Get Ready to Bare Arms With These Exercises

Plenty of folks gripe about picking up dumbbells, but there's no need to fear free weights. A few pointers: It isn't necessary to overload on heavy weights right away; start with a pair that feels comfortable for your needs and tires you out in about eight to 10 reps. The last thing you want is improper form that can affect your body's mobility, or worse, lead to injury. Before you start pumping, make sure you know how to use dumbbells correctly. Now you're ready to try these simple exercises that will have you feeling like a pro in no time.

Deadlift With Front Row

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Work your shoulders and your backside with this double-duty combination move that's easy to follow.

  • Stand upright holding your dumbbells in each hand, arms at your sides, with your knees slightly bent.
  • Keeping your arms straight and knees slightly bent, slowly hinge forward, bending at your hips (not your waist), lowering the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight.
  • Squeeze your glutes to return to standing, keeping your back straight. Once you're standing, pull the weights up the front of your body, bringing them to your chin with elbows going wide. Lower the weights to complete one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Use five- to 10-pound dumbbells.

Squat, Curl, and Press

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Moving from a squat to an overhead press gets the heart rate going while working your butt and legs.

  • Stand with your feet directly under your hips, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Sit back into your squat, keeping the weight in your heels, bringing your thighs parallel to the floor without letting your knees go beyond your toes.
  • Push through your heels to return to standing while bringing the weights to your shoulders, performing a bicep curl.
  • Stabilize your torso and keep your arms moving upward, performing an overhead press with the palms facing out.
  • Lower your arms back to your side to complete one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.

Use eight- to 10-pound dumbbells.

Bent-Over Row

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This beginner-friendly move ups the weight and makes for shapely shoulders and a powerful back.

  • Lean forward and bend both knees, remembering to keep a flat back.
  • Extend your arms so they are straight. Lift the dumbbells straight up to chest level, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upward. Don't arch your back.
  • Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.

Use 10- to 15-pound dumbbells.

Skull Crusher

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Hit the ground to tone up those triceps! Try this simple lying triceps extension, and feel the burn in the backs of your arms.

  • Grab a set of dumbbells, and start by lying on your back.
  • With one dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
  • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your dumbbells so they are on either side of your head, elbows bent and pressing in toward your head.
  • Lift arms back up to starting position. This is one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.

Use five- to eight-pound dumbbells.