Dec 5, 2022
3 Dumbbell Workouts to Build Strength


Thinking about making a change from barbell training to dumbbell training? Training with free weights, or dumbbells, is often thought of as the most effective way to build strength and muscle.

Incorporating free weights into your training offers a larger range of motion than barbells, weight distribution and stabilization, prevent imbalances, and is easier on the joints.

A recent story on expounded on the debate between dumbbells and barbells.

Dumbbells are among the most potent and versatile pieces of equipment you can train with. When you use dumbbells instead of a barbell, you’re working on unilateral movement rather than bilateral movement, the article read. That is, your hands/arms have to move independently and freely from one another, eliciting a powerful neurological response that’ll get you stronger and fitter.

The barbell is good at hiding your weaknesses, too. But the dumbbells? They show no mercy.

Additionally, dumbbells are also great at diagnosing and treating imbalances, according to For instance, you may find that on the eighth repetition of a ‘Strict Dumbbell Shoulder Press,’ your right arm is fine, but your left arm won’t budge. That shows you that you’ve got a strength imbalance – your right side is stronger than your left. The good news is that the more you train with dumbbells, the more balance you’ll bring to your body, according to The more balanced you are as an athlete, the less likely you are to get injured over time.

Below is an excerpt from that article on 10 exercises to incorporate into your workout.


  • AMRAP in 35 minutes
  • Buy-In:
    9 Man Makers (2×35/20 lb dumbbells)
    11 Burpees
    In remaining time, AMRAP of:
    300 meter Run
    27 Air Squats
    9 Handstand Push-Ups

Start a 35-minute timer. Do the man-makers and burpees. Then, without stopping continue to the run, air squats, and handstand push-ups and repeat those three movements as many times as possible until the 35-minute clock runs out. Your score is the number of rounds and repetitions completed of the run/air squat/handstand push-ups.


  • For Time, Fast and Heavy
    21 Dumbbell Thrusters
    400 meter Run
    18 Dumbbell Thrusters
    400 meter Run
    15 Dumbbell Thrusters
    400 meter Run

Typically CrossFit workouts prescribe a weight, but in this case, the weight is the athlete’s choice. The athlete should choose a dumbbell that, as the name says, is heavy but that they can still move fast. The score is the dumbbell weight used and the total time to complete.

» ALSO SEE: The Difference Between Hypertrophy & Strength Training


  • For time
    30 Burpees
    30 Deadlifts
    30 Burpees
    30 Cleans
    30 Burpees
    30 Strict Presses
    30 Burpees
    30 Push Presses
    30 Burpees
    30 Jerks
    30 Burpees
    30 Swings
    30 Burpees
    30 Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls
    30 Burpees
    30 Snatches (Left Hand)
    30 Burpees
    30 Snatches (Right Hand)
    30 Burpees
    30 Man Makers

Use one pair of Dumbbells (55/35 lb) throughout

Use the same pair of dumbbells throughout. Originally the WOD was designed as “choose your own weight.” If you’re looking for an Rx weight consider 50/35 lb.

To read the full story from, click here