If you’re looking for a toned, fit body, but all the fancy workout equipment at the gym is intimidating—don’t worry. All you need to get a good workout for your whole body is a set of dumbbells. Dumbbell workouts are super effective, and you can use them to target your entire body.

Whether you’re looking for great chest exercises with dumbbells, exercises to strengthen your arms, or full-body, dumbbells are great ways to get the results you want.

One of the best parts of dumbbell exercises is that you don’t even have to go to the gym. You can run out, buy a few sets of dumbbells, and do all these exercises in the comfort of your own home.

Here are 12 of the best dumbbell workouts[1] you can do at the gym, or at home.

Try picking and choosing and combining these exercises to create the perfect dumbbell workout plans.

1. Goblet Squat

Let’s start with one of the best dumbbell exercises. You’ll only need one dumbbell for this exercise. To perform a goblet squat, first, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take your dumbbell, holding it by one end with both hands. Now do a squat, making sure your chest stays open. Push up through your feet to return to a standing position. This will be your first rep. Now repeat this until you’ve reached your rep goal.

Reps: 10
Sets: 3-5
Rest: 20 seconds

Pro Tip: You can vary this exercise by trying sumo squats or using lighter dumbbells and going for a jump squat to get your heart rate even higher. You can even combine all these options in the same dumbbell workout plans.
Goblet squat - Dumbbell Workouts - healthwebsite

2. Farmer’s Walk

The Farmer’s Walk is one of the best dumbbell exercises to strengthen your entire body, as well as test your endurance. To perform this exercise, you’ll want to grab the heaviest set of dumbbells you can carry. Hold the dumbbells down at your sides and begin to walk. Make sure to keep your shoulders back and chest open.

If you have enough space, you can walk in a straight line. If you’re in a smaller area, you can opt for a figure-eight pattern or maybe circles. One full round will be one rep. You can also use time as a measurement for this exercise.

Reps: 3
Sets: 2-3
Rest: 30 seconds

Pro Tip: The Farmer’s Walk will help strengthen your chest muscles, which makes it one of the best chest exercises with dumbbells on this list.

3. Swings

To target your hips, legs, and glutes as well as to raise your heart rate, try doing a swing. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding your dumbbell by one end. Bend your knees slightly, and tilt down at your hips.

Swing the dumbbell between your legs, then swing it back up, straightening your body as you do so. This is one rep. You’ll repeat this action without stopping until you’ve hit your desired number of reps.

Reps: 20
Sets: 2-3
Rest: 30 seconds

4. Walking Lunge with Dumbbells

The walking lunge is a great exercise for working your glutes and hamstrings. Start with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell at each side. Take one step forward, lowering your body into a lunge until your knee just taps the floor – this is your first rep. For your next rep, use your rear leg to step forward so that you’re “walking.” Continue to repeat until you hit your desired number of reps for your dumbbell workout routine.

Reps: 10
Sets: 2-3
Rest: 45 seconds

5. Renegade Row

Try adding a Renegade Row to your dumbbell workout plans! A Renegade Row will target your arms and upper back, as well as your core. Start by getting into a plank position, holding your dumbbells on the floor. Do a pushup, and when you come up, raise one arm in a row. Now do the same thing, raising the other arm – this will be one rep.

Repeat until you hit your goal reps as part of your dumbbell workout routine.

Reps: 5
Sets: 2
Rest: 30 seconds

Pro Tip: This is another great chest exercise with dumbbells!
Renegade Row - Dumbbell Workouts - healthwebsite

6. Glute Bridge with Dumbbell

Dumbbell workouts don’t have to just target your arms. This is an exercise that will work your glutes, hamstrings, and even your core as it helps stabilize you.

You can do this exercise on its own with just your bodyweight, but adding dumbbells is a great way to make it a more effective part of your dumbbell workout routine.

Lie down your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor underneath your knees. Take your dumbbell, and place it on your lower abs, holding it with both hands.

Now thrust your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and abs as you do, trying to create a straight, diagonal line with your body. Hold this position for three seconds, then lower. This is one rep. Now repeat.

Reps: 15
Sets: 2-3
Rest: 30 seconds

Pro Tip: When you’re thrusting up, make sure not to thrust your hips too high. Your body should be a straight line, and you shouldn’t feel any back pain.

7. Russian Twist with Dumbbell

Here’s another exercise that can be done with just your bodyweight. Or you can give yourself the extra challenge of adding a dumbbell, to add to your dumbbell workouts. Russian Twists[2] will target your abs and core muscles.

Sit on the ground with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Hold your dumbbell with both hands in front of you. Lean back slightly, lift your legs on the ground and make sure to keep your abs and core right.

Now twist your torso to one side, bringing the dumbbell to that side with you. Return to your forward sitting position, and then repeat the movement on the other side before coming back to the center. This is one rep.

Reps: 10-12
Sets: 3
Rest: 20 seconds

8. The Dumbbell Weighted Sit-Up

This ab-focused exercise is pretty self-explanatory. If you’ve done a sit-up before, all you have to do is lie on your back, with your knees bent. Now, it’s time to add in the dumbbell.

Hold the dumbbell over your chest, and perform a sit-up, squeezing your abs on your way up. The added weight of the dumbbell will add an extra challenge for your dumbbell workout plans.

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 3-4
Rest: 30 seconds

Pro Tip: To make this is a great chest exercise with dumbbells, try performing this sit up with the dumbbell over your head.
Weighted Sit-Up - Dumbbell Workouts - healthwebsite

9. Lateral Raise

Focusing on your deltoid muscles, lateral raises or standing can be done, or, for an extra challenge, as part of a plank or side plank.

To perform a standing lateral raise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms and dumbbells at your sides, keeping your chest open and your back straight. Now raise your arms 90 degrees.

Make sure that you’re not bending your elbows and try not to use momentum to lift your arms. The movement should be slow and controlled. This will be one rep. Then repeat.

Reps: 10
Sets: 2-3
Rest: 45 seconds

10. Hammer Curl

To perform a hammer curl[3] as part of your dumbbell workout routine, start with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your arms at either side holding your dumbbells. Now curl your dumbbells straight up, making sure to squeeze your biceps as you do.

Now slowly and with control, lower the dumbbells again so they’re back by your side. This is one rep. Repeat until you reach your desired rep count.

Reps: 10
Sets: 3-4
Rest: 30 seconds

11. Wrist Curl

One of the best dumbbell workouts for your forearms is to try using your dumbbells to do a wrist curl. Sitting down on a chair or a bench, rest your forearms on your legs, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing up.

Now flex just your wrists to curl the dumbbells up. Lower them back down, so they’re resting against your legs again. That’s one rep. Repeat.

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 3-4
Rest: 30 seconds

Wrist Curl - Dumbbell Workouts - healthwebsite

12. The Dumbbell Thruster

The thruster is one of the best full-body dumbbell workouts. It will work out your whole body and also an awesome way to test and push your endurance.

To do one of these dumbbell exercises, begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure your back is a straight line and keep your core tight and engaged. Hold your dumbbells at chest height, then lower yourself into a squat.

Remember to keep proper squat form, bending at the hips with your chest open. Now return to a standing position, making sure to press your heels down into the floor to push yourself up.

As you reach your standing position, use the momentum to also raise your dumbbells straight up into the air by fully extending your arms. Now bring the dumbbells back to your start position. This is one rep.

Reps: 10
Sets: 2-3
Rest: 45 seconds


Dumbbell workouts are great ways to work your body. You can do exercises that are centered around dumbbells, or you can take bodyweight exercises and add dumbbells to them to make it more challenging.

You can mix and match all of these exercises to create the perfect dumbbell workout routine for you.

So, give these 12 dumbbell exercises a try, and don’t forget to let us know how you did!