5 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Beginners to Build a Strength Base

Dumbbell exercises help build strength and muscle. (Photo via Pexels/Andres Ayrton)
Dumbbell exercises help build strength and muscle. (Photo via Pexels/Andres Ayrton)

There are several reasons why dumbbell exercises are so beneficial. Not only do they provide more variety than other gym tools, but they also help eliminate fat, develop muscle mass, boost cardio, and build an overall strength base.

If you're a beginner and wish to develop strength, dumbbell training should be a part of your workout routine. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the basic and beginner-level dumbbell exercises you must include in your fitness schedule.

Beginner-friendly Dumbbell Exercises to Develop Strength

Each of the exercises mentioned below are easy, but it's important to perform them correctly to avoid pain or any type of discomfort. Aim to perform three sets of ten reps initially, and as you start to build strength, increase your reps accordingly. Let's get started with the five exercises:

1) Bench Press

The bench press is one of the best beginner-level dumbbell exercises that works the muscles around the chest and shoulders and helps build massive strength.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit on the edge of a flat bench, and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Rest the dumbbells against your thighs and stomach, and lie back on the bench. Raise the dumbbells directly over your chest.
  • Slowly lower them down till they're below your chest level, and press them again to full extension.
  • Once you’ve completed the desired reps, lower the weights back to their starting position, and sit back up.

2) Lateral Raise

Lateral raises are among some of the best dumbbell exercises that target the outer head of the deltoid muscles. This exercise is suitable for beginners, as it doesn’t require a lot of core strength.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight holding a dumbbell in both hands. Rest your hands next to your outer thighs, and make sure to keep your back straight.
  • Lift the dumbbells out to your sides till your arms get parallel to the floor. As you do that, make sure your elbows are slightly bent.
  • Lower the dumbbells back, and repeat the exercise.

3) Dumbbell Lunge

Dumbbell lunges are a great exercise to build strength and add resistance to your legs. This exercise helps develop muscles and also burns a lot of calories.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight, and hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  • With your right leg, take a big step forward, and lower your body till your knees get bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Drive your body up through your right leg, and return to the starting position.
  • Take a big step forward with your left leg, and repeat the exercise.

4) Deadlift

Deadlifts are, hands-down, one of the most effective dumbbell exercises to build overall strength and train the backside of the body, particularly the hamstrings and glutes.

Conventional deadlifts are done with a barbell, but as a beginner, you can use dumbbells and get the same results.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight with dumbbells on the floor. Hinge at your knees and hips to grab the dumbbells, and make sure to use an overhand grip.
  • Without rounding your back and keeping your arms fully extended, press your heels into the floor, and allow the dumbbells to drive up to the front of your thighs.
  • Lower the weights back to the floor, and repeat.

5) Bent-over Row

Bent-over rows are great dumbbell exercises that target the shoulders, biceps, forearms, hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors. This exercise builds massive strength and also helps you get that V-shaped back.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand straight, with your core tight and back erect. Hold dumbbells in each hand with an overhand grip.
  • Slightly hinge forward so that your torso gets parallel to the floor, and drive your elbows behind your body while using your shoulder blades.
  • Pull the dumbbells towards your stomach till they touch the body, and slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
  • Repeat.


The aforementioned dumbbell exercises are simple yet very effective for strengthening the muscles.

When performing these exercises, though, make sure about your form and posture, and do not overtrain your muscles. As a beginner, it's also important to consult a doctor to ensure you're healthy enough to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine

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Edited by Bhargav