4 Simple Dumbbell Exercises You Can Do At Home

by Sportitude
19 Feb 2019

Weight training is awesome for shedding fat, growing strong, lean muscle and building a rockin' bod. Having extra muscle strength can help in many aspects of your life, whether you're lugging around bags on a crazed shopping spree, lifting up your wriggly toddler or improving your running performance.

Dumbbell training doesn’t have to be dull – in fact, there’s stacks of versatile exercises to do with this weight training tool beyond the old school bicep curl. Here’s a bunch to get you started.

Lateral raises


Dumbbell lateral raises offer a killer upper body workout with a specific focus on strengthening the shoulders, but also engage your core as your abdominal muscles support the movement and maintain posture. Your upper back also gets a workout as it's used for stabilisation.

How to:

A: Stand with an upright posture with back straight, feet shoulder-distance apart and dumbbell held in each hand with palms facing in at your sides. Your elbows should be close to your body.

B: Brace your core and raise the weights to the sides with your arms until they are parallel with the floor, exhaling as you do so. Arms should reach shoulder height with elbows just bent. Lower your arms in a slow, controlled motion as you inhale, returning to A.

Watch out for:

Arms sneaking forward? If you find it difficult holding them raised to the sides, try the exercise with a lighter dumbbell.

Be wary of shoulders bunching up towards your ears as you lift – your upper body should remain relaxed, with shoulders down in a natural position.

Focus on precise, controlled movement over speed for lower injury risk and increased benefits to your bod.

Crunch chop


When standing is all too much, stay fired up with this fat-busting, ab-toning workout you can do lying down. It strengthens your hips, glutes and inner thighs and builds endurance. You can do it with or without a dumbbell, alternatively interlocking your fingers, but the weight factor gives your workout that extra oomph.

How to:

A: Lie on your back with arms outstretched above your head and dumbbell in your hands in line with your head, with palms facing in. Straighten your legs in an upward position, perpendicular to the mat.

B: Exhale as you crunch upwards, raising your shoulders and head off the mat and opening your legs into a ‘V’ shape (straddle position). ‘Chop’ your arms between your legs, with dumbbell in hands and momentarily hold the position. Inhale and reverse the action back into your starting stance.

Watch out for:

For full benefits, ensure you don’t cut the motion short – after each rep, return fully to the starting position. Brace your core throughout the entire exercise.

Plank row


Spice up your plank! The dumbbell plank row adds weight into the mix to increase your fat-shedding potential, build rock hard abs and strengthen arms and mid to upper back. It also improves stability of the shoulder and spine.

How to:

A: Position your body in a plank stance, with dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward, arms straight and hands in line with shoulders. For stability, maintain a hip-width distance between your feet. Ensure your spine remains in a neutral position (not arched).

B: Engage core and glutes as you exhale and raise your right arm in a ‘row’, lifting your bent elbow towards then beyond your body until dumbbell is level with your chest, and maintaining balance by pressing the left dumbbell into the mat. Maintain a steady posture – keeping your lower back and hips in form.

C: Lower dumbbell to floor in original stance and repeat lift with left arm.

Watch out for:

Practice firstly without dumbbells until you get proper form spot on – be careful to maintain a neutral line between heels, hips and head, avoiding your back rounding out or collapsing in. Keep your torso stable to prevent unwanted twisting as you lift.

Overhead one-arm triceps extension


This exercise stretches your triceps and works out the arm from an angle that may be underused. It strengthens and tones your arms so you feel the part rockin’ a sleeveless tank.

How to:

A: Stand with feet just further than shoulder-width apart, with right arm outstretched upwards, perpendicular to floor and palm outwards, holding dumbbell above your head. Use your left hand to provide elbow support to the right arm.

B: Bending from the elbow at about a 90-degree angle, lower the dumbbell slowly towards your left shoulder, with forearm across your forehead. Reverse the motion to return dumbbell to starting position.

Remember to perform this exercise on both arms.

Watch out for:

Ensure your upper arm stays stationary throughout the exercise – here’s where the elbow support comes in handy. The dumbbell should be lowered with a controlled movement of the forearm only.

Please consult your personal trainer to guide your dumbbell exercises and train you in proper form for reduced injury risk.

Happy lifting!