By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Why Start With Dumbbells?

The majority of the people who are just starting their fitness journey often start with exercises such as pull ups, chinups, or deadlifts. These exercises can be great for building back muscles and training big muscle groups. 

However, for someone who is just starting their fitness journey, these exercises can be unsafe and cause injuries. It is important to start slow and steady by focusing on functional movements first and gaining back strength in order to safely proceed.

Functional training is important, because it strengthens, stabilizes, and prepares muscles, allowing you to perform everyday activities more powerfully and productively. If you are suffering from muscle or joint pain, functional training is very beneficial, because it is focused on self-healing and renewing the body. 

The best way to start strengthening back muscles can be done with low weighted dumbbells for various reasons, including accessibility, getting the right form to prevent injuries, and learning the movements. 


Benefits of Dumbbell Exercises



Beginners might not always feel comfortable stepping in the gym right away, which is why dumbbell exercises can be great for the start and learning the movements first in any kind of environment. 

Dumbbell exercises can be done wherever you’d like, whether it is at the gym, home, or a park. Dumbbells are also way more accessible for everyone, while heavy plates and exercise machines require a gym membership, which some people might not be comfortable with at the beginning of their fitness journey. 


Getting the right form to prevent injuries

Starting with dumbbells that are lighter in weight can be great for finding the right form and eventually improving it to become perfect. The right form is extremely important in fitness, not only because it is important to work and build the right muscles, but also because it prevents injuries from happening. 


Progressive weight overload 

Starting with dumbbells can be a good starting point for beginners. This is because you can choose from a wide variety of weights, of which the starting weight is usually five lbs. When starting to build back muscles by doing exercises with the barbell right away, it might be more difficult for beginners, because the barbell bar usually weighs around 40 lbs. This forces people to lift heavier right away, instead of starting slow and steady. 

In addition to this, using dumbbells can be more efficient because you start from the lightest weight possible and eventually make progress with the weight. 


Dumbbell Exercises


Incline Row 

This exercise is done on an incline bench, which is used to support the chest on a 45 degree incline angle. As you lean forward on your chest and stand on the floor for stability, you can target your back muscles, which are latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and rhomboids. Holding the dumbbells with your palms facing each other, you will band your arms while taking a breath in and extend your arms as you breathe out. 

Try 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, with 60 seconds rest between sets.



One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Although this exercise mostly targets back muscles, which are latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, and rear deltoids, it also challenges your core and biceps. Use the flat bench or any flat surface close to you and place the same side leg and arm on the surface at the 90 degree angle. The opposite side leg is placed on the floor for stability and your arm is holding the dumbbell with your palm facing the body. From there, lift the arm holding the dumbbell towards your torso and extend it toward the floor. 

Remember to keep the elbow straight and close to the body. 

Try 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps, with 60 seconds rest in between sets.



Reverse Fly 

To do this exercise, sit down on the flat bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, lean forward, and with dumbbells in both hands, let your arms hang next to your calves. With your palms facing your body, slowly lift your arms up until your elbows are on the same level of your shoulders. Then slowly lower your arms to the original position. This challenges your rhomboid muscles in the upper back and shoulders by using these muscles to control the movements. 

Try not to arch your back or swing the dumbbells when doing this exercise. 

If you have back issues or are unable to do this exercise correctly, it can also be done by laying down on the bench on your stomach while doing the same movements. 

Try 3 sets of 6-12 reps, with 60 seconds rest in between sets.



Dumbbell Shrug 

This exercise is great for challenging and targeting the upper trapezius muscles. Start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, while your palms hold the dumbbells facing your body. As your shoulders are down in this position, the exercise will be performed by lifting your shoulders and arms towards the ceiling. Once your shoulders are at the top position, hold them up for a few seconds, and then slowly lower them back down to the lower position. 

Try not to swing the dumbbells and roll your shoulders in this exercise. 

Remember to move very slowly and concentrate on the muscles. 

Try 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with 60 seconds break in between sets.




14 dumbbell exercises to build back strength and muscle | Men’s Health
Dumbbell Shoulder Shrug | Jefit, Inc
Healthy Lifestyle – Fitness – The Reverse Fly | Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)
How to do Incline Row (Chest Supported Row) | Pure Gym Limited