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Thoughts on this dumbbell only routine?

MDC2957MDC2957 Posts: 220Member Member Posts: 220Member Member
Working out at home now with only a bench and set of adjustable dumbbells. What do you think of this guy's exercises and sets/reps for building muscle (in addition of course to eating couple hundred calories above maintenance)?



If not this one, what would you recommend? Age is 39 with some experience in the gym, able to dumbbell chest press 75s for 8ish reps.

Thanks for feedback!
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Replies

  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,265Member Member Posts: 17,265Member Member
    Dumbbells can be a great program for a long time.

    Usually one negative is the minimum amount you can increase the weight. On a bar you can go up 5 lbs minimum, 2.5 per side. That small an increase can be obtained on dumbbells if you get some 1.25 micro weights that work with them, or figure out another way.
    Otherwise the jumps are rather big. So you can do a rep range to try to get around it, and increase that 5 per side and drop the reps a bit, but still a big increase after you've been doing it awhile.

    The other eventual negative is at some point the smaller supporting muscles can't increase their strength the same as the major muscle movers can - so now the load put on the major muscles being worked is hampered by the smaller ones.

    For instance right now, I wouldn't be surprised if your 75 per side bench could be 180 with a bar for same reps.

    You'll also need to be very careful with form - some shoulder routines can cause some real problems if you don't nail the form.
    And while that's true using a bar too - it's just easier to lose it with the dumbbells.

    Just a few thoughts - but it can be a very good workout for a good long while, and hopefully prevent favoring a side or keeping one side stronger that a bar could cause to happen.
  • MDC2957MDC2957 Posts: 220Member Member Posts: 220Member Member
    Yeah you're right about the weight increase, the minimum would be 5 lbs per dumbbell. I'll check into the micro weight plates too. When I was in the gym, I never liked the bar bench press anyways, it just never felt right to me like the dumbbells do. I'm actually thinking of backing off the weight in favor of doing more reps for safety.
  • billkansasbillkansas Posts: 248Member Member Posts: 248Member Member
    I like what heybales said and I'll echo it a bit. As an older guy (50) I'm now leery of heavy dumbbell bench pressing. Might be ok if you have a spotter. I'm suspicious that my past routine of heavy dumbbell bench pressing (no spotter) is what led to shoulder pain that took me about a year to heal from. It could have been from the act of "dropping" the dumbbells after a set.. dunno. Regardless, I wouldn't recommend dumbbells for serious strength training- but probably are very good for body building and lighter weights- my opinion.
  • gearhead426hemigearhead426hemi Posts: 788Member Member Posts: 788Member Member
    After hurting myself lifting heavy a few years ago I completely changed how I work out. A friend of mine used to compete in natural body building and he said focus on form not weight. He took my existing workout routine and said I bet I can make you more sore with half the weight. That was the last workout that I lifted heavy. I am 41 so not old but not young either and I have never felt better about my overall fitness. You may not be as big as you want but your overall health and fitness will be better. Dumbbells are great to build more stability in your core and isolate a specific muscle so i say they should be in everyone's arsenal. They are especially helpful for drop sets since they are easily swapped out. Best of luck!
  • gearhead426hemigearhead426hemi Posts: 788Member Member Posts: 788Member Member
    wiigelec wrote: »
    What does being sore have to do with anything? More sore doesn’t mean better training protocol...

    Being sore make your weaknesses more apparent.
  • wiigelecwiigelec Posts: 283Member Member Posts: 283Member Member
  • gearhead426hemigearhead426hemi Posts: 788Member Member Posts: 788Member Member
    wiigelec wrote: »
    What does being sore have to do with anything? More sore doesn’t mean better training protocol...

    Since your profile pic is a bronc I assume you are from the country so I will make a comparison for you. I have a small farm and we have to buck hay every year. I have a friend that is in really good shape and can more than double all my lifts in the gym. When he came to my farm and bucked hay for a couple hours he said he could hardly function the next day. My son and I bucked hay before he got there and after he left and again the following day without any soreness at all. Even if someone if fit and strong performing a movement in a more focused or different way will cause muscle soreness. If you only focus on how you look in the mirror you might be losing out on real life strength and fitness.

    If you go to the gym there shouldn't be a single piece of equipment that you don't use or include into your workouts. You are paying for all the equipment in the gym might as well use everything you are paying for.
  • ecjimecjim Posts: 801Member Member Posts: 801Member Member
    wiigelec wrote: »
    What does being sore have to do with anything? More sore doesn’t mean better training protocol...

    Since your profile pic is a bronc I assume you are from the country so I will make a comparison for you. I have a small farm and we have to buck hay every year. I have a friend that is in really good shape and can more than double all my lifts in the gym. When he came to my farm and bucked hay for a couple hours he said he could hardly function the next day. My son and I bucked hay before he got there and after he left and again the following day without any soreness at all. Even if someone if fit and strong performing a movement in a more focused or different way will cause muscle soreness. If you only focus on how you look in the mirror you might be losing out on real life strength and fitness.

    If you go to the gym there shouldn't be a single piece of equipment that you don't use or include into your workouts. You are paying for all the equipment in the gym might as well use everything you are paying for.

    I call that "Farmer Strength" Many farmers are freaky strong and don't look like it. It comes from doing that work every day, all day since they were kids. You also see it in amature & collegate wrestlers
    edited January 22
  • acpgeeacpgee Posts: 4,565Member Member Posts: 4,565Member Member
    He doesn't show you how to get heavy dumbells into position for shoulder press if you can shoulder press more than you can curl. Maybe everyone knows how to do this already? Hold dumbell against thigh and kick one knee at a time upwards to assist curl.

    I started lifting in the Arnie and Franco era where there was much more emphasis on isolation as opposed to compound moves, often using less weight, which I believe prevented me from getting injuries. I would add pec flies, delt flies (front, side, seated bent over) for variety.

    If you have a single very heavy dumbell, dumbell pullover and sumo squats would add variety too. Also i prefer one sided rows using a bench with free knee and hand on the bench.
  • acpgeeacpgee Posts: 4,565Member Member Posts: 4,565Member Member
    Do correct me if my knowledge of weight training is horribly outdated, but I thought one advantage of doing dumbell presses for both delts and pecs over barbell is that you can get a fuller contraction if you twist from barbell position at the bottom of the lift to wrists facing each other at the top. I do feel like I get a little extra contraction in the centre of the chest when I do this with pec dumbell press. The trainer in the video doesn't do this.

    I always enjoyed the balance and coordination challenge of dumbell exercises as a lot of dumbell moves require a lot of concentration. So OP, have fun with this.
  • billkansasbillkansas Posts: 248Member Member Posts: 248Member Member
    Fwiw, Arnie and Franco used lots of dumbbells but were both accomplished powerlifters. Arnie's recommended routines always tend to start with a compound lift followed by dumbbells/isolation stuff. They started their careers with a focus on compound barbell lifts.

    I'm not saying dumbbells aren't good- just that most serious programs include barbells and compound exercises for good reason. I'm sure some ripped dumbbell only guy will come out to disagree. And sure, if you've got hours to spend in the gym you could probably do one fantastic program with just dumbbells. Personally, I don't have that kind of time. By hitting the heavy compound lifts, it makes you stronger with a minimal amount of time invested.
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 2,465Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,465Member, Premium Member
    heybales wrote: »
    Dumbbells can be a great program for a long time.

    Usually one negative is the minimum amount you can increase the weight. On a bar you can go up 5 lbs minimum, 2.5 per side. That small an increase can be obtained on dumbbells if you get some 1.25 micro weights that work with them, or figure out another way.
    Otherwise the jumps are rather big. So you can do a rep range to try to get around it, and increase that 5 per side and drop the reps a bit, but still a big increase after you've been doing it awhile.

    Yes - a lot easier with the barbell. 2 fractional plates are a lot less expensive than 4 fractional-weight-magnet things. I did dumbbells for a while to make it a bit easier to superset in with squat/deadlift (had to play around with weight & reps to progress) before opting to switch back to barbells. (I go at a low-enough-volume time, that taking up 1 squat rack + 1 bench for 10 minutes isn't an issue anyway...and I purchased a second set of 1.25 lb plates and collars for the gym bag).
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 2,465Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,465Member, Premium Member

    If you go to the gym there shouldn't be a single piece of equipment that you don't use or include into your workouts. You are paying for all the equipment in the gym might as well use everything you are paying for.

    (pre-note: I'm not the one that hit disagree). There's a lot of dumb-@ss stuff in the gym, though. A bunch of repetitive-motion-injury items waiting to happen, and a lot of stuff that's pretty pointless and not worth the time unless you have a lot to waste (or if you can't do a better option due to injury..looking at you leg press machine). + that floor of hampster wheels above the weight room.
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 2,465Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,465Member, Premium Member
    I do still frequently use dumbbells for sit-ups and back extensions though. Although the much larger diameter of the 30+ lb ones at my gym is an unfortunate problem for those.
  • MDC2957MDC2957 Posts: 220Member Member Posts: 220Member Member
    Soooo no go on that routine?
  • wiigelecwiigelec Posts: 283Member Member Posts: 283Member Member
    Why not? If it’s something that interests you then go for it!
    edited February 1
  • gothchiqgothchiq Posts: 4,460Member Member Posts: 4,460Member Member
    I like dumbbells. There's no one size fits all workout. If the dumbbells are making you stronger then continue using them.
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