9 Dumbbell Exercises for Women

If you’re thinking about mixing up your training routine with some dumbbells, you’re in the right place to get the best exercises.

Dumbbells offer a great way to really put your body through its paces and sculpt some muscle in all the right places. Against trudging along on the treadmill or doing bodyweight workouts, picking up some dumbbells can help you carve out some serious gains and burn off that stubborn fat your body keeps hanging onto.

So where do you start when it comes to dumbbell exercises? In this article, we’ll detail why you should work out with them and list the best dumbbell exercises for women. So, keep reading to find out more!

Why work out with dumbbells?

The humble dumbbell is often overlooked in the gym in favor of kettlebells, barbells and actual machines. However, dumbbell exercises are amongst the simplest and most effective things to do, to add challenge and resistance to your workouts.

Dumbbells are commonly used for joint-isolation exercises like bicep curls, however they can offer a variety of strength outcomes, plus boost cardiovascular fitness and flexibility.

On a practical level, a pair of dumbbells are fairly inexpensive. They’re also virtually indestructible, and, if you’re a fan of home workouts, they’re quite easy to store away out of sight.

Dumbbells can work specific muscles but there are also multiple exercises you can do with them to boost everyday functional movements such as carrying heavy bags of shopping or catching the kids if they fall off a swing!

Training with dumbbells also helps to improve muscle imbalances that you may have developed from other sports or everyday movements. You can use them to update your workouts and keep your muscles constantly growing. Dumbbells also allow for a greater range of motion while working out, stimulating your muscles in ways no other equipment can.

In a nutshell, the benefits of training with dumbbell include:

  • Boosted functional strength
  • Eliminates strength imbalances
  • Better joint health
  • Ideal for training at home
  • Versatile and inexpensive

What exercises can you do with a dumbbell? Most importantly, which are best for women? We take a look.

9 Top Dumbbell Exercises for Women

Give these exercises a go to add some tone to your upper body, midsection and legs. If you’re new to dumbbell training, be sure to follow the directions carefully or consult a fitness coach to avoid any injuries.

1. Floor Chest Press

Trains: Pecs, triceps, shoulders

Rep count: 10-12 reps

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lay down on your back, placing your feet flat on the floor with your knees facing upwards.
  2. Hold your weights by your shoulders and slowly extend your arms up towards the ceiling. Pause at the top and extend the weights back down towards your shoulders. Repeat.



2. Dumbbell Deadlift

Trains: Quads, calves, hamstrings, core, lats, triceps

Rep count: 15 reps

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, stand facing forwards with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping your legs straight, bend at the hips to lower the dumbbells towards the ground and reach to just below knee height. Stand back up to the starting position, engaging your glute and core muscles as you move. Repeat.


3. Bent Over Row

Trains: Back, glutes, biceps

Rep count: 12 reps

  1. Get a dumbbell in each hand and stand straight with feet flat on the floor. Bend your chest towards your feet, soften your knees and extend your arms.
  2. Engage your bicep and tricep muscles, row your arms inwards and tense when the dumbbells are near your ribs. Repeat.

4. Glute Bridge

Trains: Glutes, abs, hamstrings

Rep count: 13-15 reps

  1. Lying on the floor, bring a dumbbell to rest on your lower stomach / hip area and your knees facing upwards. Brace your glute muscles and hold the dumbbell with both hands so it doesn’t fall off.
  2. Bring your hips up as high as you can towards the ceiling. Hold for three seconds, clenching your muscles, return to the floor and repeat. Make sure you focus on raising your pelvic area and, in order to avoid arching your lower back, engage your stomach.

  1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Trains: Glutes, upper legs

Extra equipment needed: A sofa or bench

Rep count: 10 reps on each side

  1. Get into a forward lunge position with one foot resting on the bench behind you and the other in front of you, far enough away so that you can drop yourself into a squat. Place your dumbbell under your chin, holding it with both hands.
  2. Engage your core, keep your chest upright and hips square to your body then lower your body until your front thigh is practically horizontal. Ensure you knee is in line with your foot and don’t let it extend over your toes. Return to the starting position while driving through your front heel.

6. Russian Twist

Trains: Obliques, abs

Rep count: 15 reps (one rep is a twist on each side)

  1. Get on the floor in a ‘V’ position and hold it steadily. Place your dumbbell in front of you.
  2. Slowly twist your waist left to right holding the dumbbell with both hands. Keep the movement slow and controlled to really test your abs.

  1. Dumbbell Box Step-Up

Trains: Quads, glutes, hamstrings

Extra equipment needed: Box (ideally knee-high)

Rep count: 10 reps on each side

  1. Set up a box or bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
  2. Step up onto the box with your right leg and use your heel to straighten your leg. Bring your left leg up to meet your right knee. Step down back onto the floor with your left foot and follow with your right foot. Lead with one foot for 10 reps then repeat with the other leg for 10 more.

  1. Overhead Press

Trains: Shoulders, triceps, traps

Rep count: 10-12 reps

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each and hold them at shoulder height using an overhand grip. Stand with your feet facing forwards and brace your core.
  2. Raise the dumbbells above your head and pause at the top, bringing them back down to the starting position in a controlled motion. Repeat.


  1. Hammer Curl

    Trains: Biceps

Rep count: 10 reps (each arm)

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and chest upright.
  2. Keeping your upper arms still, bend at the elbows and curl the weights toward your shoulders. Bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position in a controlled motion and repeat.


If you don’t own a pair of dumbbells, you might want to invest in some. They can be a saving grace if you can’t make it to the gym for a workout.

What’s more, they make training a little more exciting. Since they have the capacity to go up in weight, you can overload your muscles and increase their growth and strength.

If you’re just starting out with strength training, work out with dumbbells between two to three times a week. Incorporate a few of these dumbbell exercises for women into your regime alongside your Hourglass Fit supply and you’ll be well on your way to a firmer, toned physique!


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