Not everyone likes going to the gym or has the possibility to do so. That does NOT mean that you have to forsake ever putting on muscle. Training in your garage or bedroom with elementary equipment can be excellent for gaining muscle mass because barbells allow for a natural movement and activate more stabilization muscles.
At the moment we are coming a little bit out of the whole techno-gym era and some bodybuilders nowadays go as far as to say that the machines are basically only good for sitting down to tie your shoes laces!
The truth is that machines can sometimes come in handy but spending a lot of money on a subscription won’t automatically put muscles on your arms and chest. It guarantees nothing and sometimes the very effort of getting yourself to the gym and back can be a deterrent. By the same token, if you are really determined to shape up, all you need is a good set of adjustable dumbbells and some guidance. Have a look at our bodybuilding programs section for the world’s leading muscle building and nutrition programs “in a box”!
Here is a starter list of dumbbell exercises to add to your routine:
Bench Press: Instead of the barbell hold 2 dumbbells, go all the way down to maximize stretch at the bottom and then rotate your hands as you come back up to better squeeze the chest muscles. The bench press on its own is one of the most remarkable exercises to get you a head-turning chest. You can do flat bench press, incline and decline. It is not hard or expensive to set yourself up with a simple adjustable bench, even a sturdy ironing board will do!
Bicep Curls: Rotate your wrist at the top to contract your biceps even more. Don’t go overboard with bicep curls as single muscle workout is not a priority. You can do both arms at the same time. Try also inclined curls but lighten the weight as it is more stressful than the basic dumbbell curl.
Overhead triceps extensions, dumbbell kickback, incline extensions. No need to do much more than that as they also get stimulation during bench press and other exercises.
Shoulder press: Straighten arms above your head and bring hands together. Also try the upright row and lateral raise.
Bent Over Rows: Pull the weights up further for maximum squeeze or alternate one arm rows so you can be completely focused on each side of the back. For the back you can also go with deadlift or shrug.
Crunches: Hold dumbbell behind your head.
Sit Ups: Holding dumbbells against your chest
You must know however, that sit-ups and crunches are a little bit controversial. Will sit-ups and crunches really get you six-pack abs? If you think about it you don’t really need those muscles to be BIG, you just don’t want there to be a fat deposit hiding them from view! So the best way to go would be to work on your abs by toning up via low intensity high reps and get your overall body fat way down through cardio and proper nutrition, that way you will have them showing in no time!
Lunges: Whilst holding the dumbbells at your sides. Calf Raises: Holding dumbbells whilst doing so and even doing one leg at a time for maximum intensity Straight leg Deadlift exercise: ensure that you keep both knees and arms straight so the hamstrings support all the weight.
With dumbbells the overall effect will be as good as, if not better than, barbells and machines. The only down side is that you will need to keep adjusting weight and so as I suggested earlier you might definitely want to invest in a good set of adjustable dumbbells. The best ones have a “click and go” system that saves time between reps.