Dumbbell exercises for beginners

30 Dumbbell Exercises to Sculpt Arms, Shoulders, Back, Legs, and That Booty

Unlock the secrets to transforming your body with these 30 incredible dumbbell exercises – sculpting arms, shoulders, back, legs, and that booty! 

As a dedicated personal trainer, let me share why dumbbells are my absolute favorite tools in the fitness toolbox.

In the confines of any tight, compact space, a pair of dumbbells becomes your ticket to a full-body workout extravaganza. 

Their versatility and user-friendly design make them the superheroes of home workouts, empowering you to build muscles, gain strength, burn fat, and achieve your weight loss goals.

Now, picture this: you, rocking your home workout, breaking a sweat, and achieving feats you never thought possible, all with the humble dumbbell. No need for a gym membership, no fancy equipment – just you, determination, and a trusty pair of dumbbells.

To elevate your fitness journey, I’ve curated the ultimate list of 30 dumbbell exercises. 

This isn’t just a list; it’s your go-to cheat sheet for sculpting the body you desire, whether you’re at home or hitting the gym.

Dumbbell exercises aren’t just for fitness enthusiasts; they are a game-changer for at-home workouts, especially for incredible women and new moms navigating busy schedules. 

The best part? No gym commute is necessary – just pick up your dumbbells and let the transformation begin.

So, dive into the list, choose the exercises that resonate with your goals, and let’s embark on this fitness journey together. Get ready to witness the power of the almighty dumbbell – your key to unlocking a stronger, healthier, and more confident you! 💪✨

30 Best Dumbbell Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

30 best dumbbell exercises

Bench Press

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, lie down on a flat bench and bring the dumbbells even with your chest.
  • Press up to the ceiling with palms facing your feet and then return. Repeat.

Incline Press

  • After setting up an incline bench, grab two dumbbells and sit down. Bring them up to your chest and turn your palms to face your feet.
  • Press up to the ceiling and then slowly lower back to the start.

Chest Fly

  • Take dumbbells and rest them on your chest while lying flat on a bench.
  • Press the dumbbells to the ceiling, stopping just short of full lockout. Keep the dumbbells just apart, holding them with your palms facing each other.
  • Lower the dumbbells to your sides until just even with your chest. Please bring them back together and squeeze your chest. Repeat.

Bent-Over Row

  • Why You Need It: This dumbbell workout is a back, bicep, and forearm exercise. 
  • Plus, it forces your core to work overtime, making it a smart choice for working those abs too!

Upright Row

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Holding dumbbells just in front of you with palms facing your legs, drive your elbows directly out to your sides. 
  • At the same time, bring the dumbbells upwards in a straight line until even with your shoulders. Return and repeat.

Lateral Raise

  • Grab two dumbbells and stand upright. Rest the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing your thighs. 
  • Brace your abs. Raise each dumbbell directly out to your sides until the dumbbell is at shoulder height. Slowly return to the start. Repeat until fatigued.

Front Raise

  • With two dumbbells, stand upright with hands in front of you and palms facing your thighs. Brace your abdominal muscles. 
  • Lift the dumbbells to your front until they are at shoulder height. Slowly lower back to the start and repeat. 
  • For a slight variation, try this exercise in an alternating fashion, raising and lowering one dumbbell at a time.

Renegade Row

This movement is a challenge, testing both your core and back strength. 

  • Set two dumbbells down about shoulder-width apart, so your palms face each other. 
  • Put your body in a pushup position with your hands on the dumbbell handles, elbows locked, and a flat back. 
  • With your non-dominant hand, row the dumbbell upwards until your hand is even with your torso. 
  • Slowly return and perform the same with your opposite hand. Performing an even number of repetitions.

Pullover Back Exercise

  • Stand perpendicular to a bench. Grab a dumbbell and hold it with your hands on each side of the dumbbell. 
  • Squat down and rest your upper back on the bench. Your head should be off the bench side opposite your feet. 
  • With feet flat, push your hips upwards to form an ‘L’ shape between your upper body and knees. 
  • Press the dumbbell upwards over your chest until your elbows are almost straight. 
  • Keeping your arms straight, lower the dumbbell back over your head until your elbows are almost even with your ears. 
  • Push your elbows up towards your chest while keeping your arms straight until the dumbbell is above your chest.

Overhead Press

  • Perform seated or standing. Sit on an upright bench and place the dumbbells on your legs, just above your knees. 
  • One at a time, push your knee towards your shoulder to help bring the dumbbell to the starting position. 
  • Switch sides and repeat. Once ready with palms facing to your front, press the dumbbells overhead until your elbows are almost locked. 
  • Slowly lower them until they touch your shoulders. Repeat.

One-Arm Row

  • With your left foot forward, take one dumbbell with your right hand while facing your chest toward your left foot. 
  • Bend your front knee slightly and rest your left forearm on your leg, just above your knee. 
  • With your back straight, row the dumbbell upward towards your stomach until the dumbbell is even with your torso. 
  • Return the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm.

Reverse Chest Fly

While the classic fly works your chest muscles, this reverse variation engages your shoulder and back muscles. 

  • Holding dumbbells in your hands, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Bend your knees slightly while pushing your glutes backward. 
  • Let your dumbbell dangle in front of you with your palms facing in. 
  • Pull your arms out to your shoulder level, squeezing your shoulder blades. Slowly return to the start and repeat.

Triceps Kickback

  • Hold one dumbbell in one hand. With a flat back, bend at the waist until your back is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. 
  • Forming a 90-degree angle with your elbow, row the dumbbell upwards until your elbow is at torso height. 
  • Maintaining this angle, straighten your elbow, so the dumbbell pushes behind you. 
  • Squeeze your tricep muscle hard. Return and repeat. Then, switch arms.

Biceps Curl

  • Grab two dumbbells. Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells at your sides. 
  • Bend both elbows, pushing the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. Keep your upper arm vertical. 
  • While doing so, rotate your palms to face the ceiling as your biceps contract. 
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells until they rest at your sides.

Alternate Biceps Curl

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells at your sides. 
  • Starting with your non-dominant hand, bend your elbow and push the dumbbell upward towards your shoulder. 
  • As you do so, rotate your hand so your palm faces the ceiling as your bicep muscle contracts. 
  • Lower the dumbbell to the original position and repeat on the opposite side in an alternating fashion.

Hammer Curls

  • Grab two dumbbells. Rest them at your side while standing upright with palms facing in. 
  • Bend your elbows, pushing the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Maintaining the same hand position, slowly return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat until the biceps and forearms are fatigued. Note that alternating arms is an option here.

Bulgarian Squat

  • Stand perpendicular to a bench. With two dumbbells in your hands, push your right foot back and rest on the edge of the bench closest to you. Enter a lunge position beginning with your left foot. 
  • Keeping your torso upright, bend the left knee while pushing your right knee to the ground. 
  • Just before touching your right knee, drive through your left foot, straightening your knee. Repeat and perform with the opposite leg.


  • With two dumbbells, stand upright with feet flat and shoulder-width apart. Brace your core muscles and sit down and back. 
  • Bend your knees into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the ground. 
  • Drive through your feet, pushing your hips forward by contracting your glutes until you’re standing straight. That’s one rep. Repeat until the legs are fatigued.

Forward Lunge

  • Stand with feet together, holding two dumbbells. Take a moderate step forward with your left leg. 
  • Once your foot touches the ground, brace your core, and bend your front knee. 
  • Drop your left knee down until just above the ground. Maintain an upright torso posture. Drive through your left foot, straightening your left knee. 
  • Bring your right foot up to even with your left foot. You should be standing in the starting position. Switch sides and repeat in an alternating fashion.

Split Squat

  • This exercise is similar to the lunge but performed stationary. Stand upright with two dumbbells. 
  • Step forward or back with your left or right foot. In a lunge position, bend your front knee and sink your back knee toward the ground until just above. 
  • Press through your front leg until your knee is straight. Once straightened, repeat the initial movement, moving your body up and down. Once the first leg is fatigued, switch sides and repeat.

Side Lunge

  • Stand upright with two dumbbells. With your body tight, step your left foot out towards your left. 
  • Now, bend your left knee while keeping your right leg straight and your torso upright. 
  • The dumbbells should naturally swing so your right hand is straight down between your legs. 
  • Drive through your left foot and return to the start position. Switch sides and repeat.

Farmers’ Walk

Farmers Walk  with Dumbbell
  • Establish a lane to walk, about 30-50 feet if possible. Grab heavier-than-usual dumbbells that you can hold for around 30 seconds. 
  • From a standing position, keep the dumbbells straight at your sides and tighten your body. 
  • Walk for the duration of the lane or until your grip gives out. Repeat as desired.

Toe Raise

  • Face your body away from and perpendicular to a bench. Place one moderately heavy dumbbell in front of you, standing upright. 
  • Sit on the edge of the bench and place your feet on the side of the dumbbell handles. 
  • Press your feet together on the sides of the handle and lift the dumbbell off the ground. 
  • Once raised, flex your toes toward your chest and then flex your calf muscles to push your toes away from you. Repeat as desired.


  • Grab two, moderately heavy dumbbells and place them in front of you. Bend your knees slightly and maintain a straight and rigid lower back. 
  • Drive through your feet and push your hips forward while squeezing your glutes. 
  • Once fully upright, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

One-Arm Swing

  • Grab a dumbbell. Spread your legs apart until shoulder-width. Take the dumbbell between your legs and slightly bend your knees while pushing your glutes backward. 
  • Your hamstrings and glutes should feel stretched. Explosively push your hips forward, contracting your glutes and swinging the dumbbell upwards until around face height. 
  • With control, allow the dumbbell to swing down between your legs while pushing your glutes back. 
  • That’s one rep. Using momentum, repeat this movement, and continue with the opposite hand.

One-Arm Dumbbell Snatch

  •  Stand slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Grab a dumbbell and place it directly between your legs on the ground. 
  • Lower your hips and take the dumbbell with your non-dominant hand. Explosively squat upwards. As you do, pull

Russian Twist

  • Sit upright with your knees bent. Hold a lighter weight with both hands close to your chest. 
  • Decline your torso about halfway. Twist your upper body to one side using your abdominal muscles. 
  • Twist back to the center and repeat on the other side.


  1. Lie face up with your knees bent. Hold a lighter weight horizontally in both hands close to your chest. 
  2. Start to lower your torso with your weight and pause at the bottom. Return and repeat.

Calf Raises

  1. Stand straight holding a pair of dumbbells in each hand by your side. Place your feet on a weight plate but keep your heels touching the ground. 
  2. Tighten your calves, raise your heels so they’ll be off the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Goblet Squat

  • Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Take a squat stance but with your toes pointing outward and heels inward. 
  • Hold your weight in front of your chest and feel the load on your heels. 
  • Squat down as far as you can or until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause and return to the start. Do 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.

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