When it comes to being dynamic, you want dumbbell exercises that are as fun and energetic as you are -- or as you hope to be as you get in shape. The word dynamic refers to an object in motion, which is just what you’ll be when you pick up a pair of dumbbells and start lifting, lunging, bending and squatting your way to new strength. Plus, by using active motions, you’ll also get the added calorie burn from an increased heart rate. It’s a double-win any time you begin.
Dumbbells are incredibly useful when it comes to getting a killer workout for your upper body. With their portability and convenience, you can move from one exercise to the next without skipping a beat, thus maximizing your time and effort. You won’t have to worry about waiting for a machine at the gym; you’ll only have to pause for a few seconds between sets to catch your breath. For a series of dynamic moves that hits all of the major upper-body muscle groups, incorporate biceps curls, triceps extensions, dumbbell rows, shoulder presses and pec flyes into a routine and aim for three sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise.
While workout machines are effective when it comes to building muscle in your lower body, they aren’t the only ways to achieve your goals. Dumbbells can give you the same quality of workout for your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves, while also helping you develop your balance and core stability. Because you won’t have a machine to support you, you’ll have to engage your core muscles and deep stabilizers to complete the workout.
In another plus, because dumbbells are portable, you can take on sets of walking lunges, which allow you to move around the gym (or your living room) for an extra challenging, heart-pumping workout. Add dumbbell squats, calf raises and deadlifts to your walking lunges, and you’ll have a dynamic lower-body routine.
Core workouts aren’t often associated with dumbbells, but these handy weights can be just what you need to develop one of the most essential areas of your body. According Harvard Medical School, the core muscles can be thought of as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. By strengthening the muscles in your abs, back, glutes and hips, you will move more easily and achieve better posture. You’ll also enjoy a greater workout performance, fewer injuries and decreased aches and pains. For a few dynamic core-strengthening moves, try adding dumbbells to your crunches and lying leg lifts while swapping them in for the medicine ball in medicine ball twists.
To really get dynamic with your dumbbells, try a few combination moves that incorporate both your lower and upper body. “Fitness" magazine recommends one-arm dumbbell snatches for a total beach body, while Stack.com offers a spin on the move by turning it into a dumbbell swing that uses an alternate grip to work different muscles. These moves and others like them engage the total body from upper and lower body to the core for the most efficient workouts. Try adding biceps curls to your walking lunges, shoulder presses to your squats and shrugs to your calf raises.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.