Getting Stronger 20th Anniversary Edition

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Getting Back in Shape
by Bill Pearl
and
Bob Anderson
author of
Stretching

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Dumbbell Training
from Getting Stronger by Bill Pearl

This is page 316 from our book Getting Stronger, by Bill Pearl. Scroll down for written instructions for each exercise. Click the illustration for a printable Adobe PDF file.

dumbbell training chart

Directions

Two plate-loading dumbbells with a selection of plates and a flat bench are the only pieces of equipment needed for this training program. Use enough weight so that the last rep of each exercise is fairly difficult. Perform the exercises in the order shown. Do 1, 2, or 3 sets of each exercise, depending on how long and hard a workout you want.

Days per week: M-W-F or T-Th-Sat.


1.
Warm- Up (Dumbbell Swing-Through)
Most Large Muscle Groups
  • Hold dumbbell with both hands.
  • Stand erect, feet 16" apart.
  • With arms straight, squat until upper thighs are parallel to floor.
  • Raise up in semicircular motion with dumbbell at arms' length until overhead.
  • Lower dumbbell to starting position in same path.
  • Swing dumbbell through legs for better stretch.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
Dumbbell Swing-Through

2.
Bent-Knee Sit-Up
Upper Abdominals
  • Hook feet under strap of sit-up board.
  • Keep knees bent 45º
  • Put hands behind head, chin on chest.
  • Lie back until lower back touches.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Inhale down, exhale up.
  • To make harder, adjust bench to higher angle
Bent-Knee Sit-Up

3.
Dumbbell Side Bend
Obliques
  • Stand erect, feet 16" apart.
  • Hold dumbbell in right hand, palms in.
  • Place left hand on waist.
  • Keep back straight.
  • Bend to right as far as possible, then bend to left as far as possible.
  • Change weight to left hand and repeat movement.
  • Bend at waist only, not at hips or knees.
  • Inhale to right, exhale to left.
  • Can be done with free hand on side of head.
Dumbbell Side Bend

4.
Leg Pull-In
Lower Abdominals
  • Lie on floor with hands under buttocks, palms down, legs extended.
  • Bend knees, pulling upper thighs into midsection.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Concentrate on lower abdominals.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • To make harder, hold light dumbbell between feet.
Leg Pull-In

5.
Bent-Arm Lateral
Outer Pectorals
  • Lie on bench, feet flat on floor.
  • Hold dumbbells together at arms' length above shoulders, palms facing each other.
  • Slowly lower dumbbells so they are even with chest and 10" from each side.
  • Elbows in line with ears.
  • Forearms slightly out of vertical position.
  • Return to starting position using same path.
  • Inhale down, exhale up.
Bent-Arm Lateral

6.
Flat Dumbbell Press
Pectorals
  • Lie on bench, feet flat on floor.
  • Hold dumbbells at arms' length, palms facing each other.
  • Lower dumbbells straight down to sides of chest, arms close to sides.
  • Push back to starting position using same path.
  • Arms must be in close at all times.
  • Inhale down, exhale up.
Flat Dumbbell Press

7.
Bent-Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Rowing
Upper Back and Lats
  • Put feet close together.
  • Place dumbbell outside of each foot.
  • Bend forward and grasp dumbbells.
  • Keep knees slightly bent, torso parallel to floor.
  • Pull dumbbells straight up to sides of chest.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • Do not let dumbbells touch floor during exercise.
  • Keep head up, back straight.
Bent-Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Rowing

8.
Seated Side Lateral Raise
Front and Outer Deltoids
  • Sit at end of bench, feet firmly on floor.
  • Hold dumbbells, palms in, arms straight down at sides.
  • Raise dumbbells in semicircular motion a little above shoulder height.
  • Pause, then lower to starting position using same path.
  • Keep arms straight.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • Can also be done standing.
Seated Side Lateral Raise

9.
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Curl
Triceps
  • Hold dumbbell with both hands, raise overhead to arms' length.
  • Stand erect, head up, feet 16" apart.
  • Rotate hands while raising dumbbell so top plates of dumbbell rest in palms, thumbs around handle.
  • Keep upper arms close to head.
  • Lower dumbbell in semicircular motion behind head until forearms touch biceps.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Inhale down, exhale up.
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Curl

10.
Seated Bent-Over Two-Arm-Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Triceps
  • Hold dumbbells, palms in.
  • Sit at end of bench, feet firmly on floor.
  • Bend over as far as possible.
  • Draw upper arms to sides, keeping lower arms vertical.
  • Press dumbbells back in semicircular motion until entire arm is parallel to floor.
  • Hold dumbbells at top momentarily.
  • Lower slowly to starting position.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
Seated Bent-Over Two-Arm-Dumbbell Triceps Extension

11.
Seated Dumbbell Curl
Biceps and Arms
  • Hold dumbbells.
  • Sit at end of bench, feet firmly on floor.
  • Keep back straight, head up.
  • Start with dumbbells at arms' length, palms in.
  • Begin curl with palms in until past thighs, then turn palms up for remainder of curl to shoulder height.
  • Keep palms up while lowering until past thighs, then turn palms in.
  • Keep upper arms close to sides.
  • Concentrate on biceps while raising and lowering weights.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
Seated Dumbbell Curl

12.
Standing Inner-Biceps Curl
Inner Biceps
  • Hold dumbbells.
  • Stand erect, feet 16" apart.
  • Keep back straight, head up, hips and legs locked.
  • Start with dumbbells at arms' length, palms in, at sides of upper thighs.
  • Curl dumbbells out and up, rotating wrists to turn palms up.
  • Keep forearms in line with outer deltoids.
  • Lower dumbbells back to starting position using same path.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • Can also be done seated or on incline bench.
Standing Inner-Biceps Curl

13.
Seated Two-Dumbbell Palms-Up Wrist Curl
Inside Forearms
  • Hold dumbbells, sit at end of bench, feet on floor about 20" apart.
  • Lean forward, place forearms on upper thighs, palms ups.
  • Place back of wrists over knees.
  • Lower dumbbells as far as possible, keeping tight grip.
  • Curl dumbbells up as high as possible.
  • Do not let forearms raise up.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.

Seated Two-Dumbbell Palms-Up Wrist Curl

14.
Dumbbell Front Lunge
Thighs and Hamstrings
  • Hold dumbbells at arms' length, palms in.
  • Head up, back straight, feet about 6" apart
  • Step forward as far as possible with left leg until upper left thigh is almost parallel to floor.
  • Keep right leg as straight as possible.
  • Step back to starting position.
  • Inhale out, exhale back.
  • Repeat with right leg.
Dumbbell Front Lunge

15.
Dumbbell Side Lunge
Inner Thighs and Hamstrings
  • Hold dumbbells at arms's length, palms in.
  • Keep head up, back straight, feet close together
  • Step to side as far as possible with right leg until upper thigh is almost parallel to floor.
  • Keep left leg as straight as possible.
  • Step back to starting position.
  • Inhale out, exhale back.
  • Repeat with left leg.
  • Can also be done with barbell held behind neck.
Dumbbell Side Lunge

16.
Standing Dumbbell One-Legged Toe Raise
Main Calf Muscles
  • Hold dumbbell in right hand, hanging down at side, palm in.
  • Step up with ball of right foot on raised object, about 24" away from wall.
  • Place left hand against wall.
  • Keep back straight, head up, leg locked.
  • Put left foot against right heel.
  • Do not let hips move backward or forward.
  • Raise up on toes as high as possible.
  • Hold position momentarily, then return to starting position.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • Reverse position and repeat movement with left leg.
Standing Dumbbell One-Legged Toe Raise