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Health Tips & Advice

Eight New Dumbbell Exercises

By Stephen Salzmann, Director of Fitness, Medcan

Switch up your summertime routine with some new equipment you can use in your backyard, at the cottage or even on the dock.

If you’re looking for equipment to spice up a stale resistance-training routine, nothing beats dumbbells. They’re easy to buy, relatively transportable and incredibly versatile. Dumbbells are a great accessory for strength training—allowing you to squeeze in a session no matter where you are this summer.

How do I choose the right dumbbells for me?

The handheld weights are a great choice to ensure versatility in your workout routine—you’re limited only by your creativity. When it comes to choosing the right weight, opt for the heaviest set that allows you to do 10 to 20 reps of most exercises before you reach exhaustion. You’ll get a great workout today and give yourself room to improve without having to buy another set of weights too soon.

Women: Typically start with 10-pound dumbbells.
Men: Typically start with 20- or 25-pound dumbbells.

If you’re committed to using the weights, you may also want to consider an adjustable dumbbell set. They’re more expensive than a single pair of dumbbells, sure, but if you plan on using many different weights for your workouts, the adjustable versions end up being more cost-effective in the long run. They’re also compact compared to the dozen or so pairs of weights they replace—which makes them great for a condo or a cottage. I’d suggest seeking a set that ranges from two to 50 pounds.

Let’s get to the exercises!

Try to do 10 to 20 reps of each of the following eight exercises with the heaviest weight possible. Aim for three sets.

Lower Body Hip Hinge Exercises

Exercise #1: Single-leg hip hinge
A more challenging variation on a deadlift, this exercise works your glutes. Balance on one leg, keep your back straight, bend forward at the hip and return to the starting position. Do all 10-20 reps on one leg, then switch to the other leg.

Exercise #2: Glute bridge
While lying on your back, use your glutes to lift your hips off the ground, positioning weights on your hips. Kick one leg out, then the other, keeping hips as high off the ground as possible.

Lower Body Squat Exercises

Exercise #3: Split stance lunge
Squats can be boring. This variation, which sees you taking one step forward to do a stationary lunge, makes squats more challenging. To add intensity, do a little hop at the top of the lunge.

Exercise #4: Launch lunge
Step back as far as you can with one foot. As you bring your back knee up toward the front leg, do a little hop.

Upper Body Pull Exercises

Exercise #5: One-arm dumbbell row
With your right foot forward (in a lunge position), rest your right forearm on your right thigh. Using your left arm, pull the dumbbell up along the left side of your body, keeping it close to your chest. Let the dumbbell lower as low as possible so you feel a stretch in your shoulder and upper back.

Exercise #6: Bent over shoulder press/raise
Swap out your heavy weights for five-pound weights. Bend forward at the hip, keeping your lower back straight. Bring the dumbbells as close to your chest as possible. Press them straight overhead, then fly them out to the side.

Upper Body Push Exercises

Exercise #7: Close grip dumbbell press
On your back with your knees bent, squeeze your dumbbells close together and then press them up toward the sky.

Exercise #8: Reciprocal press
This variation on a traditional chest press sees you lying on your back, knees bent, one arm at your chest and the other extended toward the sky. As you push one arm up, bring the other back down to your chest.

Repeat these exercises twice a week, increasing the number of reps each week. When it gets too easy, increase the weight. Here’s to a fun, fit summer!

Looking for more ways to switch up your workouts? Arrange a workout with a Medcan personal trainer by contacting Stephen Salzmann at stephensalzmann@medcan.com or 416.350.5900 ext. 3644.

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