Maybe your budget is too tight to afford a gym membership. Maybe you have small kids at home and need to squeeze in early morning or nap time workouts. Or maybe you just prefer working out alone at home instead of at a gym. You don’t have to invest the money in a gym membership or lots of expensive equipment to get a great workout. You can build an effective program to build muscle at home with dumbbells.
Things You'll Need
Buy the right equipment. Adjustable dumbbells or dumbbells in various weights will be necessary to advance your program.
Change your diet. Eat five or six small meals per day, including one to two grams of protein per pound of body weight. Drink plenty of water. Take a multivitamin. Consume healthy fats — eliminating all fats from your diet can lead to muscle breakdown and deter any muscle growth.
Don't weight train on consecutive days. You need to allow time for your body to recuperate between sessions. In order to build muscle, you have to lift adequate weights to create small tears in the muscle fibers and allow adequate time for the muscle to repair itself before lifting again.
Lift enough weight to create muscle fatigue in six to 12 repetitions. If you complete 12 repetitions and your muscles are not tired, you need to increase your weight. If you cannot complete six repetitions with good form, you need to decrease the weight you are lifting.
Maintain good form. This is essential to safe exercise and injury prevention. If you cannot maintain proper form, you need to decrease the weight you are lifting.
Tips & Warnings
- Never hold your breath during exercise; this can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and result in fainting. Mild muscle soreness is normal and expected with any new exercise program.
- Always speak with your health care provider prior to initiating any exercise program. If you experience lightheadedness or sudden pain, stop exercising and consult your health care provider.
- American College of Sports Medicine: Fit Society Page
- American Council on Exercise: Dumbbell Step-Up
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual, Third Edition; American Council on Exercise
- ExRx.net: Designing a Full Body Workout
- Stronglifts.com: Protein 101: How Much Do You Need and Best Sources of Protein
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images