The way dumbbells sneakily work your muscles more than you realize

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes doing bodyweight exercises like squats or lunges, I feel like I could go on forever. This is actually not true, as anyone who has felt the burn for any length of time can attest. But I find that if I add a little more weight to these movements, such as when doing a full-body weight workout at home, my ability to continue decreases. Therefore much faster. How could one dumbbell change the game so much?

Because adding an external load to any weight volume challenges your entire body in a way that just holding your own weight does not.

How dumbbells strengthen your entire body

Progressive weight training or gradually increasing the weight is a tried and true method for building muscle on any body part you target. You can use machines, barbells, kettlebells, or other tools for this purpose, but dumbbells are a great choice if you want a multi-faceted workout.

When we think of dumbbells, we might immediately picture bicep curls, but these classic dumbbells are a tool that can do so much more. Using free weights allows you to work a variety of muscle groups, Vince Sant, master trainer and co-founder of fitness platform V Shred, previously told Well+Good about when to use weight machines. compared to free weights. Dumbbells can challenge your entire body, even beyond the muscle group you’re trying to train, by strengthening the stabilizer muscles, Sant says. This also makes your body healthier overall, even if you don’t realize it.

So adding weights to a bodyweight movement that you think might work, such as the quads and glutes (like a squat) really challenges the small muscles that support those muscles. joints (including the spine) throughout your body. That’s because weights run the risk of unbalancing your typical center of gravity, and your body must remain stable while performing targeted muscle movements.

Finally, dumbbells allow you to combine compound movements, such as squats with presses, turning a single exercise into a total-body workout.

Trainer Andrea Somer previously told Well+Good that there are many benefits to doing compound movements, such as working multiple muscles at once. Compound movements improve how all the muscles in the body work together to create and control force and stability. They also involve more muscle tissue and require more oxygen.

Mistakes people often make when using weights at home

The freedom that training with free weights provides is both a blessing and a curse, because more mistakes can be made. The biggest pitfall is not using good form.

Sant says one thing to watch out for when doing free weights is the higher risk of injury because you have to control your own form. The machine usually provides support through a bench or backrest. Since free weights require you to maintain your own balance (back to those stabilizing muscles), not engaging your body or rocking your back to transfer the load are common mistakes.

You also want to make sure you’re choosing the right weight. If the weight is too heavy, you will tire before the end of the set and you will probably compensate for the struggle by sacrificing your form. The standard for proper weight is that the last few reps of your set should be difficult but not so much that you have to sacrifice form. Here’s what to keep in mind if you think you need to gain weight, personal trainer Bianca Vesco told Well+Good:

  1. You can get through all your reps quite easily.
  2. You’ve been using the same weights for months.
  3. You should have no problem zoning in your rounds.
  4. You are never sore or tired.

Try our at-home full-body weightlifting workout

Another big benefit of dumbbells is that you can use them to workout in your own personal space. The key to making a dumbbell sweat workout a full-body workout is to make it balanced, meaning you work multiple major muscle groups and incorporate different types of movements, such as pull-ups or pull-ups, press or push.

Want to give it a try? This workout from trainer Sara DeBerry for the Well+Goods Trainer of the Month Club delivers a conditioning session for your lower body, upper body, and core in just 20 minutes. A dynamic warm-up helps you practice the movements you will perform with the weights during your sets, which allows you to activate your muscles to get the most out of the exercise. The content of the video is two working blocks, each with two sets of three moves. First comes the forward squat, curl into the Arnold press, and finally comes the bodyweight, crawl. The second workout consists of deadlifts with alternating reverse lunges, plank rows with pushups, then core/cardio work with a broad jump, returning to mountain climber position.

If you’re ready to challenge your entire body with the help of some weightlifting friends, be sure to choose a weight that allows you to hold 45 seconds while maintaining good form, and stick to it. chase it.

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