It can be hard to start working out at home without the right equipment. If you look anywhere, it will tell you that having some dumbbells is an essential part of a home gym. Have you seen the prices of dumbbell sets? They are outrageous, and dumbbell sets take up a lot of space. For this reason, many people have opted to buy adjustable dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells are dumbbells that have the option of changing the weight lifted on only one set of dumbbells. I chose this option because I thought it would be more convenient, but when I got these babies home, I was lost as to how to use adjustable dumbbells.
This article will help you to learn just how to use adjustable dumbbells, even if you’ve just started working out. I fumbled around with my new set at first, but I eventually got a handle on the technique and learned a few tricks along the way. I want to share these with you.
What You Will Need
- A set of adjustable dumbbells (obviously): There are many adjustable dumbbells on the market. Find a set that has your desired weight limit. If you are starting, you might decide to go for a lighter set but remember that you will get stronger and will be able to lift heavier weights in the future. It’s best to buy heavier weights now and save some money. I suggest dumbbells of at least 50 lbs. each.
- A pair of comfortable shoes.
- A workout plan to follow: Adjustable Dumbbells are a great tool to use for strength, but without the proper fitness plan, you won’t see results. I will go over some moves here, but there are so many different ways to use dumbbells, I can’t cover them all. For a list of dumbbell moves and how to do them with proper form, click here.
- A designated area to complete your workout free from obstacles.
[Step 1] Warm Up
To stay free from injury, you need to warm up your muscles before you start using your adjustable dumbbells. Muscles are like elastic. When they are cold, they are less flexible and more prone to tear. When they are properly warmed up, they are limber and able to perform better.
A good warm-up includes light movement that increases in intensity incrementally. If you plan on working your upper body, your heating should focus on your upper body. If you plan on working your lower body, warm up your lower body. Working with the entire organization? Warm it all up! Here is a sample warm-up for the whole of the body:
[Video] 5 Minute Warm-Up
[Step 2] Adjusting the Dumbbell
Now that your muscles are warmed up, it’s time to get into the strength workout. For this tutorial, we will be completing a shoulder, or deltoids, and the latissimus dorsi, or outer upper back, workout. There will be four moves, and each step will be done with different weights, depending on the muscles worked.
To adjust the weight on your dumbbells, there are specific steps to follow depending on the brand you chose to buy. I will go over three different types of adjustable dumbbells and how to change the weights in each kind.
# Type 1: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells
These dumbbells come in two different sizes. The 552 series is adjustable from 5 to 52 lbs. each. The 1090 series is adjustable from 10-90 lbs. each. To change the weight on these dumbbells is simple. They have a dial on the ends that adjusts the pressure automatically. See the picture below. Just turn this dial to the desired weight.
# Type 2: XMark Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells
These dumbbells also come in two different sizes, 25 lbs. each and 50 lbs. each. These are also easy to adjust. On top of each dumbbell, there is a lever that you can slide back and forth depending on how much weight you want. This video below will demonstrate how they work:
[Video] XMark Adjustable Dumbbells
# Type 3: PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells
These dumbbells come in three different sizes. Each set comes with two dumbbells of either up to 50, 70 or 90 lbs. per hand. To adjust the weight on these dumbbells is a little more complicated but still very easy.
All you have to do is grab the pin and slide it into the slot of your desired weight. This video below will show you how this works:
[Video] PowerBlock Elite
[Step 3] First Move, the Dumbbell Shoulder Press
To start, we will be doing a standing overhead dumbbell press. See the correct form here:
[Video] How to Do a Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Adjust your dumbbells to a good start out the weight. Let’s try 10 lbs. to start with. Complete ten dumbbell shoulder presses.
[Step 4] Second Move, the Bent Over Row
The second move in our workout is the bent over row. This can be done with a heavier weight since you will be using your bigger back muscles. Adjust your dumbbells from 10 lbs. to 20-25 lbs.
Perform 8-10 bent over rows. Follow the correct form from this video:
[Video] Bent over row
[Step 5] Third Move, the Standing Lateral Raise
The third move is called the standing lateral raise. This move targets the rotator cuff. Since this muscle is usually weaker than the back, let’s adjust those dumbbells again. Reduce the weight on your adjustable dumbbells to about 10 lbs.
Complete ten standing lateral raises following the instructions on this video:
[Video] Standing L Raise
[Step 6] Last Move, the Dumbbell Pullover
This is the last move in our workout. To make this move, you will need a chair, bench, or even just a bed. Keep your dumbbells at 10-15 lbs. because this move is quite challenging.
Perform 12-15 dumbbell pullovers following this form:
[Video] Dumbbell pullover
As you can see, these moves are different requiring different weights. The best part of it all is that when your muscles get stronger, you can adjust the pressure on your dumbbells to keep challenging your body and keep seeing results.
I have been doing this workout and have seen great results in the strength in my shoulders and back. I like how some days I might feel stronger and ready to challenge myself harder. All I need to do is turn a dial or slide a pin to make my weights heavier and put more stress on my muscles.
What about you? Do you think you can benefit from using adjustable dumbbells in your workout? Did this tutorial inspire you to try adjustable dumbbells out? Do you know of a friend or family member that would want to try this workout? Feel free to share this article with them and let me know what you think in the comments below.
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Last update on 2020-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API