Whether you’re working out from home, or you’re hitting the gym, it’s always a good idea to have a really effective dumbbell workout for women up your sleeve!
We’ve found some of the very best exercises that you can easily add into your routine, whether your dumbbells are big or small. What’s more, once you’ve got yourself a good set of dumbbells, the only other piece of equipment you might need is a chair.
Need some quality dumbbells? We’d recommend the following:
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the workout.
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Dumbbell Workout for Women
1. Shoulder Press
This is a fantastic addition to any dumbbell workout for women. You might see quite a few people doing this movement with a bar, however the dumbbells add a new dimension of stabilization, working tiny muscles even more!
The dumbbell shoulder press will help to strengthen up the anterior, posterior and medial deltoids, which cover the front, back and centre of your shoulder respectively. So, if you want more stability and strength in your shoulder, add this to your dumbbell workout for women.
How to do a shoulder press
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and position your dumbbells so you’re holding them on either side of your shoulders with your elbows directly below your wrists.
- Push directly upwards until the dumbbells are almost touching above your head and your arms are going up in a straight line above your shoulders
- Return the dumbbells to the start position in a controlled manner
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2. Bent Over Row
This is a very simple, yet very effective way to start strengthening your upper back. The bent over row works a range of muscles through the upper back and arms to build strength in a number of areas.
What’s more, because you’re bent over and weight is running through your body, you’ll probably feel this in your glutes and lower back too! It’s an all round winner for any dumbbell workout for women.
How to do a bent over row:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and bend forward at the hip, keeping your back straight. Aim to achieve a 90 degree angle so your upper body is parallel to the floor. Lift up slightly if this is too challenging.
- Flex the knees slightly and let your arms hand down below your shoulders, holding the dumbbells
- Keeping your back strong and flat, pull the dumbbells up towards your chest, keeping your elbows in and tight. When the dumbbells are closing in on your armpits, squeeze your shoulder blades together, pause for a moment, then return the dumbbells back to the start position. Repeat the movement.
Reps – 8-10
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3. Reverse Dumbbell Lunges
Let’s take a look at how you can work your lower body with a set of dumbbells. A reverse lunge will put the focus on your glutes, hips and hamstrings, so you can work towards a stronger lower body.
What’s more, because you’re using the dumbbells, there’s an element of stabilization involved too, as you aim to keep your body strong and upright. So you’ll probably feel this in your core too. Bonus!
How to do reverse dumbbell lunges:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart, your chest high and a dumbbell in each hand
- Keeping your upper body strong and upright, step back about two feet with one leg and slowly drop your knee to the ground. Your knee on your front leg should be strong and tracking over your front toe, but shouldn’t go over your toe. If your heel starts to come off the floor, step back slightly further until you’re in a comfortable position
- Push up with your front leg and glute, and step forward into the starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Reps: 6 each side
4. Lateral Raises
This is another, yet really effective exercise to add to your dumbbell workout for women. You don’t need much space to achieve a great bun in those shoulders either! The lateral raise works the lateral delts in your shoulders, creating a much stronger and more stable shoulder.
How to do lateral raises:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and your dumbbells in each hand
- Keeping your back straight, bend your arms slightly and lift the dumbbells in an outward motion until they are level with your shoulders. From here, lower them in a controlled manner back to your hips
Reps – 6-8
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5. Bicep Curl
This one isn’t just for the guys! A bicep curl is a really straightforward way to add strength and tone to your upper arms, by working the biceps. What’s more, you can do it standing or seated depending on what you have available to you.
How to do Bicep curls:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand
- Without moving your upper body (it’s tempting to bend forward as you start the lift!), keep your elbows in, bend at the elbow and raise the dumbbells up to your shoulders
- Once you’ve reached the top of the movement, bring the dumbbells back down to your hip area in a slow and controlled motion
Reps: 6 each side
6. Weighted Sit ups
Let’s take a look at the core. You’ve done sit ups, but if you really want to up the heat on your core muscles, add a weight into the mix too.
With this movement, you’ll be working the whole abdominal area and helping to tone and develop your midsection.
How to do weighted sit ups:
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat to the ground. Hold a dumbbell at either end in both hands.
- Keeping your feet on the floor, lower your body to the ground and, as you touch the ground, bring the dumbbell overhead and touch it to the floor behind your head
- From here, bring the dumbbell back up to your your chest area, sit up again, then lean forward and touch the dumbbell to the floor in front of your feet for a full range of movement
- Repeat the movement
Reps – 8-10
This compound movement has so many positives for a dumbbell workout for women. Not only does it work your lower body, core and upper body all at once, it also has a cardio element that will definitely improve your fitness too.
It’s not the easiest movement, but it’s definitely one of the best for your strength and fitness. Why not give it a go.
How to do a Thruster:
- Stand with your feet just outside shoulder width apart with your feet pointing slightly outwards.
- Hold a dumbbell in front of your shoulders, with your elbows tucked in either side of your waist
- Keeping your chest high and back strong (don’t let the weight pull your forward) drop into a squat so your hips are below your knees.
- From here, squeeze your glutes and push upwards to a standing position again
- As you reach full extension (a complete stand), push the dumbbells up into a shoulder press
- Bring your dumbbells back down to the start position and repeat.
8. Dumbbell Suitcase Deadlift
The deadlift is one of the most effective compound movements you can use. It works a huge range of muscles throughout your body, including your hamstrings, quads, glutes, lower and upper back and even biceps!
As such, it’s pretty much essential in any dumbbell workout for women. Give it a try and feel the benefits.
How to do a dumbbell suitcase deadlift:
- Stand with your feet at hip width apart with the dumbbells in each hand
- Keeping you back strong and flat with your shoulder blades pulled together, bring your hips backwards and start to bend the knees
- When your dumbbells are about level with your knees, keep the back in that exact same position and bend at the knees (as if you’re lowering a suitcase directly downwards to the floor!)
- Once your dumbbells are at about mid shin level, reverse the movement (straighten the knees, then straight at the hips) until you’re stood again. Repeat.
9. Romanian Deadlift
Similar to the suitcase deadlift, the Romanian deadlift is a must for developing strong, powerful hamstrings. It focuses in on the back of the upper leg, along with the glutes and lower back to help develop a strong posterior chain.
Something we could all use in a world where most of us are sat down most of the time!
How to do a Romanian deadlift:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and the dumbbells in each hand
- Flex the knees slightly, and begin to move your hips backwards
- The dumbbells should travel forward and down your legs, counteracting the movement of your hips as the weight transfers to your heel
- Keep your back flat and strong throughout and when your dumbbells reach just below the knee, begin to move back upwards, by bringing the hips forward again.