Dumbbell Basics

Dumbbells can be effective tools to work all muscle groups and they can be used at home or at the gym.

Many people are under the impression that dumbbells are only effective for working the arms and shoulders, but dumbbells can work many muscle groups in the human body. Dumbbells are effective in toning legs, thighs, abs, chest, back and of course, the arms.

Legs

Individuals hoping to tone the backs of their legs, buttocks and thighs should consider dumbbell exercises. Ace Fitness recommends doing an exercise called the dumbbell deadlift.
To perform the exercise: Lay two dumbbells on the floor, a little wider than shoulder width apart.Bend down to pick up the dumbbells with your back slightly bent forward and braced. Use your upper leg and thigh muscles to support you as you stand up straight with the dumbbells at your sides. Place the dumbbells back on the floor using reverse movements of the initial steps.

Abs

You can also use dumbbells to work your abs. “Men’s Fitness” recommends using a full-size gym ball and dumbbells to build a strong core.

One of the most effective exercises using these two tools is the overhead crunch. Lean back on the gym ball with one dumbbell held in both hands behind your head.  Raise your upper body and keep your arms in place as you move. When your body reaches a 90-degree angle on the ball, stop and hold the position for a few seconds. Ease back down and repeat 10 times.

Chest

You can work your chest muscles using an incline bench and two dumbbells, as prescribed by bodybuilding expert Hugo Rivera of about.com. This exercise requires leaning back on the incline bench with one dumbbell in each hand. Be sure that you can comfortably support the dumbbells, otherwise you could strain your muscles.

Place the dumbbells shoulder width apart just above your shoulders, palms facing outward. Lift the dumbbells until your arms are extended. Hold this position for a second and slowly bring the dumbbells down. Rest them on your thighs and repeat 10 times.

Start out slow with each of these exercises. You can always build up the amount of repetitions and/or weight once your body has gotten used to the motions.

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