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Be Smart With Dumbbells

By on January 11, 2015

What comes to your mind when you think of weight training?

Many mens tend to focus on the one-body-part-per-day rule. For example, work our chest on Monday, then focus on our backs on Wednesday.  On another day maybe we will add in arm exercises. Another day we will devote to legs and we will do various kinds of squats and other leg exercises. Although familiar, if you are looking to maximize your time in the gym, here are a few tools to add into your routine.

Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder and you are lifting an extreme amount of weight, the majority of your exercises should consist of compound and/or multi-joint movements. Compound exercises utilize multiple joints with free weights and cables. This means maximal muscle recruitment, high nervous system activation, and more of a stimulus for growth, in a shorter amount of time.

So instead of simply working your biceps muscles with a dumbbell curl, you can do a compound movement that works both the chest and legs groups. For instance, you can incorporate forward lunges with bicep curls. That one exercise movement works your legs, arms and core. It also works on overall movement and coordination (which decreases as you get older).


The most important first step is to figure out what your goals are. The typical workout routines that you read in the magazines are based in traditional bodybuilding. It is important to make the distinction between traditional bodybuilding and training for overall fitness. While traditional style weightlifting is a valid form of training, it is most effective on experienced lifters who are moving so much weight that more time for recovery is needed.

So if your goal is overall muscle conditioning and fat loss, or just maximizing the benefit in minimum time, then you want to incorporate full body, compound movements into your workouts. Simple as that!


Wess Murray is a NASM certified trainer, a Wellness and Nutrition coach and master trainer based in New York City. He is the host of ‘The Essentially Fit Podcast Show’ on iTunes.

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