Tone Your Body With The 16 Best Dumbbell Workouts For Women

Sculpt your muscles and strengthen the body to get that coveted chiseled look.

Reviewed by Alex Crockford, Fitness Coach
Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Payal Karnik, MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Who said dumbbells are only for biceps? When used right, they may help build muscle mass and strengthen the body! Dumbbell workouts are suitable for beginners as well as pro lifters. Mixing up cardio with full-body dumbbell exercises may help you shed fat and build lean muscle, making your body look aesthetically pleasing as well as revving up your fitness. In addition, dumbbell exercises help in muscle activation (1). Nilofer Pendhari, a sports nutritionist and certified clinical nutritionist, says, “Exercising with dumbbells is a good way to build lean mass and lose body fat. Dumbbell workouts increase your metabolism and keep it high even after a few hours of workout.”

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can customize the intensity, range of motion, freedom of movement, and safety levels of your workouts with dumbbells. This makes dumbbells a great option for beginner as well as advanced level workout routines.

So, pick up those dumbbells and get to work on full-body toning and strengthening at home or at the gym.

According to a study conducted on 116,221 participants individuals who exercised two to four times beyond the recommended amount had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Participants saw a 26% to 31% decrease in all-cause mortality, as well as a 28% to 38% decrease in cardiovascular mortality, and a 25% to 27% decrease in non-cardiovascular mortality. Those who exercised two to four times more than the vigorous physical activity recommendations also experienced lower mortality rates.

Check out these 16 dumbbell exercises for women. Scroll down!

16 Full-Body Dumbbells Exercises For Women

1. Front Raise

  1. Hold a 2-pound dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, soft knees, palms facing in, and hands touching the front of your thighs. Roll your shoulders back and engage your core.This is the starting position.
  3. Now, raise both your hands in front of you till shoulder level.
  4. Bring them back to the starting position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps each.

2. Lateral Raise

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, soft knees, palms facing in, and hands by your side. Roll your shoulders back and engage your core. This is the starting position.
  2. Now, raise both your hands laterally up till the shoulder level.
  3. Bring them back to the starting position.
  4. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps each.

3. Tricep Extension

Tricep-Extension
Image: YouTube @MadFit
  1. Kneel down and hold a 5 or 10-pound dumbbell with both hands such that your palms are resting under the head of one side of the dumbbell, as shown in the picture. Place your hands over your head, arms extended, and the dumbbell right behind your head.
  2. Inhale, bend your elbows, and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  3. Stop when your elbows are fully bent.
  4. Exhale and slowly bring up the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps each.

4. Bicep Curl To Press

Bicep Curl To Press
Image: YouTube @ChloeTing
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands extended, palms facing out, and hands resting against your thighs. This is the starting position.
  3. Inhale and curl your forearm up while keeping your elbows close to the body.
  4. Now, rotate your wrists outward and extend your arms up. Exhale.
  5. Bend your elbows, bring your arms down, rotate your wrists inward, and extend your arms down back to the starting position.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

5. Hammer Curl Press

Hammer Curl Press
Image: YouTube @ChloeTing
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your hands by your side, feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders rolled back, and core engaged. This is the starting position.
  2. Curl your hands up and lift them over your head by extending your arms.
  3. Pause for a moment and bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells close to your shoulders.
  4. Now, extend your arms down to get back to the starting position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

6. Glute Bridge Chest Press

Glute-Bridge-Chest-Press
Image: YouTube @MadFit
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie down on a mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bend your elbows with your upper arms resting on the floor, forearms off the floor and perpendicular to the upper arm, and wrists turned out.
  3. Now, lift your butt off the floor so that your abs and thighs are in the same line. This is the starting position.
  4. Now, press the dumbbells up right above your chest and bring them back down to the starting position.
  5. Exhale when you press up and inhale when you bring the arms down.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

7. Bent Over Flys

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet close together.
  2. Hinge from the waist and bend your upper body forward.
  3. Let your hands remain extended, as shown in the picture. Look down. This is the starting position.
  4. Now, lift your arms laterally up to the side. Exhale.
  5. Inhale and bring them back to the starting position.
  6. Remember to keep your core engaged to prevent hurting your lower back.
  7. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps each.

Note: Avoid this exercise if you already have lower back pain.

8. Renegade Row

Renegade-Row
Image: YouTube @Chloe Ting
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Place the dumbbells on the floor and get into a plank position with your core tight and your spine and hips in the same line. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position and look down. This is the starting position.
  3. Now, lift your right hand with the dumbbell off the floor and push your elbows back to emulate the rowing action.
  4. Place the dumbbell back on the floor.
  5. Now, do the same with your hand to complete one rep.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

9. Full Body Crunch

Full-Body-Crunch
Image: YouTube @Nicole Pearce Movement
  1. Hold a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Lie down on a mat and extend your arms behind your head, as shown in the picture.
  3. Lift your legs off the floor and then your head, hands, and shoulders. Keep your core engaged. This is the starting position.
  4. Now, crunch up and simultaneously fold your knees and bring them close to your chest.
  5. Inhale and go back down to the starting position.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

10. Ab In And Out

Ab-In-And-Out
Image: YouTube @Chloe Ting
  1. Hold a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Sit on a mat with your legs extended in front of you.
  3. Now, lean back a little and lift your legs off the floor.
  4. Extend your hands in front of you at your eye level. Keep your core engaged. This is the starting position.
  5. Now, bring your legs close to your chest by bending your knees.
  6. Simultaneously, bring the dumbbell close to your chest by bending your elbows.
  7. Extend your arms and legs in front of you and get back to the starting position.
  8. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

11. Dumbbell Russian Twist

Dumbbell-Russian-Twist
Image: YouTube @Chloe Ting
  1. Hold a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Sit on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  3. Now, lean back a little and lift your feet off the floor. This is the starting position.
  4. Keeping your knees bent, lift your feet off the floor.
  5. Now, twist your upper body to the right and left. Keep your gaze at the dumbbell.
  6. Do 3 sets of 15 reps each.

12. Weighted Side Plank

Weighted-Side-Plank
Image: YouTube @Chloe Ting
  1. Hold a dumbbell with your left hand.
  2. Get into a half sideways lying position on your left side.
  3. Place your left elbow on the floor with your forearm to the front and right leg right above the left.
  4. Lift your butt off the floor.
  5. Now, extend your right arm up.
  6. Keep your hip, spine, and neck in the same line.
  7. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
  8. Do the same on the other side.
  9. Do 2 reps on each side.

13. Dumbbell Sumo Squat

Dumbbell-Sumo-Squat
Image: YouTube @MadFit
  1. Hold a dumbbell with both hands and your arms extended down.
  2. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing out and your core and glutes engaged. This is the starting position.
  3. Push your butt out, bend your knees, and get into a sitting position. Make sure your knees are pointing out, and don’t overshoot the toes.
  4. Come back up.
  5. Do 3 sets of 12 reps each.

14. Split Squats

Split-Squats
Image: YouTube @MadFit
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Stand in front of a bench with your back toward it.
  3. Place your right foot on the bench, as shown in the picture. This is the starting position.
  4. Engage your core, bend your knees, and lower your body down.
  5. Come back to the starting position.
  6. Do this 10 times before switching legs.
  7. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

15. Dumbbell Reverse Lunges

Dumbbell-Reverse-Lunges
Image: YouTube @MadFit
  1. Hold a dumbbell with your right hand.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your core engaged. This is the starting position.
  3. Now, place your right leg a step back.
  4. Bend both your knees and lower your body until your thighs are perpendicular to your lower leg.
  5. Come back to the starting position.
  6. Transfer the dumbbell to the left hand and place your left leg back.
  7. Lower your body into a lunge position.
  8. Come back to the starting position. This completes one rep.
  9. Do 3 sets of 8 reps each.

16. Bulgarian Split Squat Dumbbell

Bulgarian split squat dumbbell
Image: Shutterstock
  1. Stand facing away from a sturdy platform.
  2. Place one foot on the platform behind you and take a step.
  3. Keep your chest up and back straight.
  4. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your arms by your sides.
  5. Lower your body by bending the front knee, as if lunging, while keeping another foot on the platform for support.
  6. Continue to lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground or as far as your flexibility and strength allow. Ensure your front knee stays in line with your ankle.
  7. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.
  8. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on one leg before switching to the other.

These are the 16 dumbbell workouts women can do at home to tone and strengthen your full body. Before closing, take a look at the precautions you need to take.

Precautions

  • Always do a 10-minute warm-up before starting a dumbbell weight lifting workout.
  • Do cardio and dumbbell exercises every alternate day.
  • Target legs, arms, and core on different days.
  • Use weights that help you complete the reps and sets and allow you to practice good posture.
  • Increase the weights gradually.
  • In case of any sharp pain, stop the exercise immediately.
  • If your hands get sweaty, wear gym gloves to prevent the dumbbells from slipping.
  • Always keep your core and glutes engaged.
  • Avoid deep squats or lunges if you have a knee injury.
  • Do 10-minute cool-down stretches after the workout.
  • Get adequate rest to help your muscles recover and rejuvenate.
  • Consume at least 1 gram of protein powder per kilo of body weight.

Lena, a fitness enthusiast, shares how she enhanced her glutes with a personal workout routine that involved dumbbells. She tried exercises such as dumbbell Romanian deadlifts, elevated dumbbell sumo squats, glute bridges, etc. Regarding the intensity of this workout, she said, “I’m sorry I couldn’t talk through that workout. I was just too busy focusing on not passing out (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Always follow the safety precautions and instructions given by the trainer when graduating to heavier dumbbells. Also, be careful around dumbbell racks, which are known to be accident zones in most gyms.

Infographic: 4 Easy Dumbbell Workouts For Women

Dumbbell workouts are suitable for both beginners and pro-lifters. However, it would not be easy when you start as a beginner. Check out the infographic below to learn about four easy dumbbell workouts for women.

4 easy dumbbell workouts for women (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

The Bottom Line

Strengthening and toning your body is as important as shedding fat. Adding dumbbell workouts to your exercise routine might make your muscles active, keep them toned, and help with lean muscle building. These toning and strengthening dumbbell exercises may help you to get the desired results with the right assistance. They may improve your overall health and promote wellness when combined with proper eating habits, hydration, and self-care. However, consult your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program in case you have any medical history or injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best dumbbell weight for beginners?

Pendhari says, “Ideally 5-10 lb is the best weight for beginners. You can increase the weight gradually as you build strength. Try 3-5 lb for the upper body and 5-10 lb for the lower body to start strength training.”

What weight dumbbells should a woman use?

Women can use anywhere between 0.5 – 5 kg weighted dumbbells based on their fitness level and prior strength training or resistance training experience.

Will dumbbells reduce arm fat?

Yes, dumbbell workouts can help you lose excess fat from all over your body, including your arms. However, it may not help for targeted results and losing only arm fat.

Key Takeaways

  • A dumbbell workout is one of the most effective ways of getting toned muscles for women.
  • It may be done anywhere with a pair of dumbbells to build and tone muscles around the legs, chest, back, arms, and core.
  • The exercises may be modified to target a specific region for desired results.
  • Starting with lighter weights and moving gradually to heavier ones may yield good results with proper form and consistency.


Learn how to use dumbbells to tone and strengthen your body effectively. Watch this video on full-body beginner dumbbell workouts to get started on your fitness journey.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Muscle Activity and Perceived Loading during Graded Rehabilitation Exercises with Dumbbells and Elastic Resistance.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280735169_Muscle_Activity_and_Perceived_Loading_during_Graded_Rehabilitation_Exercises_with_Dumbbells_and_Elastic_Resistance
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