You may feel fit and trim, but you’re pretty sure that some parts of your body are less fit than the rest. For instance, although you feel strong, you may think your arms too large, too flabby, or lacking in tone. Although you know you can walk ten miles without breaking a sweat, you may think your leg muscles too weak, your thighs too big, or your legs too wobbly. And, although you feel like wearing a bikini every day to highlight your abdominal muscles, you may feel that your midsection — or what exercise enthusiasts refer to as the “core” — is still weak and lacking resistance.
To exercise only certain parts of the body, exercise experts recommend dumbbell training, which can allow you to build the muscle groups of your choice. Training with dumbbells has the following advantages:
- Such exercises not only add tone, but stabilize muscles, allowing you to have better posture, and improving your balance.
- If done correctly, these exercises are safe, and can be tailored to meet your needs. This is opposed to an exercise machine, which requires you to fit your physique and posture around.
- Because dumbbells only mimic natural movements, you do not need to train your body using abnormal or difficult-to-follow positions. This can allow you to design your workout with a greater scope of movement.
- Since dumbbell exercise movements are flexible and dynamic, you can use them to make a sports fitness regimen to suit a particular sport in which you are interested. You can make dumbbell exercises to fit the moves you make, in effect strengthening the muscle groups of your choice.
- Dumbbells not only build up strength in your muscles. Using them is a great source of cardiovascular workout, as you not only increase your heart rate, but burn calories as well.
There are many dumbbell exercises to choose from. Listed below are the top ten dumbbell exercises, chosen because they are versatile enough to be performed by anyone, and can be adapted to any sport or body toning regimen.
- The “Press” works on your abdominal muscles and arm muscles. Lie on a bench with the weights held above your chest, and with your arms extended. Bring the weights down slowly to the level of your chest, and then extend your arms once more. Do this exercise on both a flat bench, and on a bench inclined at an angle of 45 degrees.When performing the press, do not lock your elbows. This retains the tension built in your pectorals, and protects your joints from being damaged.
- The “Flies” work on your arm and chest muscles. Start with the “Press” position, but when you lower your arms to the level of your body, open your arms and bring the dumbbells to your sides. Return the weights to the first position. Like the “Press,” “Flies” can be done on a flat bench, and on inclined ones.
- The “Lateral Raises” do not need a bench, and are performed standing up. Hold the dumbbell at your side, and then lift it by bending your elbows.
- “Reverse Flies” are ordinary flies in reverse. They work on your deltoids, and entail a bench and a sitting position. While you are seated on the edge of a bench, bend over so that your chest nearly touches your thighs. Position two dumbbells near your feet, then bend your arms to make an arc, taking care to keep your elbows at an angle.
- The “Front Raises” are similar to the lateral ones, but this time, you raise and lower dumbbells before you instead of on your side. When doing so, do not bend your back, since this will strain your back muscles.
- To exercise your lower back and the hamstring muscles of your thighs, try “Dead Lifts.” While standing up, hold two dumbbells against the surface of your thighs, and then slowly lower them to the level of your leg while keeping your back straight and chin up. If you have back problems, however, do not do this exercise.
- An “Upright Row” will focus on toning your Trapezius muscle. Follow the initial Dead Lifts position but this time lift the weights to the level of your chin.
- “Curls” flex your arms and shoulder muscles. They simply involve extending your arms while you are holding the dumbbells, then “curling” them into your body by bending your elbow in gracefully.
- To flex your arms, try the “French Press.” Lie down flat on the bench, and then hold the dumbbells above your chest, with your palms facing one another. With your shoulders in a locked position, fold your elbows such that the weights go gently onto the side of your head. Have someone watch you while you do this to avoid getting injured.
- To isolate your leg muscles hold dumbbells in your hands while you squat or perform lunging exercises. Remember to concentrate your efforts on your legs, not on your back.Dumbbells can keep you fit and trim, so use them, and perform your workout carefully, wisely, and regularly. The perfect body can be yours if you know how to use the dumbbells to your advantage.