The dumbbell is an incredibly effective tool to develop total body strength, stability, and explosive power. The wide variety of available dumbbell workouts allow for practically limitless possibilities of exercises, not to mention, its accessibility and low cost makes it a great choice for at-home training.

For many exercisers who are involved in strength training, the dumbbell will be their first foray into the world of “free-weight” training and the benefits of free-weight training are significant.  Most people feel confident using machine weights, because a machine is stable and has a pre-set range of motion built into it. While this makes it safe for everyone to begin developing strength, it leaves much to be desired for functionality. Enter the dumbbell: when not able to rely on a machine’s stability and pre-set range of motion, you’re forced to create range of motion and stability from within.

This inherent demand for stability develops the body in an entirely different way than a machine can.  It builds stability around your joints while strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Also, the demand for your body and nervous system to create and control range of motion on its own creates a network of motor pathways that provide a more functional level of strength. And by functional we mean the strength that can be used in day to day life.

If you’re looking to step up your strength training and progress into dynamic functionality, look no further than these four powerful moves that require only a single dumbbell.


Dumbbell Goblet Squat

The king of exercises, the squat, is incredibly effective with this unique position that safely allows you to learn this greatest of all strength building moves.

-Grasp the dumbbell and support it from one end with both hands, as you would carry a giant goblet, and place it at chest level with your elbows under your wrists

-Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned outward

-Breath in and brace your abdominals

-Send your hips back slightly and squat down until your hips are slightly below parallel

-Maintain your weight in the middle foot and keep your chest up throughout the movement

-Push back up to standing position


Dumbbell Snatch

The dumbbell snatch is our first look into explosive training with weights.  Enjoy the athleticism and explosive hip action that this classic move provides.

-Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart

-Place the dumbbell in one hand hanging at arm’s length in front of your hips

-Breath in and brace your abdominals

-Send your hips back and soften your knees until the dumbbell is hanging at approximately knee level

-Immediately and forcefully open your hips and knees to create upward momentum on the dumbbell

-Guide the dumbbell’s momentum with your arm until the dumbbell is overhead and locked at the elbow with your bicep covering your ear

-Slowly guide the dumbbell back to your shoulder, then to the hanging position at your hips before repeating



Dumbbell One-Arm Press

The press is one of the single most important upper body strength builders and, with dumbbells, we receive the awesome benefit of strengthening each side individually for better muscular balance.

-Place the dumbbell in your hand at shoulder level

-Stand with your feet approximately hip width apart

-Breath in and brace your abdominals

-Press the dumbbell to arm’s length overhead until your bicep is covering your ear

-Slowly return the dumbbell to shoulder level



Dumbbell Reverse Lunge in Goblet Position

The reverse lunge is a remarkable single-leg strength movement that will leave your glutes and quads feeling the burn.

-Grasp the dumbbell at one end and place it at chest level, supporting it from one end with both hands, as you would carry a giant goblet, and place it at chest level with your elbows under your wrists

-Breath in and brace your abdominals

-Step back with one leg onto the ball of your foot

-Lower your body in this position until your back knee lightly touches floor. Both knees should be at 90 degrees at the moment the back knee reaches the floor.

-Push off of the floor and lift your back leg back to meet your front leg in standing position

-Alternate legs each repetition