If you’ve been kicking it old school with biceps curls and triceps kickbacks for as long as you can remember, you’re probably ready to mix up your routine. That’s why we asked Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., author of Lift to Get Lean, for a few variations that’ll make slinging dumbbells fun again. (The sliding runner’s lunge will rock your world.)
Dumbbells are pretty much a gym-goer’s best friend. They’re easier to master than kettlebells, and they challenge you way more than bodyweight exercises alone.
Not sure what size dumbbell to grab? Holly recommends picking a starting weight and gauging how it feels around your fifth or sixth rep. Is it super-hard, just right, or super-easy? You want to be at that sweet spot right in the middle. You’ll know you’re challenging yourself if the final reps in your full set of 10 to 12 make your muscles feel like they’re on fire—it’s what Holly calls “The Last Two Reps Rule.” Pick a few of your favorites from these 13 options and get to werk, werk, werk.
Special thanks to Soho Strength Lab in NYC for letting us pump it up in their space.