6 BEST DUMBBELL EXERCISES FOR WOMEN
1. Dumbbell Side Lunges
I always tell my new female clients that the quicker they realize that they must incorporate strength training into their routines, the quicker they will see the results they are after. There are different forms of strength training but in this article we will cover the use of dumbbells. Dumbbells are a very accessible tool. You can see them in almost any gym, anywhere, regardless of the specialty of that gym.
These six exercises have one thing in common; they all incorporate your lower body. I’ll even show you two upper body movements that will make your butt work hard.
The side lunge is a great exercise to strengthen and develop the muscles of the inner thighs. Many times we overlook these muscles and this may create imbalances and increase chances of injury.
I’ve noticed that many people lean too forward when lowering themselves. A quick fix for that is to use the goblet hold. With the goblet hold you place the dumbbell at chest or shoulder height. Placing the dumbbell in this position not only helps you to stay more upright but it makes your abs work harder too.
Make sure to shoot your hips back, loading most of your body weight on top of your heels. This will make your glutes work harder. If you want to place more stress on your quads instead of your glutes then you would shift most of your body weight towards your toes.
2. Dumbbell Straight Legged Deadlifts (SLDL)
The Dumbbell Straight Legged Deadlift targets your glutes, lower and upper back, traps and hamstrings. You want to make sure you keep the dumbbells close to your body as they descend. Placing them away from your body makes you lose control of the movement.
This is a hip dominant movement, meaning most of the bending will happen at the hip instead of the knees. You don’t actually keep your legs straight in this exercise, rather there is a soft bend at the knees. You should feel a nice stretch on the hamstrings at the bottom portion. If you don’t feel the stretch on your hamstrings then you are bending your knees too much. And that’s not a bad thing, that’s simply a different exercise. A common mistake is letting the arm disconnect from it’s shoulder socket. Letting this happen will also tell you that you are probably rounding your upper back.
3. Dumbbell Pullover With Active Glute Bridge
The Dumbbell Pullover is a great exercise to target your lats and even your triceps too. In this version you will be sticking most of your body outside of the bench which will require you to extend your hip t
o make your glutes work. The example in the right is the most common approach to performing this exercise. As you can see the man in the picture has dipped his hips, which turn offs his butt and hips. And that’s totally fine but the purpose of this article is to demonstrate how women can add an additional benefit to this exercise.
4. Dumbbell Press With Active Glute Bridge
Just like in the previous example we will be extending our hips while moving the dumbbells. As you can see in the screenshot of the video above, Alix is doing a great job of extending her hips and keeping her glutes engaged. It is very easy to lose focus and let your hip sag while performing the press. You must drive your heels into the ground, squeezing your butt throughout the movement.
5. Dumbbell Sumo Squats
The Dumbbell Sumo Squat is another great exercise that targets the muscles of the inner thighs as well as the glutes and quads. You will be placing the dumbbells in front of you with your arms extended. You want to make sure you don’t let your shoulders round forward in this position. You can also use the Goblet Hold shown in example #1. Shoot your hips back if you want to make your butt work harder.
6. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
This is the most advanced exercise in this series. You want to make sure you know how to perform a standard split squat before you move on this version. As you can see in the screenshot of the video above, we will again be using the Goblet Hold to carry the dumbbell. You can also place two dumbbells to the side of you if you wish. Stand in front of a bench or another stable platform and place your back foot on it. When you perform the split squat you will feel a deep stretch on the hip flexors of the back leg.
You want to make sure you keep your spine upright throughout the movement. If you align your front foot with the rear one you may lose your balance. So make sure you create a small gap between both feet. In the next section we will look at how to apply these exercises in your routines.
PUTTING THESE EXERCISES TO WORK
Here are three different ways to approach a workout using the exercises above. Workout A is time based. You will be performing the colored paired exercises for 20 secs and resting for 30 secs per exercise and completing 2 sets.
In Workout B you will be performing 3 sets instead of 2. And you will be completing them in groups of 3 as shown to the left. Grab a pair of dumbbells that will allow you to perform 12-14 reps per exercise. In this workout you will rest 60 secs per exercise.
Workout C is done in a ladder fashion. Meaning you’ll start with 12 reps and decrease reps as you go through the workout. Ladder workouts allow a lot of volume in a short amount of time. Start with the exercise at the top and work your way down to the last exercise, that will complete one set. Perform the movements resting only when needed.
So there you have it! Six exercises that allow you to get a big bang for your buck. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you won’t miss any workout updates. Or follow me on Facebook for other great tips and info.