Plenty of folks gripe about picking up dumbbells, but there's no need to fear free weights. A few pointers: It isn't necessary to overload on heavy weights right away; start with a pair of five- or eight-pound dumbbells. The last thing you want is improper form that can affect your body's mobility, or worse, lead to injury. Before you start pumping, make sure you know how to use dumbbells correctly. Now you're ready to try these simple exercises that will have you feeling like a pro in no time.
Overhead PressFor shapely shoulders and toned arms, try out the classic overhead press.
- Stand with your feet hip's distance apart.
- Hold the dumbbells so your palms are face down.
- Lift up the dumbbells until they reach your shoulders, palms facing forward, with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Raise your arms until elbows are extended, moving weights until they almost touch above your head.
- Return back to the starting position, with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Repeat for eight to 12 reps!
Triceps LiftTo tone your triceps and upper back, go for the simple chest-opening triceps lift.
- Clasp either end of one dumbbell with both hands.
- Fold at your hips, engage your core, and keep the weight off your lower back.
- Lift the weight up toward the ceiling, holding for a second.
- Lower to the back to the starting position with the weight lifted off your lower back.
- Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps!
Keep reading for one more beginner-friendly dumbbell exercise.
Hammer CurlsOne of the simplest dumbbell exercises is a hammer curl. To take it up a notch, go for balancing hammer curls. But if this is too much, then just stand or sit on a medicine ball without lifting your legs.
- Stand firmly with both feet together while holding a weight in each hand.
- Shift your weight into your left foot, and slowly lift your right knee up.
- Inhale as you bend your elbows, bringing the weights straight up toward your shoulders, keeping your palms facing one another.
- Exhale as you bring the weights back down to the sides of your body.
- Repeat for a total of eight to 12 reps, and then switch to the other leg for eight to 12 reps.
- Challenge yourself with three sets!
Photos: Jenny Sugar and Thinkstock