How to Gain Muscle Mass Using Dumbells

Gaining muscle mass is on the mind of many men and even women today. This is an achievement that makes you feel proud of your hard work, because it is not an easy thing to do. It takes great dedication and disciplined lifestyle habits. One common way people do this is by using barbells and machines at the local gym. But there are these unspoken characters that usually hang out in front of the mirrors at the gym called dumbells. When it comes to packing on some muscle, they can be the unsung heroes.

Things You'll Need

  • Dumbells
  • Swiss ball


    • 1

      Do complex exercises. There are two types of exercises--isolation and complex. You can put on muscle doing either one of them, but to maximize muscle, do complex exercises. These utilize more than one joint range of motion. This causes you to tap into a lot more muscle fiber recruitment. Some exercises that can be done are dumbell chest presses, military press, deadlifts, one-armed back rows and dumbell squats. Do high sets of low reps with heavy weights, and take long rest periods. An example would be 10 sets of 3-to-6 reps with 2-to-4-minute rest periods for each exercise. Do these 3 days a week on alternating days.

    • 2

      Do chest presses. Lie on a Swiss ball with the weights in your hands and your palms facing forward. Press the weights up and bring them in toward the mid line of your body. Stop them about 1 inch apart, and lower them back down.

    • 3

      Do military presses. Sit on the Swiss ball with the weights in your hands and your palms facing forward. Press the weights up above your hand and bring them together until they are about 1 inch apart. Slowly lower them back down.

    • 4

      Do deadlifts. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and the dumbells at your feet. Reach down, pick them up, and come to a standing position with your arms by your sides. Slowly lower them down to the ground and repeat.

    • 5

      Perform one-armed rows. Stand in front of the Swiss ball in a staggered stance. Place one hand on the ball for balance and have a dumbell in the other. Look straight ahead, keep your back straight, and lift the dumbell up and back. Keep your arm in tight against your rib cage the whole time.

    • 6

      Perform dumbell squats. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and hold one dumbell in each hand. Squat down until your thighs are about parallel to the floor, then come back up. Let the dumbells just hang straight down by your sides.

    • 7

      Keep cardio low. In order to fully take advantage of building muscle, you don't want to do high amounts of cardio. This can actually burn into your hard-earned muscle. Do cardio for no more than 30 minutes, 3 days a week. Keep your intensity moderate. This way you will still get the cardiovascular benefits without sacrificing muscle.

    • 8

      Put it all together. Do your weight training 3 days and your cardio 3 days in an alternating format. Take 1 day off and go for a 30-minute walk or play some football with a friend.

    • 9

      Get enough sleep. Sleep is actually the best time to build muscle. It is at this time that your body is regenerating and healing. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean up the diet. Eliminate fried foods, processed foods, refined foods and foods that are high in saturated fat. Also avoid high-calorie beverages and excessive amounts of alcohol. Eat foods that are conducive to building muscle. These are protein--being that it is what muscle is made of--carbs and essential fats, because they help with joint health and they also contribute to energy production. Eat lean meats, low-fat dairy, fish, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Perform as many exercises with a Swiss ball as possible. This will cause you to recruit more muscle fiber because of the issue with balance.
  • If you have never used dumbells before, start off using lighter weights until you adapt to them.
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  • Photo Credit K/Rail

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