Can you get in good shape with just dumbbells

Can you get in good shape with just dumbbells
Can you get in good shape with just dumbbells


The age-old question: Can you get in good shape with just dumbbells? Is one most of us have asked ourselves at some point in our fitness journey. In general you can really upgrade your body while only using dumbbells but how far can you go is more complicated than a yes or no answer

Dumbbells have been in use for years, they’re cheap, versatile and highly effective. In this article we’re going to talk about how to get the most out of your dumbbells at home or at the gym. And some other alternatives that you might now know about.

Why are dumbbells so effective

  • Dumbbells can be used for a bunch of different types of exercises. Unlike many other types of gym and fitness equipment, dumbbells are super versatile. While you might think dumbbells are only used for bicep curls, that’s not the case at all! There are many different exercises that you can do with just dumbbells.
  • They can be used for anaerobic exercises too. Yes, even these kinds of exercises can be done with lesser weights. Instead of going for one rep maxes, you instead focus on endurance and volume. This is a completely different way to train while using the same equipment.
  • You can take them with you. While other pieces of equipment are clunky and impossible to bring with you, dumbbells are often very small and you can even travel with them. It’s no big deal to bring a couple of your dumbbells in the trunk of your car to keep up with your training on your vacation!
  • Dumbbells just work. It’s been proven for a long time now that you can get very far with just dumbbells as weight training. You don’t really need to get a gym membership to get stronger. While getting as big as a pro bodybuilder might be difficult using only dumbbells. You would be surprised how far you can go with a set of cheap dumbbells and some good nutrition.
  • They are a great way to get into strength training. In fact, that’s how I got into fitness at first, a friend said I was too skinny and lent me a pair of adjustable dumbbells in a couple of months I was hooked after seeing my progress. If you’re not sure what you’re going to do, they’re a cheap, easy way to get into lifting.

Common mistakes people make when using dumbbells

While using dumbbells to get stronger might look like an easy thing to do, there are some things you should keep in mind if you want to avoid injuries and wasting your time.

Using too much weight starting out: While you might be anxious to get strong as fast as possible, don’t overdo it. Even if you can kind of carry a very heavy dumbbell, it’s not a good idea to start out big while lifting for the first time. Start slowly with something that feels easy at first. After a while start adding more weight, slowly.

Doing exercises without proper form: This one is so common it’s almost a meme at this point. It’s important to keep posture and form in mind at all times when lifting heavy weights. It’s important because injuries can creep up on you, do not follow the usual “no pain, no gain” advice that is given all the time, if it hurts stop.

Hold the weights properly: I have seen this one sometimes and I wanted to make extra emphasis on grip here. Make sure your grip is tight and solid all the time, you don’t want to drop these on your toes, trust me.

Neglecting your diet is a big no-no: Even if you go all out during your workouts, if you don’t take care of your diet, you won’t get the results you want. Make sure to get your diet in order before spending hours at the gym. It’s going to pay out handsomely in the end when you get that amazing physique.

Motivation is important, but discipline is key

A big problem a lot of people have with getting in shape is motivation. It’s easy to get motivated every once in a while, but eventually it runs out and you will be exercising on willpower alone.

Focus on building your exercising habit. This can mean going to the gym, exercising at the park, or just lifting dumbbells at home. The important thing is to always do something. Do not have “0 days” even if you only lifted for 15 minutes, it’s something. With time it will get easier and easier.

Discipline is something that can be trained, if you’ve never exercised before in your life, it might seem horrible at first, you will be in pain, tired and sweaty after every workout. This is normal with time it will get easier.

Ideally you will get to a point where you actually want to work out. Doing physical activities releases chemicals into your brain that make you feel better, fulfilled after doing them. That’s why exercise is one of the best things to do if you want to treat depression and anxiety.

Getting started with dumbbells at home

It can seem overwhelming at first, so many exercises, modifying your diet, proper form and so on. But don’t overcomplicate things. If you’ve got the motivation and you are willing to put in the work to get fitter, that’s all you need. For everything else you can research online and experiment yourself.

Follow these steps to get great results using dumbbells at home:

Choose a workout routine that makes sense for you

If you’re overweight and have not exercised for years, it doesn’t make sense to go all out on one of those CrossFit routines. Go instead for something lighter while you get your diet fixed, and after you lose some pounds, then you can start trying the difficult stuff.

There is so much information online, I suggest you spend some time searching for an exercise routine that looks doable for you, don’t be ashamed to look for “easy” exercises at first. If everything goes well you will be doing the advanced exercises in a matter of months.

Get the right equipment and clothes

Get yourself equipped and ready to go. Some of the best exercise equipment besides a trusty set of dumbbells are: resistance bands, jump ropes, yoga matts, and exercise balls. Don’t go overboard with the buying, just buy simple stuff at first. In theory you don’t even need any of this, just slap some old clothes on and do pushups! There you’re working out!

Find a good place to work out: While a garage is a classic home gym, you can use a studio or just the living room, get creative, if it’s lifting dumbbells, you don’t need much space, just enough to do most variations.

Don’t be ashamed to start slow, like really slow

It’s important to set reasonable goals that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time, otherwise you will get demotivated fast, and probably stop altogether. Do not make the mistake of setting unreasonable goals for yourself. Be honest and work towards your goals in a realistic manner.

Work on your playlist game

This step is vital, if you want to have long term success, work on curating your own personal playlist, add your favorites, add songs that motivate you. Get creative, you can even add podcasts too, it doesn’t have to be music all the time!


We talked about why dumbbells are so effective, they are super cheap, and versatile. Most people can afford to add a set of dumbbells to their home. This means that dumbbells are one of the most affordable and simple ways to get in shape today.

Unlike committing to a gym membership or starting a new sport or physical activity. Buying a set of dumbbells and focusing on your diet is simple but very effective way to get in shape fast.

There is almost no reasons why anyone shouldn’t have a good set of dumbbells in their home at all times. They’re so useful you might want to keep a couple on your car too!

Another great benefit of dumbbells is that if you’re like me, you might feel a bit embarrassed about your body, so going to the gym can be super intimidating. Training at home with dumbbells and some body weight trainer is a perfect way to get a head start before heading into the gym.

Take a couple of months to get your diet fixed, train with dumbbells and some bodyweight exercises and you can go without shame to the gym (that’s what I did).



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