40 lb Dumbbell Exercises


Dumbbells are versatile, inexpensive free weights that can be used at home or at the gym. Because they are unattached to any machines, dumbbells can be used for stationary and mobile exercises and can help you target your upper body, lower body and abs. With a pair of 40-pound dumbbells, you can perform exercises to help you build muscle, burn calories and boost your overall health.

Upper Body

  • With a pair of 40-pound dumbbells, you can challenge the muscles of your upper body including those in your back, shoulders, biceps, triceps and chest. Depending on your fitness level, you can use one dumbbell or both for your workout. Use the pair for seated shoulder presses, biceps curls, bench presses, hammer curls and triceps kickbacks. Use a single dumbbell for overhead triceps extensions, concentrated biceps curls and bent-over rows.


  • With 40-pound dumbbells, you can target the main muscle groups in your legs: your quads, hamstrings and calves. Place the pair of weights on your shoulders for standard squats and squat variations such as wide-leg, sumo and split squats or hold a single weight at your chest for goblet squats. Work your entire lower body with walking lunges and dumbbell step-ups, and work your hamstrings with Romanian deadlifts. For your calves, place the dumbbells on your shoulders for standing calf raises.


  • Many ab exercises are performed without weight, but you can use 40-pound dumbbells to challenge your upper and lower abs and obliques. Do weighted crunches for your upper abs by holding both ends of one dumbbell over your head during the move. Place one weight between your feet for lying lower leg lifts that target your lower abs. Work your obliques with standing dumbbell side bends.

Glutes and Hips

  • With 40-pound dumbbells, you can develop stronger glutes and hips for better stability, balance and athletic performance. For your glutes, add one or both weights to your pelvic area during glute bridges. For your hips, use a dumbbell to perform lying hip abduction raises. Your hips and glutes will also be strengthened during leg exercises such as squats, lunges and step-ups.

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