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What are Dumbbells?

A dumbbell is a type of weight training equipment that consists of a short bar with a weight on each end. They are a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for a variety of exercises to increase resistance and challenge the muscles.

Dumbbells come in various sizes and weights, usually in pairs, ranging from a few pounds to over 100 pounds each (or the metric kilogram equivalent), and can be used for a variety of exercises.

To use a dumbbell, begin by selecting the appropriate weight and holding one dumbbell in each hand. Depending on the exercise, you may need to grip the dumbbell in different ways, such as with a neutral grip, a pronated grip, or a supinated grip. The dumbbell can also be used to peperform unilateral exercies, which gives the weight lifter more versatility to isolate particular muscle groups and body side or to correct imbalances.

dumbbell rackdumbbell rack

The primary exercises done using dumbbells include:

  1. Bicep curls - Dumbbells are held in each hand and lifted toward the shoulders, targeting the bicep muscles in the arms.

  2. Shoulder presses - Dumbbells are held at shoulder height and lifted overhead, targeting the shoulder muscles.

  3. Chest presses - Dumbbells are held at chest level and lifted overhead, targeting the chest muscles.

  4. Flyes - Dumbbells are held at chest level and lifted out to the sides, targeting the chest muscles.

  5. Rows - Dumbbells are held in each hand and pulled toward the chest or the waist, targeting the back muscles.


The word dumbell has an interesting history. The term originated in Tudor England. The action of ringing bells were known to increase muscle size, so rich young men began installing similar devices in their homes, though without the bells. Over time, these silent bells became known as 'dumb-bells'

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Fitness is the key to success in sport. Following basic principles, you can develop fitness components such as strength, speed and endurance. See our colection of exercises and fitness equipment. Ensure you warm-up and stretch before any workout.

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