An Efficient Upper Body Workout With Dumbbells
Article by Adam Fromm
Whether your aim is to achieve general fitness, develop muscle mass, endurance or enhance athletic performance, resistance training with dumbbells can help you realize it.
In comparison to a traditional exercise machine, free weights supply significantly more stimulus to your muscles. Unlike machines which isolate muscle groups, exercising with free weights compels your body to engage stabilizing and core muscles. The end result is more efficient strength development than can be achieved with any other method.
You can perform a complete workout with dumbbells alone and they’re compact and can be moved around your space. They can be easily stored, so you can work out at home and not have to dedicate a whole room to exercise equipment. This is especially true with adjustable dumbbells – and they’re so versatile you can target nearly every part of your body with them. Most important, they’re highly effective.
Everyone aspires to see the biggest improvements in the fastest time, and research shows that the most efficient technique for strength training is by utilizing free weights. And the most straightforward and effective technique for strength training with free weights is a work out regimen including dumbbells.
To perform the following total upper body workout, all you need is a pair of dumbbells and a workout bench. The exercises target all the major muscle groups in your upper body: the chest, shoulders, back, traps, biceps and triceps. For general health and fitness, toning, firming and endurance training, lift lighter weights and use higher repetitions. For developing muscle mass pure strength, utilize heavy weights and few repetitions. Either way, perform the exercises the same way to get a complete and effective upper body workout.
Flat Chest Flies 1. Lying flat on bench, hold dumbbells directly above your chest with palms facing each other2. As you lower the weights, bend elbows slightly, maintaining throughout the exercise3. Open arms to sides – elbows remaining locked and slightly flexed 4. Feel a stretch in the pectorals5. When upper arms are parallel to the floor, return the weights to the starting positionNotes: Keep your feet flat on the floor and your back flat on the bench. Use a 3 count on the way down, pause, and a 3 count back up to the starting position
Flat Chest Press1. Lying flat on the bench, hold the dumbbells directly above chest with arms extended2. Lower weights to the chest in a slow, controlled motion3. Slowly push dumbbells back up to starting position4. Do as many reps as you can until muscle failureNotes: Avoid locking your elbows
Triceps Dumbbell Exercise
French Presses1. Lie flat on bench, holding dumbbells directly above chest with palms facing each other. Dumbbells should just about touch one other.2. Keep your shoulders locked, your abdominal muscles tight, chest up, and elbows stable3. Let your elbows fold so dumbbells are lowered down to either side of head.4. Push the weight up, stopping just before your elbows are straight5. Reverse the motion back down.Notes: Always start with a light weight and make sure you can lift it in a safe and controlled manner using good technique. Using a heavier weight too soon can result in injury.
Lateral Raises 1. Stand upright, knees slightly bent, shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells in front of thighs2. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height3. When arms are parallel to floor, slowly lower and repeatNotes: Maintain elbows’ height above or equal to wrists and keep elbows slightly bent throughout. If elbows drop lower than wrists, front deltoids become primary mover instead of lateral deltoids.
Front Raises1. Stand upright, knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart, palms towards thighs2. Raise one dumbbell directly in front of you to eye level with only a slight bend in the elbow – keep your body still so the anterior deltoid is fully engaged3. When arm is parallel to ground lower dumbbell slowly back4. Repeat with the other arm. Notes: Keep a slight bend in the elbow when liftingNotes: Great exercise for those with shoulder injuries, particularly rotator cuff injuries
Seated Shoulder Presses1. Sit upright on bench or use an adjustable incline bench set to just under 90 degrees2. Make sure back is straight and flat 3. Start with dumbbells over your head with palms facing forward3. Slowly lower dumbbells to shoulders 5. When arms are at 90 degrees, press the dumbbells back upNotes: There is a tendency to lean back while performing this exercise – don’t – this reduces its effectiveness as well as placing strain on the lower back.
Back Dumbbell Exercise
Single Arm Row1. Stand upright next to bench. Place one knee up on the bench for support and the other on the floor and one arm locked out on the bench. Upper body should be parallel to floor2. Reach down and pick up a dumbbell with your free hand3. Without cheating, lift the dumbbell as slowly as you can, keeping your stomach tight4. Raise dumbbell up to your midsection keeping back still throughout movement5. Slowly lower dumbbell to start position and repeat.Notes: Keep your back flat and parallel to the floor
Biceps Dumbbell Exercise
Preacher Curls1. Set bench to 45 degree angle – stand behind the bench2. Hold dumbbell with arm fully extended on back rest3. Keep back of upper arm against back rest and curl dumbbell up towards your face4. Slowly lower dumbbell until arm is nearly fully extendedNotes: Great for isolating the biceps and forcing them to work independently. As a general rule, always hit the weakest arm first.
Trapezius Dumbbell Exercise
Upright Rows1. Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent2. Grasp dumbbells and stand with palms facing front of thighs – keep your back straight3. Pull dumbbells to front of shoulder, chin height, with elbows leading out to sides4. Hold for a count of 2 and slowly lower to start position and repeatNotes: The dumbbells should be close to the body as you raise them and the elbows should drive the motion. Continue to lift until they nearly touch your chin. As you lift the dumbbells, your elbows should always be higher than your forearms. Also, if you suffer from shoulder problems, you may want to stay away from this exercise, substituting another form of lateral raise.
Adjustable dumbbells allow you to exercise faster and smarter. They are great space-savers and are less costly than comparable traditional dumbbells. Plus, they’re convenient and easy to use.
About the Author
For more information on adjustable dumbbells sets, as well as additional articles on effective training with dumbbells, visit my Bowflex dumbbells website where you’ll also find Bowflex Reviews and reviews of comparable adjustable dumbbell sets like PowerBlocks.
Rowing provides an efficient, effective, low-impact workout
Article by h.zool
Do you have limited workout space but plenty of motivation? Turn to the Stamina 1205 precision rowing machine, which offers a compact footprint of only 32.5 inches wide by 48 inches long, but offers the same terrific workout as machines twice its size. The Stamina 1205 mimics the smooth motion of rowing on the water, with a padded seat that glides on a ball-bearing roller system, rowing arms whose resistance is adjusted by hydraulic cylinders, and foam grips that keep your hands stable and comfortable. The multifunction fitness monitor, meanwhile, keeps you motivated and on track to reach your fitness goals, showing your speed, distance, time, stroke count, and calories burned. And users will love the thick padded seat and pivoting footplates, which combine to provide comfort and support during your workout. Other features include a precision extruded aluminum beam, a silver steel frame, a five-year warranty on the frame, and a 90-day warranty on parts.
About RowingRowing provides an efficient, effective, low-impact workout that utilizes all the major muscle groups, including the back, legs, arms, abdominals and buttocks. It is also one of the best exercises for building a strong back, as well as one of the most effective low-impact aerobic exercises for increasing your metabolism. As a result, you can efficiently burn calories and fat without impacting your joints.
The continuous, non-impact movement of rowing can be broken down into three phases: the starting point is called the catch phase, followed by the drive phase, the finish, and the recovery. In the catch phase, knees are bent with shins vertical and shoulders and arms reaching forward. This phase mimics the point where the oars are being placed in the water. The drive phase is initiated by the legs. As the legs extend, your arms remain straight until the knees are mostly extended. Then the elbows flex bringing the oar handles into the upper stomach. In the finish, the legs are fully extended, your shoulders are back, your elbows are flexed, and the oar handle is against the upper stomach. For the recovery, your knees don’t flex until after your hands pass over your knees and your arms and shoulders reach forward to begin the catch phase again.
Because rowing is an impact-free activity, it can be a lifelong form of exercise. It is always best to exercise in your target heart rate zone (70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate).
* Precision rowing machine with deluxe ball-bearing rolling system * Smooth hydraulic cylinder action with adjustable tension controls * Multifunction fitness monitor tracks speed, distance, strokes, and more * Thick padded seat and pivoting footplates for maximum comfort * Measures 32.5 x 27.75 x 48 inches (W x H x D); weighs 47 pounds
About the Author
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