Dumbbells are great for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is their versatility. You can use them for almost any movement you can think of… upper body, lower body, full body… the possibilities are endless. You should be using dumbbells in your training plan, regardless of goals, why? 


  1. Takes up less space than machines or barbells.
  2. DBs force you to have increased stabilization, which leads to muscle activation, which leads to the gainz. 
    • I love DBs for unilateral training, we’ve talked about unilateral training before, but if you don’t know what it is… it’s doing movements with a single arm or single leg, this is where stabilization and activation come into play. 
  3. While we’re talking about unilateral training, let’s talk about muscle imbalances, DBs will help you see where you’re unbalanced/weaker, because you don’t have the other arm or leg to help compensate. 
  4. I’ve been doing a TON of unilateral training lately because I want to balance myself out. One of my legs is out of alignment (I know this because it clicks when I squat) so I’ve added more unilateral leg exercises with either a DB or KB to balance myself out and work on my alignment in those movements (SL RDL, courtesy squats, lunges, etc)
  5. Safer than barbell training (ESPECIALLY if you train alone)
  6. Tons of options to change intensity
  7. Increases ROM and reduces injury when done correctly
  8. Boosts resting metabolic rate and increases your bone strength and density… win!


  1. Triceps
    • Tricep extensions
    • Tricep kickbacks
    • Skullcrushers (one of our favorites, and you’ll be surprised at how difficult these become)
  1. Shoulders
    • Shoulder press
    • Upright row
    • Delt fly
    • Front raise
    • Lateral raise
  2. Biceps
    • Curls a plenty – incline, decline, reverse, hammer, preacher…
  3. Back
    • Bent over row, lat raises, reverse fly
  4. Chest
    • Incline/decline/flat chest press
    • Chest fly
    • DB push ups


  1. Squat
    • Goblet
    • Sumo
    • Traditional DB squat
    • Weighted jumping squats
    • Bulgarian splits
  2. Deadlift
    • DB RDL
    • Sumo
    • Deficit deadlifts
    • Suitcase (mimicks trap bar DL)
  3. Lunges
    • Alternating
    • Lateral
    • Stationary
    • Side
    • Cossack
  4. Hip Thrusts
  5. Calf raises


  1. KB swing with DB
  2. Thrusters
  3. “Wo-Man” makers
  4. Good mornings
  5. Renegade row to frogger
  6. Farmer Carry

Dumbbells are fun! Let’s remember that most movements with a barbell can be done with dumbbells. It’s a scaling option! You can do DB cleans, SA snatches, squat cleans as well as the plethora of movements we mentioned above.  We will have all of these movmemtns in our show notes at meathead test kitchen dot com. 



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