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11 Dumbbell Moves You Should Know To Start Lifting Weights

Seriously, don't be gymtimidated. We will walk you through this.

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Personal trainer and founder of ReModel Fitness, Jessi Kneeland, NASM suggests getting started with the 11 moves below.

When you add any of these moves to your workout, choose a weight that's challenging but not TOO hard — your last rep should look as perfect form-wise as your first rep. Start with three sets of 8 to 10 reps. Once you can do two or three more reps than that, it means it's time to go up in weight. Gains!

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And if you want a quick, beginner-friendly, readymade dumbbell workout you can do right now? We have that, too.

How to do it:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and the toes parallel.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up.

3. With the abs tight and back neutral, and your elbows slightly in front of your ribs, curl the dumbbells up, squeezing the biceps.

Do:

• Squeeze the biceps hard at the top.

Don't:

• Move the rest of your body as you're curling.

• Arch your back.

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How to do it:

1. Lay on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat holding a dumbbell on your lap.

2. Driving your weight into your heels, press the hips up until you've created a straight line between your knees and your upper back.

3. Squeeze your butt at the top of the movement.

4. Pause one second and return to start.

Do:

• Drive your weight into your heels.

• Keep the abs tight.

Don't:

• Arch the back.

• Push the hips higher than you can keep the glutes squeezed.

How to do it:

1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat, about six inches away from your butt.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and fully extend your arms so that the dumbbells are over your shoulders.

3. Slowly lower the weights until your elbows are touching the floor.

4. Raise them back up to the start.

Do:

• Pause at the bottom of the movement, letting your elbows rest on the ground for one second.

• Press the dumbbells explosively up to the top position.

• Make sure the dumbbells are always over the elbows.

Don't:

• Arch your back.

• Let the weights travel out and away as you press up; maintain control.

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How to do it:

1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat.

2. With a dumbbell in each hand, hold your arms straight up to the ceiling, the dumbbells above your shoulders.

3. Keeping your elbows still, slowly lower the dumbbells toward your head, stopping at the outsides of your temples.

4. Pause for a second, return to start, squeezing the triceps.

Do:

• Keep the palms facing each other.

• Lower only as far as you can control the weight.

• Bend at the elbows.

• Keep the core tight.

Don't:

• Let your elbows flare away from your body.

• Use a weight that you cannot move with control.

How to do it:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes parallel.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, allowing your arms to hang straight, with your hands underneath your shoulders.

3. Hinging at the hips, push your hips back and lower them until your torso is almost parallel to the floor.

4. Without moving your torso or back, row the dumbbells up by squeezing your elbows up and back towards your body and into your ribs.

Do:

• Keep a neutral spine.

• Maintain a tight core.

• Keep your elbows close to your body.

Don't:

• Jerk the weight toward your legs.

• Lift your head or tuck your chin.

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How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes parallel.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, allowing your arms to hang straight, your hands underneath your shoulders.

3. Hinging at the hips, push the hips back and lower them until your torso is almost parallel to the floor.

4. With your palms facing each other and a slight bend in the elbows, lift the dumbbells out to your sides until you can squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

5. Lower to start position.

Do:

• Keep elbows slightly bent.

• Move only at the shoulders.

Don't:

• Let the dumbbells hang in the bottom of the movement; keep the arms activated.

• Let your back round or arch.

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How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet no wider than hip-width apart.

2. With your arms at your sides and your palms facing each other, hold a dumbbell in each hand.

3. Take a large step back with one foot, lowering your hips and bending the knee of your back leg until it's an inch or two above the ground.

4. Pause for one second.

5. Push into the heel of your front foot as you bring your back leg forward and return to standing.

Do:

• Maintain a straight line from your shoulder to your back knee.

• Keep your weight in the heel of the front foot.

Don't:

• Allow your knee to touch the ground.

• Let the heel of the front foot come off the floor.

How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and your toes at a comfortable turnout.

2. Hold a dumbbell vertically at chest height, grasping it by one end with both hands.

3. Pushing your hips back, lower into a squat while keeping the torso upright.

4. Pause for one second at the bottom of the squat and return to standing, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement.

Do:

• Drop your chin slightly as you lower into a squat.

• Choose a beginning stance that is comfortable for you; there's no right or wrong.

Don't:

• Let the shoulders come forward as you lower.

• Round the spine.

• Let heels come off the floor.

Dumbbell Curtsy Lunge

How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.

2. Take a big step backward with one foot, crossing it behind your other leg (like you're curtsying).

3. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself straight down until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Return to standing.

Do:

• Play with the stance to find one that suits you.

• Lower only as far as is comfortable.

• Lean your weight into the heel of the front foot at the bottom of the movement.

• Make sure your hips and shoulders face forward throughout the move.

Don't:

• Twist through the torso.

• Let your back knee touch the ground.

• Let the shoulders round forward.

How to do it:

1. Start in a split stance with one foot a few steps in front of the the other.

2. Hold a dumbbell in the hand opposite the leg that is stepped forward.

3. Keeping the back and neck neutral, press the dumbbell up until your arm is straight, the dumbbell over your shoulder at the top of the movement.

Do:

• Keep your core tight.

• Extend the arm that's not holding the dumbbell out to the side for balance.

• Keep tall posture.

Don't:

• Arch your back.

• Don't let your shoulders come forward.

How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, and your arms at your sides.

3. Raise the dumbbells up and out to shoulder height or slightly above and lower back down.

Do:

• Keep a slight bend in your elbows.

• Choose a weight you can move with control and fluidity.

Don't:

• Arch the back.

• Rotate the hands.

• Let shoulders come forward.

• Rock or move the body to get the weight up.

A couple notes:

Some of these movements (glute bridge, squat, curtsy lunge, and reverse lunge) can be performed as described with no dumbbells at all. Actually, doing them as bodyweight-only exercises can be a great way to master the movement before adding weight.

Also worth noting: As with any new exercises or fitness regimen, be sure to talk to your doctor before you get started, especially if you have preexisting injuries or mobility problems.

Special thanks to our fitness models Noelle Nieva (moves 6 and 8), Edgar Sanchez (moves 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 11), and Rachel Wilkerson Miller (moves 1, 3, and 10).

Noelle Nieva's Supernova Three-Quarter Tights provided by Adidas. Special thanks to Rogue Fitness for providing dumbbells.

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