Strength training with dumbbells pays off in size and definition.
The true value of using dumbbells lies in their versatility. Plate-loaded Smith machines, cables and even barbells are limited in the range of motion you can achieve with a single exercise. Dumbbells allow you to quickly travel through weight classes so you can maximize your workout. You can achieve serious mass with some creative dumbbell variations of traditional strength-building exercises.
Lower Body Mass Builder
The deadlift will strengthen your gluteus muscles on your backside and the quadriceps of the thighs. Doing dumbbell deadlifts is primarily for advanced level lifters who want to build mass and core strength in the legs. You have to concentrate much harder on maintaining a level stance with the dumbbells. While holding the dumbbells in each hand, you bend down at the knees and press the weight back up again with the legs.
Squats for Leg Power
Doing squats with dumbbells helps you see visible results in your lower body because you can use progressively heavier weights. Hold two heavy weight dumbbells in each hand down toward your side. With your palms facing inward and your back straight, bend at the knees and squat down toward the floor. Straighten the legs again by extending and flexing at the hips and knees.
Doing hamstring curls with dumbbells is a great way to bulk up the back of the thigh. You start out by elevating a standard workout bench just a few degrees. Lie down prone across the bench and grip a light to medium weight dumbbell between the arches of your feet. Bend the legs slowly back toward your back and then slowly straighten them again.
The walking lunge with dumbbells is one of the best ways to strengthen the quadriceps in your outer thigh. With this exercise, form is the most important thing to consider. A shorter lunge keeps the pressure on the quadriceps while a deeper lunge will also target the gluteus muscles on your backside. You can scale the weights as high as you want as long as you lunge forward with a straight back and even footfalls.
Timed Bench Press
Dumbbell bench presses are a great strength-building exercise, but to push your chest workout to the max, do timed sets. The timed bench press exercise is meant for light weights so don't grab the heaviest dumbbells you can lift. Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend the arms to roughly a 45-degree angle and press the weights over your chest. Do three 30-second sets where you perform one repetition per second.
Single Arm Bench Press
The single arm bench press will isolate your pectoral muscles and add mass to your upper body. With this exercise, you lie down on your back across a flat bench. Place a dumbbell in one hand, bend at the elbow and position your arm at an angle of 45 degrees to your head. Press the weight up and over your chest. Instead of lifting both dumbbells at the same time, you isolate each arm and alternate sets.
Mechanical Drop Set
Mechanical drop sets hit all three sections of the pectoralis muscle group. Make sure you have a workout bench that can easily transition from inclined to flat and finally to a declined position. You can either use light dumbbells for the duration of the exercise or stagger the weights at each interval. Start at the incline and perform a set of the inclined dumbbell bench press. Then, transition to a flat bench and perform a set of the standard dumbbell bench press. Transition the bench to a declined position and finish up with a set of decline dumbbell presses.