In my blog I have a page called Pumping Iron which introduces the sport of weight lifting and it’s many benefits. Following on from that I wrote an introductory article called Strength Training For Older People that features a few exercises for seniors who want to start lifting weights but need to feel their way.
This current article is for people who are ready to move on from simple exercises and want to put on some muscle. At this moment in time we’re in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic and living with self isolating rules, so this article will predominately cater for people who are forced to exercise and pump iron at home.
Dumbbell weights are ideal for exercising at home because you don’t need a load of expensive equipment, just the dumbbells and a bit of dedication. Although once you see some muscle appear on your frame, that’s all the dedication you should need. Also you’ll only need to fork out for one set of adjustable dumbbells to begin with. If you’re a man you can start with dumbbells weighing 5 – 10kg and a woman from 1 – 5kg. As your muscles become used to a certain weight, you can add another weight plate to the bar which will increase the workload on your muscles. This is how to make your muscles grow by making them lift a heavier load. Another way is to increase the number of sets, say from three sets of ten repetitions to four sets of ten.
We will begin with compound exercises that work your whole body and move onto isolation exercises that work your smaller muscles at a later date. Although our model in the images is an attractive young lady, all the exercises are for men also.
1. Dumbbell Chest Press
The chest press will predominantly develop your pectoral muscles (chest), with the front and middle deltoids (shoulders) and triceps (arms) getting a workout also. Don’t worry if you don’t have a bench, you can simply lie on the floor and perform the exercise.
Push the dumbbells up so that your arms are directly over your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells down until your elbows are slightly below your shoulders. Push the weights back up but don’t lock your elbows. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps.
2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The shoulder press focuses mainly on the deltoid muscles (shoulders), but also utilises your triceps and some back muscles.
Start with the dumbbells slightly higher than shoulder height. Push your arms straight up until they are nearly fully extended. Bring them back down to the starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps. Remember to breathe in when you let the weight down and breathe out when you push it up.
3. One Arm Dumbbell Row
This is one of a few different exercises to build up the muscles in your back. You also train your shoulders and biceps (arms) with this exercise.
Bend over and put one leg on the bench. If you don’t have a bench use a chair. Hang the dumbbell down beside your body. Pull your arm up lifting the dumbbell up to your chest. Keep your elbow close to your body and your back straight. Slowly lower the dumbbell. Repeat for 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps.
4. Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell lunges focus on all the important leg muscles, including the hamstring and gluteal muscles and quadriceps and calves.
Hold the dumbbells with your arms hanging down. Step forward on one leg keeping the heel of your back leg off the ground. Bend through your front leg until both legs are at a 90-degree angle. Step back up and repeat movement. Do this for 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps.
The four exercises I’ve outlined above are ‘whole of body’ or compound exercises. If you only ever do these four exercises you will develop a strong and muscular physique. But there are other compound exercises that provide variations so that you don’t become bored with the same workout.
NB: Always remember to inhale when lowering the weight and exhale when lifting the weight.