How To Train With Dumbbells at Home | York Fitness

Dumbbells are one of the most popular and versatile pieces of fitness equipment on the market. For this reason, they are also one of our best selling products.

We produce and stock a wide range of dumbbells, from hex dumbbells to home dumbbell sets so you can build your own. Here's a quick run-down of the two main types of dumbbells and their individual advantages:


Dumbbell Sets

Dumbbell Sets - York Fitness

These are an excellent piece of home weight training equipment, because you can build a wide range of weight options from one set. They consist of a hand-held bar, weight plates and collars. Our 20 KG Dumbbell Set is one of our best sellers. The biggest advantage with dumbbell sets, is that you don't need to buy a range of individual dumbbells, you just assemble the weight you need during your workout. This is a cheaper option and gives you a lot of versatility in one product.

The downside of dumbbell sets, are that you need to take the extra time during your workout to change weights and also that the dumbbells don't feel as solid, because they are not a one piece product.


Fixed Dumbbells

Fixed Dumbbells - York Fitness

As the name suggests, these are a fixed piece of equipment. The handle is permanently attached to the two dumbbell heads so the weight never changes. A good example would be our highly popular rubber hex dumbbells, which have a hexagon shape to help prevent them from rolling away mid-workout. The advantage of fixed dumbbells is convenience. You simply pick up the weight you need and get on with your exercise. There's no need to put them together, they are also solid, highly durable and very strong. 

The downside is cost. For example the 20 KG dumbbell set, allows you to build up to 20 combinations of a dumbbell weight, for only £49.99. The same 20 weight options in a full set of fixed dumbbells would cost far more.


Dumbbell Workouts at Home

So now you have chosen the type of dumbbell that suits you, let's look at how to get the best out of them at home.



It's important with all weight training to warm up first. This prepares the muscles for exercise, by increasing the blood-flow to the muscles and also reduces the risk of injury.

First increase your heart rate. This can be done with any cardiovascular exercise or even with some light calisthenics such as star-jumps, squats, burpees etc. For approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

Next mobilise your major joints, with exercises such as arm circles and other dynamic movements that are specific to the muscles you'll be training.

Finally add in some light stretching.


Dumbbell Exercises

Here is a list of the most popular exercises to target a wide range of muscle groups and make the most of your home dumbbell workout routine.


Chest Press

Main Muscles Targeted: Pectorals, Anterior Deltoids. 

Chest Press Dumbbell Workout

The chest press is a classic exercise, and key if you're looking for a chest workout at home with dumbbells. For this you'll need a bench. Ensure your back is fully flat on the bench, your abdominals are engaged. Hold the dumbbells by the shoulders. Drive the weights smoothly upwards, keeping in line with the chest. Exhale as you drive upwards and inhale as you lower the dumbbells to the shoulders.


Incline Chest Fly

Main Muscles Targeted: Pectorals

Incline Chest Fly - York Fitness

For this exercise you'll need an adjustable bench or for flat chest fly perform exactly the same movement with the bench flat. Open the arms with the elbows slightly bent at the bottom of the movement and bring the arms back together. Again exhale as you bring the arms together and inhale as you move them apart. This is a great workout for building those upper chest muscles that aren't targeted as much by your average dumbbell flys.



Main Muscles Targeted: Triceps

Tricep Pullover- York fitness

Using a flat bench start with the dumbbell in line with your navel, elbows slightly bent and wrists in line. With arms extended, draw the weight up and over head. You should be able to see the dumbbell at all times.


Shoulder Press

Main Muscles Targeted: Deltoids, Ticeps.

Shoulder Press - York Fitness

This can be performed from either seated or standing. With back straight and abdominals engaged grip the dumbbells with palms facing away from you and keep them slightly in front of you. Extend your arms upwards to full extension exhaling as you press the dumbbells and inhaling on the way down.


Lateral Raises

Main Muscles Targeted: Deltoids

Lateral Raises - York Fitness

Stand with feet should width apart and back straight, with the dumbbells gripped with your knuckles facing away from you. Raise the dumbbell out and up to shoulder height as you exhale. Inhale whilst you slowly return the dumbbells to your sides in a controlled manner.


Upright Row

Main Muscles Targeted: Deltoids, Trapezius 

Upright Row - York Fitness

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding the dumbbells in front of you with your knuckles facing away. Pull the dumbbells upwards to nipple level by flexing at the elbows to shoulder height. Return to start position as you inhale.


Bent Over Row

Main Muscles Targeted: Latissimus Dorsi & Rhomboids

Bent Over Row - York Fitness

Using a bench to rest on and keeping your back flat, draw your elbow up and back past waistline. Bring the dumbbell up towards your chest and then lower slowly. Exhale as you draw up and inhale as you control the dumbbell back down.


Dumbbell Lunges

Main Muscle Group Targeted: Quadriceps, Gluteals, Hamstrings

Dumbbell Lunges - York Fitness

Start from standing with the feet around shoulder-width apart. Step forward, lower straight down and bend both knees, ensuring the front knee doesn't extend over the front toe. Keep your back straight throughout and push back up through the front heel.


Standing Bicep Curl

Main Muscles Targeted: Biceps.

Standing Bicep Curl - York Fitness

Stand tall and engage your abdominals. Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing away from you. With elbows to the side of body, exhale as you lift the dumbbells to shoulder height, inhale as you lower the dumbbells.


Hammer Curls

Main Muscles Targeted: Biceps, Brachioradialis.

Hammer Curls - York Fitness

You can perform this seated or standing with a straight back. Hold the dumbbells with the palms facing in towards your sides. Curl the dumbbells to your shoulders as you exhale. Inhale as you return the dumbbell to your side. Repeat on the other arm.


Single Arm Tricep Extension

Main Muscles Targeted: Triceps.

Single-Arm Tricep Extension

Engage abdominals, stand tall. The elbow of the working arm can be supported with the other arm. Lower dumbbell to a 90 degree angle at the elbow and drive upwards to the start position. Avoid locking out the elbow or arching the back.


Tricep Kickbacks

Main Muscles Targeted: Triceps, Rear Deltoid.

Tricep Kickbaks - York Fitness

Using a bench, kneel and place one hand on the bench, pulling your abdominals firmly in. Ensure your elbow remains by your waist, extend forearm and dumbbell back, keeping wrist flat. Bring dumbbell back towards shoulder and repeat on other arm.


Abdominal Curls

Main Muscles Targeted: Abdominals

Abdominal Curls with Dumbbell - York Fitness

Laying on your back with the dumbbell held above your head, but still visible sit up at the waist, keeping your lower back on the floor. Exhale as you sit up and inhale as you lay back down.


Side Bends

Main Muscles Targeted: Obliques

Side Bends - York Fitness

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, back straight and one dumbbell held by your side. From this position lean away from the dumbbell using just your trunk flexing above your waist. Repeat on the dumbbell side by flexing towards the dumbbell.


Technique Pointers

You'll always achieve better results by maintaining strict form and going through a full range of motion with each exercise. Here are some pointers to get the most out of your workout:

  • Always carry out the exercises with strict form. So slow controlled movements, rather than uncontrolled movements where you end up compensating with other muscle groups to reduce the load.
  • Use the correct weight, forget the ego. It's not how much you can lift, but the results you get from lifting that matter. Aim for a weight you can comfortably and cleanly perform between 8 to 12 reps of.
  • Breathe! Remember to exhale as you perform the resistance part of each exercise and inhale as you disengage.
  • Hold weights lightly, over-gripping weights can lead to poor form and also excessive energy use.
  • Avoid using 'momentum' to achieve movements this can lead to injury and also reduced resistance and therefore a less effective workout.


Happy lifting and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more training tips, advice articles and special offers. 


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