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Old 01-28-2013, 02:47 AM   #1
Baptismbyfire
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Default How much workout can you do with just dumbbells?

Can you work out most/all of your major muscle groups with just dumbbells (except legs)? I was thinking of working out, but was wondering whether I should pay for gym membership and drive out there three times a week or just workout at home. I am not training to be a heavyweight champion, and just want a good workout.


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Old 01-28-2013, 05:45 AM   #2
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I find kettlebells much more useful than dumbbells. They are typically used for full-body explosive movements like swing, clean, jerk and snatch, but you can press them and do lots of other stuff. They will train all of the body, including the legs.

Some basics here.
http://youtu.be/TAYZ9gKZaI0
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pia View Post
I find kettlebells much more useful than dumbbells. They are typically used for full-body explosive movements like swing, clean, jerk and snatch, but you can press them and do lots of other stuff. They will train all of the body, including the legs.

Some basics here.
http://youtu.be/TAYZ9gKZaI0
Wow, that looks like quite a workout, but I have a feeling I will bash my head in if I try that right now
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:16 AM   #4
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Do you already own dumbbells and are looking for exercise recommendations? Or are you looking for input on how to workout at home inexpensively?

You can still do the main basic movements with just a set of dumbbells:

1. squat with dumbbells held on shoulders
2. press
3. bench press
4. deadlift
5. row

Personally, I would go for an olympic bar + weights if at all possible instead of dumbbells but dumbbells vs nothing I'd go with dumbbells.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:25 AM   #5
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Wow, that looks like quite a workout, but I have a feeling I will bash my head in if I try that right now
Nah, all the basic movements are very simple and safe, and they are all you need to get extremely fit. Kettlebells are far easier to learn on your own than barbell lifting.

The two-handed swing is the basis for most other things. The one-handed swing is just the same thing minus one hand. Pulling in the one-handed swing so that the weight ends in the rack position on your chest is the clean. Once you can hold the weight in proper rack position, you can do jerks, presses, or front squats.

A good initial kettlebell weight is 12kg (26lbs) or 16kg (35lbs) depending on initial strength. The weight probably sounds small, but the offset of the handle and the swinging trajectories of basic movements multiply the work. Lighter bells are not wasted if you buy a heavier one. It's good to learn all new exercises with light bells first, and some exercises are much, much harder than others.

I got started with kettlebells doing this program. In hindsight, I would recommend modifying it a bit - especially for a man - but it got me tons of fitness very fast.
http://www.stumptuous.com/kettlebell...n-introduction
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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You can do mostly everything with dumbbells - and in many cases, they are superior to their barbell equivalent, because it requires more stabilization.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:44 PM   #7
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If you just want a good workout then you hardly need dumbells. There's dozens of full body exercises you can do with just your body weight that will get you into excellent shape.

But to answer the question directly, yes there are a lot of exercises you can do with just dumbells. The only real drawback is that eventually on some exercises you will outgrow the weights you have and they get *REALLY* expensive once you get past the basic 5-45 pound sets. Plates are much more affordable and easier to add up for desired weights.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:42 AM   #8
Baptismbyfire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdogdeek View Post
Do you already own dumbbells and are looking for exercise recommendations? Or are you looking for input on how to workout at home inexpensively?

You can still do the main basic movements with just a set of dumbbells:

1. squat with dumbbells held on shoulders
2. press
3. bench press
4. deadlift
5. row

Personally, I would go for an olympic bar + weights if at all possible instead of dumbbells but dumbbells vs nothing I'd go with dumbbells.

Yeah, I am going to get my hands on some dumbbells this week. Is there any site you could recommend for dumbbell exercises?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:01 AM   #9
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Starting Strength and Strong Lifts 5x5 are common starting programs. I think they both basically have you perform 2 workouts, splitting up the 5 basic movements I listed above over 2 days and the idea is to try to increase the weight you lift over each workout and you only perform 1 set of 5 reps per exercise.

This is obviously an over-simplification but it's the basic idea.

EDIT: Oops, I meant 5 sets of 5 reps per exercise.
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Last edited by blackdogdeek; 01-29-2013 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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If I had a full set of dumbbells going from 20lb to 150lb I probably could drop gym membership and still do a full body workout.

I would prefer to have a barbell and dumbell setup.
See no reason to limit myself to just dumbells.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:38 PM   #11
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A set of powerblocks is MUCH less expensive and FAR easier to store than a whole set of dumbells and rack.

Plus the powerblocks go up to 175lbs per side. I don't know too many people that can handle 175lb dumbells.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:52 PM   #12
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I've got a set of Bowflex SelectTech 1090s, which go up to 90lbs per side. That + a bench is what I use. Granted, I'm not some workout beast or in the best shape of my life.

In fact, I'm probably at my fattest right now after 6 months of not working out for various reasons.

That said, I got back into it this week and there is no shortage of exercises to do with dumbbells. Could I get a "better" workout at the gym? I guess. But this is already enough to kill me/make me want to puke.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:56 PM   #13
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A set of powerblocks is MUCH less expensive and FAR easier to store than a whole set of dumbells and rack.

Plus the powerblocks go up to 175lbs per side. I don't know too many people that can handle 175lb dumbells.
I see $650 for the 90 pound(each) set.
http://www.amazon.com/PowerBlock-Eli...rds=powerblock

I don't even want to know what the 175lb ones cost. And those things look awkward as hell with the way you have to stick your wrist in there.

You can probably garage sale a dumbell set for pennies on the dollar if you do a little shopping around.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:08 PM   #14
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As a point of reference, here is a local-to-me ad on craigslist for an olympic bar + 230 lbs of weights for $200:

http://newyork.craigslist.org/stn/spo/3582485617.html
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:13 PM   #15
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I see $650 for the 90 pound(each) set.
http://www.amazon.com/PowerBlock-Eli...rds=powerblock

I don't even want to know what the 175lb ones cost. And those things look awkward as hell with the way you have to stick your wrist in there.

You can probably garage sale a dumbell set for pennies on the dollar if you do a little shopping around.
Lol...what a ridiculous contraption for $650.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdogdeek View Post
As a point of reference, here is a local-to-me ad on craigslist for an olympic bar + 230 lbs of weights for $200:

http://newyork.craigslist.org/stn/spo/3582485617.html
Definitely look on craigslist for used dumbells bar bells. Ive gotten thousands of dollars worth of stuff for a mere hundred or two including dumbell sets up to 90s, benches, bars, assortment of plates etc etc.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:00 AM   #17
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Just use your body
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:52 AM   #18
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I have a set of 5, 10, 20, 35, and 50 lb. dumbbells. I can do all the basic exercises with them with squats probably being the most difficult to do compared to using a barbell. My biggest obstacles are having such a big jump in weight and having a max weight of 100 lbs. (for 2 50-pounders).

I thought about adding to the set, but I'm just going to go with a power rack and barbell setup instead. However, if you don't have room for that, then there's not much that you can't do with dumbbells.

I usually do a basic routine with bench press, bent-over rows, squats, deadlifts, and OH press split across two work-out days. I moved last September and haven't had a workout room since then, because it's currently the storage room until I build a shed
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:32 AM   #19
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I am doing the stronglift 5x5 with dumbells. I have access to DB's from 1lb all the way to 110lbs, 2 of each weight, so 220lbs total. I am just starting out, but it definitely seems like I can go quite a while and even then you can add more reps. We have other machines, but the DB's just feel better.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:57 PM   #20
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my faves are:
Squats - when one end of the DB resting on your shoulder
Thrusters
Goblet Squats
Presses
1 Arm Snatches
Rows in the pushup position
farmer walks
the above doesn't require a bench.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:38 PM   #21
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Fuuuuuuu.....


Those are awesome. Wish there was a printout of those!
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:55 PM   #22
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love ketterbells for many more complex movements and targeted muscles
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:52 PM   #23
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I prefer dumbells to anything else if they can be used. I feel that each side gets an equal workout where if you use a bar sometimes one side can overpower it seems.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:11 AM   #24
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"The mechanic should sit down among levers, screws, wedges, wheels, etc., like a poet among letters of the alphabet, considering them as the exhibition of his thought, in which a new arrangment transmits a new idea to the world." Robert Fulton.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:56 AM   #25
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If working *at home* is objective, as it was for me, there is equipment that can be bought to do the major/popular barbell strength traing programs, such as, Strong Lifts and Starting Strength. I use a 7-ft standard bar, one-inch plates, a pair of safety stands, a simple bench, and 1-in thick floor mats. I also have a "Door Gym," which adds to my arsenal.

I had considered doing dumbbell-only exercises because going to the gym doesn't agree with me at all. But, it seemed to me that there had to be a good reason why barbell-based workouts are considered the gold standard. It's not as if other methods are not viable; it's a matter of which is more efficacious/efficient.

These are only my thoughts/opinions. I mean no disrespect for other viewpoints. And, I continue to learn . . .

Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck.
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