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Dumbbells for Home Use: How These Weights Can Change Everything
There are several reasons to buy dumbbells for home use.
Actually, even if you don’t buy them, you should still have some dumbbells for home use.
That means getting some for free, asking for them as a gift, or trading for dumbbells.
You don’t need to spend a lot or get anything fancy — dumbbells for home use really only need to follow a few requirements.
If you can get some dumbbells for home use that check all of those boxes, you’re already off to a good start!
One thing I would recommend with your dumbbells for home use is a set of high-quality wrist wraps.
Depending on the dumbbells you get, you may end up lifting very heavy, so wrist wraps will be beneficial.
Now, let’s dive into the good stuff and discuss further why you’d want dumbbells for home use in the first place.
Why Dumbbells are Important
The ability to perform your exercises unilaterally is one of your biggest benefits.
Dumbbells are prized as one of the best for this, as they limit the chance of muscle imbalance.
Also, with two dumbbells in hand, you can alternate reps for certain exercises.
For example, with bicep curls, you can curl left then right and then both at the same time.
What this allows for is more rest between each of your arms, but also less possibility of using momentum.
So, remember, unilateral movements prevent imbalances and cheat reps.
The dumbbells themselves are a versatile weight to use.
They are fairly compact, manageable, and almost useable for every exercise.
You can figure out several ways to use a dumbbell, which is why a lot of people love them.
Also, you can incorporate other accessories with your dumbbells, like fat grips or resistance bands.
When you make additions like this, you can completely change how the dumbbell functions.
With endless exercises and ways to optimize workouts through the unilateral effect, dumbbells are very versatile.
Easy to Handle and Learn
In my opinion, when it comes to weights, dumbbells have to be one of the easiest to learn to use.
They literally are made to fit your hands, with their handle easy to grip and hold.
One of the reasons they are such a well-loved weight is because of this ease of use.
A lot of beginning weightlifters will stick to machines with directions or are drawn to what feels easy and comfortable.
Dumbbells are a much easier platform to jump into rather than messing around with a barbell and free weights, squat racks, hex bars, etc.
When it comes to dumbbells, what you see is what you get — you decide how you want to use them.
The Benefit of Dumbbells for Home Use
There’s no question that dumbbells for home use are quite literally the most convenient form of weights to use and purchase.
Several reasons are factored in to make these the most convenient for your home, which we will discuss further below.
But, really, when you think about it, isn’t convenience the most important thing for your home?
Whether you have space for a home gym, no room at all, or you live in a one-room apartment.
That’s why the convenience and features of dumbbells are super important and make dumbbells worth owning.
So, since dumbbells are compact, they are also highly portable.
When you have a barbell setup at home, you usually need to lug around the barbell (roughly 30-45 lbs depending on the style) and also the weight plates.
This makes the barbell and other weight styles much less portable than a pair of dumbbells (or even an entire dumbbell set).
If portability is really important for you (especially due to your home limitations) then dumbbells are truly the way to go!
When it comes to weights, unless you can find a really good deal or someone trying to liquidate, then weights are roughly $1 per pound.
But, since dumbbells are an all-encompassing weight platform, you only need to really buy the dumbbell.
Sure, if you want more varieties then you need to buy the progression of dumbbells (or adjustable ones), but that still is overall worth it.
Like I said about the barbell, it takes up a lot of space, and you’ll need more and more weight plates to achieve a full range of available pounds to lift.
For the most part, dumbbells for home use are the cheapest way to go.
Plus, considering all the other benefits we are discussing, they are somewhat the best bang for your buck!
Check out this comprehensive list by Tubby Gorilla that’ll give you an idea of pros/cons, prices, and what is best on the market for dumbbells at home!
Lastly, one more important reason to have dumbbells for home use is their ability to save space in the house.
Storing a barbell and weight plates is much more of a hassle and space-wasting compared to dumbbells.
Whether you are someone with a small home or a large mansion, saving space is never something to pass up on.
Furthermore, a set of adjustable dumbbells will be even more of a space saver…
Truthfully, dumbbells are the best form of weight if you are someone who hates clutter and loves working out.
Also, you can always purchase a dumbbell rack (most are very space-efficient) that dedicates a spot in your home to store all your dumbbells.
Types of Dumbbells for Home Use
Standard Metal Dumbbells
These are the classic iron dumbbells that you think of and remember.
If you are on a budget, usually you can find this style of dumbbell cheap on Craigslist or at discount stores, Goodwill, etc.
They get the job done and have been proven to work.
Pros: Long lasting, durable, true to weight
Cons: Usually are coated with something, rusts, metal can flake off and get in your eyes, skin or all around your home.
Standard Rubber Dumbbells
These are by far my favorite style of dumbbells.
Rubber dumbbells just feel better in the hand, cleaner, safer (from chipping and cracking), and look better.
You will love using rubber dumbbells because they fix all of the problems that arose from your standard iron and steel dumbbells.
Pros: Long lasting, durable, quiet, clean, safe to drop
Cons: Occasionally can be off weight
Adjustable dumbbells are a great option for a lot of people.
These are definitely the way to go if you really have no space available.
Many companies create unique adjustable dumbbells that all work fairly well.
Some use a “clip-in selector” weight system where you put it in a housing and select your weight and then pull it out.
Others use an adjustable knob or a pin style system.
Though these are more convenient, some are very expensive and though you are saving space by having “one pair” of dumbbells, the designs for these are usually much larger and bulkier.
This is something to keep in mind for the actual lifting of the dumbbells for exercise.
Pros: Space-saving, convenient, large weight-range, simple, time-saving
Cons: Doesn’t always work, more expensive up front, bulky designs, sometimes unsafe
Dumbbell Exercises at Home
Everyone’s favorite bicep exercise.
Super easy to do at home and will be most peoples’ favorite movement.
It’s easy to grab a pair of dumbbells and knock out a bunch of curls.
If anything, dumbbells for home use will be geared towards doing curls in one position.
You take up zero space and don’t need to be moving around a bunch.
In my opinion, these are your bread and butter with dumbbells, at least for arm workouts!
Related: Benefits of Bicep Curls
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Similar to the effect of dumbbell curls for arms, dumbbell press for shoulders is awesome.
I highly suggest doing these if you have space.
In your home, it’ll most likely need to be done standing.
Otherwise, you can sit on a weight bench (or any random chair in your home).
And, as with all dumbbell movements, you will be working your shoulders unilaterally, so that’s an A+ exercise right there.
These may be a less popular dumbbell movement, but they are great for doing at home.
If you don’t have enough space at home for a barbell setup or a trap bar, you can do your deadlifts with dumbbells.
It doesn’t get more straight-forward than that!
But, I would recommend adjustable dumbbells or at least a heavy set of dumbbells for this so you can really target your back and hamstrings with your deadlifts.
With dumbbell shrugs, I also suggest having a heavy amount of weight in your dumbbells.
These are so simple to do and take up zero room.
Stand there, grasp the dumbbells in each hand and shrug your shoulders upwards.
Make sure to squeeze at the top of the movement to really feel it in your traps.
One thing to remember, though, with some adjustable dumbbells that may drop their weight, you’ll want to be wary of your feet.
There have been horror stories of adjustable weights coming apart and crushing peoples toes in the process.
Dumbbell Front & Side Raises
Another great way to hit the different heads of your delts.
As long as you have an arms-length of space to the front and your sides, you’re good to go!
Dumbbells are the optimal choice for this exercise and will give you the best isolation.
Using a barbell works well for front raises, too, but is hindered by the bilateral action.
So, if you want to do delt raises at home, choose some dumbbells.
Dumbbell Weighted Pull-Ups
This exercise is possible at home assuming you have a pull-up station or doorway bar.
If you do, then you can put a dumbbell between your feet to easily add some weight resistance.
This is a nice way to change up the use of the dumbbells and reap the all-around benefits.
Another great way to amplify your pull-ups is by wearing a Dark Iron Fitness dip belt, which is also space-saving and convenient.
Probably an exercise that is easier to do and control with a barbell, but still great to do with dumbbells.
With the dumbbells in both hands, bend over and do your rows.
Or, lean over and do your rows one arm at a time.
A classic exercise that can really target your upper back and shoulders.
Rows are great in general, but dumbbell rows are phenomenal!
Other Weight Options for Home Use
In my opinion, kettlebells are the ultimate alternative to dumbbells for home use.
They are essentially the same style, size, and have similar convenience.
However, kettlebells will allow you to do many more explosive movements.
Plus, the use of the handle on a kettlebell will make your workouts feel safer and more secure.
In reality, you can do plenty of beneficial exercises with one kettlebell, but if you want the vastness of choice, you’ll want more kettlebells.
Some companies have made “adjustable” kettlebells that you can fill with water or sand to change their weight.
In theory, this is awesome and a space-saving technique, but the actual feeling of using this style of weight may be awkward.
Keep all of this in mind if you are looking for a proper dumbbell alternative for your home use.
Related: What are Kettlebells so Effective?
These will be your most convenient alternative to dumbbells as far as space-saving.
An entire weight range of resistance bands can fit inside of a small drawstring backpack.
The exercises may be somewhat limited, but resistance bands will also give you the benefit of deep stretching.
Depending on how you work out and your goals, you may prefer the use of resistance bands.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have resistance bands in addition to either your dumbbells or any other weight choice you go with for home use.
Barbells are long but skinny.
Fairly easy to store for home use and are probably the king of all weights.
There are so many barbell exercises, that you won’t ever be left with nothing to do.
However, remember, if you choose to use the barbell platform, you’ll need to buy weight plates as well.
Whether you have an Olympic barbell or standard barbell, this will also determine the size of your weight set and how heavy you can lift.
Also, factor in the time spent adding/removing weight plates and storing the barbell and plates somewhere when not in use.
Another smart thing to pick up with your barbell will be some lifting straps, particularly for deadlifts and barbell rows.
As I said for the barbell, you need free weights to go along with it.
These weight plates are awesome and can actually be used on their own.
There are several weight plate exercises that can be done, and you can then store the weight plates stacked in a tower or on a plate tree.
However, the overall variety of exercises is limited.
Furthermore, many people will not prefer working out using weight plates.
Some of the movements will be tough and uncomfortable due to the ways you need to hold or grip the plates.
It’ll be easier if the plate has cut-outs for handholds, but regardless, it can still be a hassle.
Trap Bar (Hex Bar)
Another great thing to have in your home is a trap bar.
However, if you are limited on space, I wouldn’t recommend one (unless it is the only thing you get).
Using a hex bar can give you tons of available exercises and a lot of compound movements will be accessible.
Hex bars won’t take up much space in width, but they are quite long and need to be stored standing up in a closet or against a wall.
If you have a squat rack, you can usually hang up your hex bar on the safety catches.
The benefits of a hex bar are endless, but what you gain in fitness benefits you lose in space-saving features.
Related: What Can I Use Instead of Dumbbells?
Final Thoughts: Dumbbells for Home Use
Your Most Versatile and Convenient Option
As I’ve been saying this entire time — you’ll want dumbbells for home use because of their versatility and convenience.
You won’t find another option out there that is better if you prefer these great benefits.
Sure, items like resistance bands are way more convenient, but less versatile in the weightlifting aspect.
Dumbbells will be what you need to feel and see progress!
Dumbbells for Strength, Muscle & Maintenance
Having dumbbells for home use will tackle all of the goals you have in mind.
When it comes to fitness, there are usually three things people focus on.
1) Strength – using your dumbbells to build strength is really smart.
If you have a set of heavy dumbbells, or dumbbells that adjust to a high weight, then you can do heavy lifts at lower reps and keep building your strength.
2) Muscle – well, muscle is something that everyone wants to build and make aesthetically-pleasing.
Dumbbells will help you build basically every muscle that you want to look good.
Your chest, arms, shoulders, back — even abs and legs, depending on how you use them, will all benefit with dumbbells for muscle growth.
3) Maintenance – the last thing people utilize fitness for is to maintain where they currently are.
Maybe these people aren’t concerned with looking swole or yolked!
That’s fine… but they clearly do not want to let themselves go and gain an excess of weight.
Doing cardio for maintenance is fine, but utilizing weights is even better.
So, of course, you would want to rely on the convenient dumbbell as your go-to home-use weight.