Looking for Regional Information?

Dumbbells for Smart Weight Training

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Fitness
Lifting weights to develop muscle and strength is at an all time high in popularity.

The reason? It works!

However, there are some factors you should keep in mind. When using a barbell with weights, you should workout with a partner. When you are lying down on a weight bench pushing hard to get that last repetition and you hit a sticking point, you could be in serious trouble.

When the weights get stuck in this position, even lifting it above your neck, past your head and dropping it to the floor can become an impossible task.

In addition, when cheating to get some extra repetitions in doing a bicep curl using a barbell, for example, you need to swing your body to get momentum to lift the weights. This can cause a strain or result in a pulled muscle.

That doesn't mean you should abandon weights. If you have a training partner, great. If not, consider going to a gym. There are generally plenty of people around who can come to your rescue.

A better alternative for you just might be a set of dumbbells.

Using the example just given, do the bench press with dumbbells. You get a better stretch at the bottom of the repetition and, if you do get stuck and can't get that last repetition in, drop them to your side and allow them to hit the floor.

When doing that bicep curl, do one arm at a time. When you have done all the repetitions you can do correctly, use your free hand to apply enough pressure to help do another repetition, and then slowly lower the dumbbell. Do a couple more if you like.

This will definitely pump your arms like nothing you've done before, and is much safer than using a barbell. You also get a full range of motion, getting a full stretch and giving your muscles a more beneficial workout.

If you want more of a challenge, use dumbbells on an exercise ball. The ball creates instability which causes your body's core muscles to work hard to keep you on the ball. If you do lose balance, it is much easier to toss aside the dumbbells than it is to toss aside the barbell.

There are numerous exercises you can do using dumbbells and you can do them at home; with or without a training partner.

Dumbbells are not very expensive and may just be one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you own.