your body composition. Although you're burning calories when you exercise, you're also tearing muscle fibres, especially when you incorporate moves like squats, push ups and deadlifts. By eating lots of lean protein, your muscles will heal in a few days, bigger and stronger than they were before. This is the process of building muscle.
More muscle means you're generally healthier, and you actually lose weight faster. The process of maintaining a body with more muscle mass causes your body to burn calories, even while at rest. Typically, this is what people mean by "toning up": burning fat and building muscle in its place.
You should be using dumbbells for all sorts of exercises. Below, we've listed a few of our favourites: