If you have a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a bench of some sort, these dumbbell printables can help you get a great workout. With detailed instructions and general recommendations, beginning and intermediate weight lifters can work their whole bodies. If you need help downloading any of the printables, check out these helpful tips.
LoveToKnow offers many printables to help you have a better dumbbell workout. In the sections below, printables for specific exercises provide illustrated and written instructions to help you use the proper form while you lift. To get started, use the basic workout printable designed for beginners and intermediate lifters.
Chest exercises strengthen your pectoral muscles. You can use either the dumbbell exercises described in the chest exercise printables or bodyweight exercises like pushups. Beginners will benefit from performing just one set of exercises for the chest, while intermediate lifters can add additional exercises. To help you with your chest workout, you can print these illustrated and written instructions:
Exercises for the shoulders strengthen the deltoids, which are a band of muscles along the front, top, and rear of your shoulder girdle. Beginners should perform a single exercise that attends to overall shoulder strength, and then add in additional exercises to work the specific deltoid heads. In order to assure proper form, using the following illustrated and written instructions:
Your back has several muscle groups, including the trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae. When you start, you should perform one overall exercise for each muscle group. Try these following illustrations and instructions to ensure proper form as you exercise your back:
- Dumbbell shrugs (pdf) (trapezius, rhomboids)
- Dumbbell deadlifts (pdf) (erector spinae)
- Dumbbell bent over row (pdf) (latissimus dorsi)
As you progress, you may add additional exercises, such as pull ups.
Dumbbells are great for working the major muscles groups in your lower body, including your gluetal muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Uses these illustrated printables to guide you as you exercise your legs:
If you'd like to do exercises that focus on smaller muscle groups, you may need to add a weight machine that has leg press and leg extension capability.
Your major muscle groups in your arms include the biceps, which run along the front of your arms, triceps, which is the horseshoe-shaped group of muscles along the back of your arms, and your forearms. You can purchase specific, inexpensive equipment for exercising your wrists and forearms. For your upper arms, you can perform specific exercises with dumbbells to strengthen them, as illustrated in these printables:
- Dumbbell biceps curl (pdf) (biceps)
- Dumbbell skullcrushers (pdf) (triceps)
- Dumbbell hammer curls (pdf) (biceps)
- Dumbbell kickbacks (pdf) (triceps)
Basic Workout Instructions
As a beginner, your focus should be on learning the exercises and getting the muscles used to the idea of being put to work on a regular basis rather than piling on the plates. Beginners need to follow the workout for about six weeks in order to strengthen connective tissue and avoid injury. During early stages of workouts, lift weights that allow you to repeat an exercise for 10 to 15 repetitions.
After about six weeks, your connective tissue (ligaments and tendons) will be stronger, and you will begin to notice changes to the firmness of your muscles. As an intermediate weight lifter, you can begin to lift heavier weights and incorporate more exercises. Intermediate trainers should complete between six and ten repetitions for each set to failure.
Workouts for Advanced Weightlifters
If you are training for a specific sport, bodybuilding, power lifting, or merely looking to progress in your weight training, then you can begin to incorporate advanced weightlifting techniques, such as negatives and supersets. These techniques can help push you past plateaus and realize new growth. While you can perform some of these advanced techniques at home with dumbbells, you may wish to consider joining a gym where they have special equipment and coaching to help you meet specific goals. If you are using advanced techniques, which often produce extreme muscle fatigue and failure, work with a spotter for motivation and safety.
Tips for Safety and Success
Consider the following when training with dumbbells:
- Make sure you are using proper form and not relying on momentum. If you are not sure about form, examine the printables carefully. You may also want to work with an experienced weightlifter or watch a video that demonstrates the appropriate lifting form.
- When you lift weights, you place small tears in your muscles. Your body needs about 48 hours for these tears to heal and your muscles to grow stronger. Incorporating an appropriate amount of rest in your weightlifting routine is essential towards maintaining growth and avoiding injury.
- Consistent effort pays off. Plan to exercise each body part at least twice a week.
- Always warm up before lifting. Cool down and stretch after every session.
- Maintain an adequate diet and get plenty of sleep to give your body the support it needs to grow muscles.