5-exercise dumbbell workout


Kevin Mangelschots

Training at home is becoming increasingly popular.

Today, we’ll be talking about dumbbells because they are a versatile training tool that can easily be bought, stored, and used at home to get stronger, build muscle mass, or just overall get fitter.

With this 5-exercise dumbbell workout, it’s possible to perform training without having the inconvenience of having to move to a gym.

5 exercises dumbbell workout guidelines

Workout time:

Workouts per week:

Rest time between sets:

Training level:

Exercises performed:


Program goal:

20–30 minutes

2, preferably 3 times per week

2 minutes


Dumbbell goblin squat, dumbbell flye, bent over two-dumbbell row, seated dumbbell press, weighted sit-up


Strength, toning, weight loss, cardiovascular improvement

The 5 exercises dumbbell workout

A woman in a red dress with two pink dumbbells while smiling.

For this workout, I recommend using the adjustable dumbbells.

This way, it’s easy to adjust the weight of the dumbbells if the workout gets too easy.

You can choose to perform all three sets of one specific exercise before moving on to the next one. However, you can also decide to perform one set of an exercise and then move on to perform one set of another exercise. Thus, allowing more rest in between before you perform the other sets of the same exercise again.

  1. Dumbbell goblin squat 3×10
  2. Dumbbell fly 3×10
  3. Bent over two-dumbbell row 3×10
  4. Seated dumbbell press 3×10
  5. Weighted sit-up 3×20

The 5 exercises dumbbell workout explained

  • Dumbbell goblin squat

    A man showing how to do a correct goblin squat.

    Firstly, take one dumbbell by the head with both hands and keep it close to your chest.

    Next, stand with both your feet at shoulder width. Then bend your knees while slightly pushing your knees outwards and keeping your back straight. Make sure to squat below parallel. This means your hips should be lower than your knees.

    Now straighten your knees while making sure they keep pointing slightly outwards.

    Finally, fully extend your knees and hips.

  • Dumbbell fly

    Lie down on a flat bench or the floor if you don’t have a bench at your disposal.

    Raise both dumbbells, so they’re in front of your shoulders at shoulder width. Both elbows should be extended, though not fully. This way, you prevent stress from being placed on the biceps. The palms of your hands should be facing each other.

    Keep your elbows slightly bent and lower both arms to the side in a wide arch. Kinda like the ‘Jesus pose.’ This way, you’ll go through the full range of motion. Stop when you feel the stretch in your chest or when your elbows touch the ground when you’re performing the exercise on the floor.

    Return both arms to the starting position at the same time. Make sure to slightly bend your elbows and go through the same wide arch while raising your arms.

    → Keep your elbows slightly bent. Make sure to go through a wide arch to go through the full range of motion.

  • Bent over two-dumbbell barbell row

    Image of a woman performing a bent over two arm dumbbell row.

    Take two dumbbells and hold them in a neutral grip. This means with your palms facing towards each other.

    Bend your hips forward, but keep your back straight. Make sure to slightly bend your knees.

    Keep the neutral grip and pull the dumbbells towards your body. Your elbows should be at or below your waist. Bent at about 90°.

    Lower both dumbbells in a controlled manner until your elbows are extended again. Repeat the exercise for as many repetitions as needed.

  • Seated dumbbell press

    Sit down on a chair or bench and hold two dumbbells in both your hands. Lift them in front of your shoulders at shoulder height, palms facing forward, away from your body.

    Extend your elbows with your palms facing forward.

    Lower the dumbbells by bending your elbows and bringing them down in a controlled manner until they are in front of your shoulders at shoulder height again. Repeat the exercise for as many repetitions as necessary.

  • Weighted sit-up

    A woman with orange pants and a white shirt performing sit-ups.

    Hold on to two dumbbells. Something heavy you have at home can also be used as a substitute for the dumbbells. Then, hold them in front of your chest.

    Lie down on your back with both your knees bent. Both your feet should be resting on the ground.

    Come upwards while holding the weights.

    Slowly lower your waist in a controlled manner while holding on to the weights. Repeat for as many repetitions as necessary.

    → Don’t come upwards too much, or you will start bending your back, which can lead to injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are dumbbells, and what are they used for?

Dumbbells are a popular type of free weights.

It’s one of the most used pieces of equipment in weight lifting.

The most used type is the adjustable dumbbell. Some exercises require only one dumbbell to perform, while others require them to be used in pairs.

Why and how should I use dumbbells?

Image of a man grabbing two fixed dumbbells from a rack with weights.

Dumbbells can be used for resistance training and weight lifting in general. It’s also commonly used to make full-body workouts harder and more challenging.

This combined with its small size which makes it possible to easily be stored away makes it a viable and useful training tool to work out at home. It can be used as an alternative for a barbell to perform certain exercises. Although, they have a lower threshold for heavy weights than barbells do.

Dumbbells are handled by grabbing and holding the iron bar in the middle of the dumbbell.

The grip depends on which exercise you are performing. Sometimes, the palms will be facing forward and during other exercises, the palms will be facing towards your body.

The exercises that are possible with dumbbells are all movements that the shoulder joint allows. These movements are internal rotation, external rotation, abduction, adduction, extension, flexion, and circumduction.

Different types of dumbbells

  1. Adjustable dumbbells

    Two adjustable dumbbells lying on a gray floor.

    Consists of a metal bar. The middle part of the bar often has a crosshatch pattern.

    This crosshatch pattern’s function is to improve the grip while working out.

    Weights are then slid onto the outer portions of the dumbbell. Needless to say, the weight that is put on the left side of the dumbbell should be equal to the weight that is put on the right side of the dumbbell.

    The weight plates are then secured with a sort of lock to prevent them from falling off during exercise. The most used locks for the adjustable dumbbells are clips and collars.

  2. Fixed-weight dumbbells

    The name gives it away. These are fixed weights, made in the form of dumbbells. Meaning, that the dumbbell has a fixed weight that can not be changed.

    These dumbbells can come in the form of various materials. Most are made of cast iron, while the most inexpensive ones are typically made of concrete.

    The coating may be made out of rubber, while more inexpensive dumbbells often consist of a rigid plastic shell.

  3. Selectorized dumbbells

    A form of adjustable dumbbells.

    The number of plates attached to it can easily be changed when the dumbbell is resting in the dumbbell stand by moving a selector pin or turning a dial.


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

With only a minimal amount of training equipment, you can perform a great full-body dumbbell workout at home.

They are a great tool to perform resistance training at home. Especially coming from body weight-only exercises.

They are an excellent training tool if you want to make certain bodyweight exercises at home more challenging.

Adjustable dumbbells are a good investment in my eyes because they are durable and compact, making it easy to store them away at home. Adjustable dumbbells will also allow you to stack more weight on while you undoubtedly get stronger.