Wellness Warrior

The Best Beginner Dumbbell Exercises For A Full Body Workout.

If you’ve decided to take on the world of fitness, but have no idea where to start, this article was made for you! Starting with dumbbells is a great way to kick off your fitness journey. Beginner dumbbell exercises are versatile, accessible, and effective for building strength and toning muscles. These are some of the best dumbbell exercises you can do for a full body workout to make sure you have a well-rounded workout.

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The benefits of a full body workout with dumbbells.

I love a good full body workout because I feel I get the most out of my workout with the time I have available. Let’s be honest, when you have little one’s running around, making time for your workout might not be that easy. On those days I feel pressed for time, adding a few of these beginner dumbbell exercises has saved me a lot of time and works like a charm! But don’t take my word for it, here are some proven benefits of a full body workout with dumbbells:

  • Strengthens and tones muscles: Targets multiple muscle groups, leading to balanced muscle development and increased muscle activation.
  • Improved core stability: Engages core muscles during exercises even if they aren’t core-targeted, improving your overall stability and posture.
  • They are versatile and convenient: Allowing for a wide range of exercises, making them ideal for both home and gym workouts.
  • Reduces the risk of muscle imbalance: Unilateral training helps correct muscle imbalances, ensuring equal load distribution and balanced development.
  • Better metabolic rate: Engages multiple muscle groups, leading to higher calorie burn and boosted metabolism for weight management.
  • It’s cost-effective: Dumbbells are affordable and durable, making them a cost-effective investment for long-term fitness.

Beginner dumbbell exercises to add to your full body workout.

Before even thinking about startingyour fitness journey, it’s always a good idea to invest in some good quality equipment like dumbbells. I prefer using adjustable dumbbells to make advancing so much easier, but anything will do! If you don’t have access to dumbbells right away, you can use pretty much anything that is weighted but still balanced. The great thing about these exercises is that you can mix and match them to create a workout routine that best suits your needs.


There’s no better place to start than trusty old squats! I mean, who doesn’t want a perfect peach? If you’ve been doing regular squats and are ready to take them to the next level, this dumbbell exercise is a must-add to your workout routine. This exercise primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also engaging the core for stability. Make sure to maintain proper form to avoid any unnecessary strain on your lower back.

If you have a kettlebell lying around, you can always switch out your dumbbells if you want to hold one heavier weight instead of two. Not only do dumbbell squats help in building lower body strength, but they also improve balance and coordination, making them an essential addition to any beginner’s workout routine.

To do a dumbbell squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell up to your chest with both hands. Lower your body by bending your knees and hips, as if you’re sitting back in a chair, keeping your back straight and chest up. Aim to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor before pushing through your heels to return to the starting position.

Try doing 12 – 15 reps and repeat for 3 sets.


While we’re focusing on lower body beginner dumbbell exercises, I might as well pop this one in here. Nothing gives your legs such a good burn quite like lunges do. Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, giving you a well-rounded workout for your legs while also engaging your core. Dumbbell lunges are also great for improving balance and coordination as a bonus.

To do a dumbbell lunge, stand with your feet together and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at approximately 90-degree angles, ensuring your front knee does not extend past your toes. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position and repeat on the other leg.

Try doing 10 – 12 reps per side and repeat for 3 sets.

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Bicep Curls.

This has to be one of my favorite exercises for toning my arms and it’s so versatile too! Biceps curls target the biceps, the muscles on the front of the upper arms, but they can be slightly altered to target different muscle groups in your arms. Make sure to use dumbbells that are suited to your fitness level rather than using dumbbells that are too heavy and cause an injury. By focusing on controlled movements and maintaining proper form, dumbbell bicep curls can significantly enhance the appearance and strength of your arms, making it one of the best beginner dumbbell exercises you can add to your fitness regimen.

To do a bicep curl, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows close to your torso, curl the weights up towards your shoulders by contracting your biceps, then slowly lower them back to the starting position.

Try doing 12 – 15 reps and repeat for 3 sets.

Bicep curl variations to try.

I love a good variation because it opens up so many different ways to do one exercise, and as a beginner, the less complicated the exercises are, the better! Try a few of these variations next time you think about adding a bicep curl to your full body workout for beginners.

  • Hammer Curl: Hold the dumbbells with palms facing each other, emphasizing the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.
  • Reverse Curl: Hold the dumbbells with palms facing down to target the brachialis and forearm muscles.
  • Zottman Curl: Curl the weights up with palms facing up, then rotate wrists so palms face down during the lowering phase, combining standard curls and reverse curls.
  • Cross-Body Curl: Curl the dumbbell across your body towards the opposite shoulder, emphasizing the biceps brachii and forearms.
  • Resistance Band Curl: Use resistance bands instead of dumbbells for varied resistance and a different muscle engagement.

Bent-Over Rows.

Can someone have too many favorite exercises? I feel like my list might be getting a bit long here, but if not, bent-over rows would be quite high on my list of beginner dumbbell exercises. This compound exercise targets the major muscles of the upper and middle back, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius, while also engaging the biceps and shoulders. This exercise can also be done with a barbell if you have one at home.

To do a bent-over row, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand, and hinge at the hips to lower your torso until it is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and let the dumbbells hang directly below your shoulders. Pull the weights up towards your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement, then slowly lowering them back down.

Try doing 13 – 15 reps and repeat for 3 sets.

Renegade Row.

Anyone who reads enough of my articles will know I’m a huge fan of a plank, and these hit close enough to home to find a spot on this list of beginner dumbbell exercises. This exercise targets the muscles in your back, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius, while also engaging the biceps, shoulders, and core muscles. It’s a great compound exercise for any full body workout and even more so perfect for beginners. If you find the exercise challenging, you can stand on your knees instead of your toes.

To do a renegade row, start in a high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your wrists directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Row one dumbbell up towards your ribcage while stabilizing your body with the opposite arm and engaging your core to prevent your hips from rotating. Lower the dumbbell back down and repeat on the other side.

Try doing 10 – 12 rows per side and repeat for 3 sets.

renegade row

RELATED: The Best Lean Muscles Exercises At Home.


Working out doesn’t have to be complicated and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Adding a few beginner dumbbell exercises to your workout routine will give you a full body workout to remember. Remember to start with a weight that is challenging yet manageable, focus on proper form, and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable. Consistency is key, so stick with it and enjoy the journey towards a stronger, healthier you!

Happy toning,

Your Wellness Warrior!

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