September 11, 2020 4 min read

Dumbbells are a staple of any home gym setup, mainly due to how beneficial they can be for one’s workout. Using dumbbells can play a huge role in muscle growth, and they’re also a very versatile piece of gym equipment. Dumbbell workouts can be more difficult to use compared to an exercise machine, and it can be an easy piece of gym equipment to misuse, in large part because of the weight you choose and the free-weight aspect. Using the wrong dumbbell weight can result in either a serious injury or an ineffective workout. Lift smarter with some of these tips on how to choose the right dumbbell weight.

Warm up First

Before you start to test out different dumbbells, it’s always best to warm up your muscles first. The best way to warm up is to stretch out the ligaments you are using and get your heart rate up by going for a quick jog. Another method you can try is using resistance bands, which can get your muscles ready for lifting dumbbells. By warming up, you can get a good idea of the kind of dumbbell weight you should be using for any exercise because your muscles will be ready to do so.

Maintain Good Form and Technique

It can be easy to focus on how much weight you are lifting, but form and technique are the first parts of your workout you’ll want to nail down. It’s always best to perfect your form while using a smaller weight or none at all. Use the mirror in your home gym to watch and get used to the movement you should be striving for. Once you feel comfortable with the right form and technique for a lift, then it’s time to consider the most effective dumbbell weight.

Feel Them Out

When you start to use dumbbells, a great first step is to simply feel them out. The main thing to take away is whether you feel the weight in your hands or not. You may think that 50-pound dumbbells might be easy until you put yourself in the position of a workout. A great time to feel out a dumbbell weight is when you first grab it off the rack. Was it easy to lift, or did it require a bit of work? Another part of feeling them out is testing your grip. If you can barely hold onto the dumbbell when you grip it, you might want to go to a lower weight that you’ll have more control over. These are all effective steps in determining the best weight for you.

Is It Challenging Enough?

While form is a key element of a good lift, you also don’t want it to be too easy, either. No exercise should be easy, and if you find that it is, then you’ll want to increase your weight. Typically, dumbbell weights vary with a 5-pound difference between them, so if you do increase your weight, do it safely by going up in small, 5-pound increments. The best indicator to tell if a dumbbell weight is challenging is if you struggle to get the weight up on the last two reps you are doing in a set. If you need to push through at the end, that’s the best way to tell that your dumbbell workout is effective.

Based on the Workout

The amount you should lift with dumbbells also largely depends on the workout you are doing at the time. For example, a workout with more reps will typically ask you to use a lower weight, while one with fewer reps will ask for a heavier weight. In more specific terms, dumbbell workouts that call for a lower weight include:

  • Triceps extensions
  • Pushup position curls
  • Split squat shoulder raises
  • Leg raises
  • Jack knifes
  • Shoulder presses

Meanwhile, these are some of the lifts that you will want to use heavier dumbbells on:

  • Squats
  • Bench presses
  • Deadlifts

Keep the challenging aspect in mind, and adjust based on the workout. If there are a lot of reps, then a lower weight will eventually be just as challenging at the end of the lift.

Consider Your Current Health or Physical Shape

Another tip on how to choose the right dumbbell weight is to think about your current health or physical shape. If you are coming off an injury, feel sore, or haven’t worked out in a while, it’s probably best to choose a lighter weight because lifting at your normal weight could result in further injury. An even better option would be to give your muscles a break or work out another muscle group so that it can properly recover.

The Goals You Want To Accomplish

What you want to accomplish in the gym also plays a role in the dumbbell weight you’ll want to use. If you are trying to tone your muscles, then you might want to go with a lighter weight and strive for more reps. If you are trying to bulk up, then you will want to go with a heavier dumbbell weight and fewer reps.

Use Quality Dumbbells

A dumbbell should be a part of any complete home gym, and it’s vital that you find a high-quality set. You can find that high quality at Precor Home Fitness, where home gym builders can find Rubber Hex dumbbell sets ranging from 5 to 120 pounds, along with both vertical and horizontal dumbbell storage racks. You can get away with using various items around your house, but you’ll be much better off if you use a true, high-quality set of dumbbells.

Regardless of the fitness goals you are trying to reach, incorporating dumbbells into your routine is a must. However, the way you use the dumbbells will play a large role in what you get out of them—and choosing the right weight has a lot to do with it. So keep these tips in mind when you are crafting your workout structure, and most importantly, put in the work to see the results the smart way.

How To Choose the Right Dumbbell Weight

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