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Are Dumbbells Enough to Perform Full Body Workouts?

    full body workout at home using dumbbells

    Well, my favorite home gym equipment is the adjustable dumbbells. They are very versatile, I can do a wide range of exercises plus they do not require much space. But does a dumbbell only workout plan work?

    Benefits of using dumbbells

    1. Better coordination between muscles

    But the real reason I love dumbbell exercises is that they require more control than a barbell, mainly if I do single arm exercises. This way many other stabilizer muscles are activated leading to a more “natural” workout plus a more complex movement.

    Therefore, exercises with hand weights are also useful to prevent or cure muscle or body imbalances. For example, if you left arm is weaker than your right for some reason, and you perform barbell curls, your right arm will overcompensate your weaker arm. But, that leads to imbalance.

    To sum up, these moves develop your intermuscular coordination which means that several muscle groups should work together to stabilize and generate the movement.

    Get a full dumbbell set

    2. Full Range of Motion

    Another reason why I like hand weights is that I can do many exercises with full range of motion (ROM). A good example is the chest fly, I can go deep to stretch my pecs, but I also have “space” to squeeze them at the top.

    A lengthier range of motion leads to more effective strength and muscle mass development. Plus, it makes the joints and fibers more flexible, so it may help to prevent injuries.

    3. Endless ways use

    I think dumbbells are the most versatile pieces of home gym equipment. For every muscle group, you can find many exercises. I even use them to have advanced, weighted cardio exercises like burpees with hand weights which boost the endurance.

    This way, you can have a dumbbell only full body workout! But, of course, there are cons.

    workout with just dumbbells


    The cons

    1. You cannot lift heavy weights

    Since the movements require more control, and with that, the stabilizer muscles are activated, you cannot lift heavy. And, if you cannot lift heavy weights, it is much harder to grow big. To get big muscles, you need to use heavy weights, and that is only possible with the help of a bar. For example, it is impossible to bench press or squat with the same amount of load.

    However, not everyone wants to be huge. If you are among them, a pair of 50 lb adjustable dumbbells will give you enough resistance for a long time to develop. But, you can also get adjustable hand weights up to 100 lb per piece if you want a big load.

    2. You cannot perform power booster exercises

    The three best compound exercises are deadlift, bench press, and squat. These complex moves with bar allow us to lift heavy working the lower or the upper body entirely. You can substitute the barbell with dumbbells, but it is not the same.

    If you squat you need to grip the weight instead of placing it on your back. If you bench press controlling the motion is much harder, so you will not be able to lift as heavy. And, in the case of dumbbell deadlift, it is impossible to coordinate the muscles to lift such load as if you were using a bar.

    Again if you do not want to put on huge muscles, hand weights will do.

    To sum up it is enough to have just a pair of dumbbells to have a full body workout at home, it has its cons, but still possible to build a strong and developed body.


    Dumbbells exercises

    It is not necessary, but recommended to have an adjustable weight bench or a flat bench at home to have even more types of practices and to perform the exercises more effectively and comfortably.

    Now check out the videos and link below to learn the best exercises with dumbbells.

    1. Biceps and Triceps

    Biceps curls and overhead DB tricep extension are the winner for me but include more exercises for complete training.




    2. Chest


    Related: How can you build chest with dumbbells?


    3. Shoulders


    Related: Arnold Dumbbell Press to Build Massive Shoulders


    4. Legs

    The DB lunges are compound movements that work every part of your lower body. It should be in your dumbbell only workout besides the squats.


    5. Abs


    Related: What Are the Best Dumbbell Abs Exercises?


    6. Back

    The single arm DB row is the best drill, you do not even need a bench since you can do it on a chair.


    From each of the video above you can learn great moves, but now let’s see an example full body dumbbell workout routine.



    I hope you find the answer to your question, and you agree with me if I say that you can have a total body workout with dumbbells at home. Of course, it will not be the same as if you were going to the gym, but with dedication, your strength training workout will bring you results for sure.

    If you have any questions or something you would like to share about full body dumbbell workout at home with us, just use the comment section below.

    Last update on 2024-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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