Dumbbell Exercises That Are Suitable For Both Men And Women

If you’re looking to improve the way your body looks and take your fitness to the next level, it’s imperative that you’re taking a look at some of the top dumbbell exercises that you can add into your workout plan that will be effective for both men and women.

Dumbbell exercises are nice because you can easily perform these right at home or if you’re a gym-goer, in with your usual gym routine.  Dumbbells are a great investment, a solid piece of gym equipment, and something that almost everyone can get their hands on and will provide top notch results for improving the way your body looks.


When looking at the dumbbell exercises to perform, you want to think about movements that will work as many different muscle fibers at once as possible.  This is what will ensure that you’re getting the most metabolic disturbance from the movement, which refers to how hard your body is going to have to work after performing it to recover.

The greater the metabolic disturbance, the more effective it will be to both burn fat and increase lean muscle mass, so the better overall results you’ll see from that exercise.

It’s also a wise move to perform some of your dumbbell exercises using an exercise Swiss ball as part of the movement as well as this is a perfect way to zero in and target the core region better, giving you the complete workout you’re looking for.

Those women who are looking for a lean stomach that’s toned and fit but not wide will definitely want to use an exercise Swiss ball as often as possible as this is the best possible ab workout you could do.

Let’s take a look right now at some of the top dumbbell exercises that are suitable for both men and women that you can begin adding to your workout routine.

Dumbbell Sumo Squats

The very first of the must-do dumbbell exercises is the dumbbell sumo squat. This one is excellent for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings and as an added benefit, is really going to target that inner thigh region as well.

Sumo squats place a slightly different loading pattern on the body than regular squats do and you can easily perform them while holding the dumbbell down between the legs.

Since you don’t have to hoist the dumbbells up to shoulder height, this ensures that you’ll maximally be able to stimulate the leg muscles.  For most people, their upper body is weaker so being able to get the dumbbell up to shoulder height would mean reducing the weight – often so much so that it wouldn’t be a challenge to your quads.

Aim for 8-10 reps per set, doing 3-4 sets per workout.

Check out the video below on how to perform Dumbbell Sumo Squats:

 

Dumbbell Deadlifts

The second of the dumbbell exercises that you should consider adding into your workout program are dumbbell deadlifts.  This one is great for men who want to build up a high amount of strength and perform for females who are interested in getting that curvier backside that’s the ‘in’ look right now.

When performing the dumbbell deadlifts you must make sure that you focus in strictly pulling up straight from the glutes and hamstrings and not using the upper body or back to guide the movement.

This will ensure that you’re hitting the muscles correctly and are going to see the results you’re after.

Aim for 8-10 reps per set, doing 3-4 sets per workout.

Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell lunges are the next lower body movement that you should definitely add into your workout program.  These are great for firming up the glutes, quads, and hamstrings and will also work the core as it gets called into helping you maintain balance as well.

Dumbbell lunges can either be performed walking across the room or can be done stationary in one spot if you prefer.

Just note that if you’re doing walking dumbbell lunges more of the focus is likely to be on the quads while if you’re doing stationary lunges, the hamstrings will be targeted to a significant extent.

Whichever option you choose to use, this is definitely a good strength builder and perfect for both men and women looking to do a home workout program.

When doing your lunges, aim for 10-12 reps per leg, completing 2-3 sets per workout.

Check out the video below on how to perform Dumbbell Lunges:

 

Dumbbell Step-Ups

Moving along, the final lower body exercise that you must not overlook is the dumbbell step-up.  This one is perfect for those who can’t squat for whatever reason as it’s going to target the glutes, hamstrings and quads especially.

When performing this one, make sure that you use a higher level step if you want to hit the quads to a more significant extent and a lower step if it’s the hamstrings you’d like to focus on.

Either perform them alternating legs as you go or perform 10-12 reps on one leg and then switch sides and repeat.

Aim for 2-3 sets per workout.

Check out the video below on how to perform Dumbbell Step-Ups:

 

Dumbbell Chest Press On An Exercise Swiss Ball

Shifting over to the upper body dumbbell exercises that you should include in your workout routine, don’t overlook the dumbbell chest press on an exercise Swiss ball. With that ball under your back, as we mentioned earlier, you’re going to place the body in an unstable position, which will really call those abs into play and get them contracting hard as you move through the motion.

The dumbbell chest press on an exercise Swiss ball is perfect for developing a broader chest if you’re a male or for enhancing your cleavage line if you’re a female.

It’s one of the top upper body movements that you could do, so be sure you don’t leave it out.

Aim for 8-10 reps and perform 3-4 sets per workout.

Dumbbell Renegade Rows

Another movement that’s wonderful for hitting the core and will also target the back and biceps very well is the renegade rows.  When performing this one you want to think of keeping those abs contracted the entire time so that your back stays in a flat position throughout the full movement.

Only let yourself come down out of the plank position once you’ve completed the set, which should last for 10 reps per arm.  Try and perform 3-4 sets of this movement per session.

This exercise is definitely a more challenging one so use a lighter weight than normal when first starting to allow yourself time to get used to it.

Check out the video below on how to perform Dumbbell Renegade Rows:

 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press On A Swiss Ball

Another terrific upper body movement to do that will help create nicely defined shoulders so that males get that broad image they’re looking for and females look very attractive in sleeveless tops and dresses is the dumbbell shoulder press.

Once again, add the swiss exercise ball into this dumbbell exercise.  To do that, all you’ll do is sit right on top of the ball as you drive the weight upwards, directly above the head.

When performing this exercise it’s very important that you don’t lock the elbows into place however, as this could quickly cause elbow pain.

Make sure that you also keep the lower back neutral as some people will start to sway their back, setting themselves up for high levels of back pain.

Aim to complete 10-12 reps per set and do 2-3 sets per workout.

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

To really help create the illusion of a ‘V’ taper look so males look very broad and females look like they have a narrower waistline, dumbbell lateral raises can be beat.

This exercise is going to help target the ‘cap’ of the shoulder, giving you added definition and fullness.

When performing this movement, make sure that you only come up to about 90 degrees however so that the arms are in line with the shoulder.  Going beyond this would put your shoulders at risk of pain and injury, so take care not to get too carried away with your range of motion.

As you lower the weight back down, do so in a slow and controlled manner to keep constant tension on the muscle.

Check out the video below on how to perform Dumbbell Lateral Raises:

 

Tricep Extensions

Finally, the last of the dumbbell exercises that’s great for both men and women is the dumbbell tricep extension.  This is going to help firm up the underarms, which is definitely an area many women seem to have problems with.

When performing tricep extensions also pay attention to the position of your lower back and ensure it’s neutral and not swaying.

If it does start to sway, immediately correct yourself or if you can’t, pause before starting again.

This could indicate that you’re using just a bit too much weight on the exercise and need to lower it so that you have more control.

Aim for 12-15 reps per set, doing 2-3 sets per workout.

Check out the video below on how to perform Tricep Extensions:

 

So there you have the top dumbbell exercises to consider adding to your program plan and are suitable for both men and women.  If you can get these in and do them at least twice per week, it won’t be long before you’re starting to notice positive changes taking place in your body.

[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology.  In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]

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  1. Lorenzo D. Pace October 12, 2011
  2. www.jokemusic.jp September 13, 2013

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