Sarah and Martin Moesgaard
5 (more!) reasons to use dumbbells
Updated: Jan 25
Aren't dumbbells kinda... old school? Why turn to the humble dumbbells, as opposed to something more high tech or on-trend? We have several thoughts - read on and see if you agree. Follow TrainMovePlayPT on socials for full body dumbbell workouts at any level of fitness.
In this article we look at the WHY - why dumbbells are something you def want to include in your workout. If you are considering starting a workout program, just getting started, or getting back to your routine, make sure you read our article, Train Smart with Dumbbells, for three reminders about HOW to train with weight.
Design a program that effectively targets your goals within your constraints.
You already know that exercising with weight has a laundry list of benefits:
build muscular strength and endurance and lean muscle mass
lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease
improve bone density, mood, posture, and self-confidence
reduce the effects of osteoporosis, insomnia, and anxiety.
Working out with weight can be accomplished in several ways - using your own body weight, machines, a barbell, or other equipment like kettle bells or medicine balls.
So why turn to the tried-and-true, old school, humble dumbbell?
1. Get a full body workout every time.
When you think about a dumbbell workout, the first image that comes to mind might be a bicep curl. No offense to the classic curl, but there is a world of ways to use dumbbells beyond the isolation movements that target only one or a few muscle groups. In the photo above, Martin is alternating sumo squats with overhead presses. (See a video of this exercise on the gram.) You can see, or imagine, or feel, that this exercise requires your whole body to be strong, engaged, and integrated. Big Bang for the buck. That's the kind of workout we really love.
This is where a professional trainer can be useful. Experienced trainers have lots of tricks up their sleeves and a big vocabulary of exercises, beyond the curl, that work the whole body.
2. Reduce or correct muscular imbalances, asymmetry, and avoid having a "weaker side."
We all have a dominate side that is naturally stronger and more adept. We also perform asymmetrical tasks every day, like driving, that exacerbate asymmetries in the body. Working with dumbbells vs, for example, a barbell with the same amount of weight, demands that each side work independently, eliminates compensation, and creates more balance.
3. Challenge stability and range of motion.
Because there is so much freedom of movement, using dumbbells, relative to some other forms of weight lifting, requires a lot of stabilizing. This encourages integrity and coordination in your core and the muscles closest to your bones, which helps balance and protects joints. It also means you can train flexibility, mobility, and increase your range of motion while working toward greater strength. Win-win.
4. Change it up.
Avoid injury and overuse with diversity of exercises, and movement in all planes. When the routine gets boring, drop and add exercises easily to stay motivated. There are so, SO many great dumbbell exercises out there. You basically have an endless number of ways to work toward your goals without buying more stuff, taking up more space in your home gym, or learning a new piece of equipment at the gym.
Target your specific fitness goals while accommodating your limitations. If you work out at home, it is worth it to invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells, so you can easily move up or down in weight to meet your specific needs. If you workout at a gym, they no doubt have lots of different weights to chose from. If not... consider a new gym!
Again, this is where a professional trainer can help. An experienced trainer will look at your goals, your limitations, your imbalances, your time requirements and more, and then design a program that effectively targets your specific goals within your constraints, so you can work smarter, not harder.
Train Smart. Move Well. Play Hard.