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How to get started with Dumbbells

You need access to dumbbells for the Stronger Movement Method strength training workout. If you are working out at a gym, you will have a variety of dumbbells available. If you are working out at home, you need to purchase some dumbbells. 

The weight that you need depends on if you are where you are at in your strength training journey. If you are a beginner who has never lifted weights, you need to learn the basic movement of the exercise before adding weight. If you are familiar with strength training, you likely can start with using a variety of dumbbells but error on the side of lighter dumbbells in the beginning.

What weight dumbbells do you need?

 There are no exact rules on what weight of dumbbell to use for an exercise. It will take some experimenting to determine what weight of dumbbells that you use for each exercise. And some days, you might need to decrease or increase your weight depending on how you feel. 

In general, you need lighter dumbbells for upper body exercises (smaller muscle groups) and heavier dumbbells for lower body exercises (larger muscle groups). If possible, you can start with the following four sets of dumbbells so you have a variety of weight to use. 

  • 5 lbs
  • 10 lbs
  • 15 lbs 
  • 20 lbs 


As you get stronger, you can buy heavier dumbbells as needed.  Often the limiting factor in using dumbbells is how much weight you can pick up and hold during the exercise. If you are using dumbbells for lower body exercises (like squats or lunges), you likely can use heavier weight but you may not be able to pick up two 40lbs dumbbells . Dumbbells are used in the Stronger Movement Method workouts but at some point, you likely need to consider a barbell or other gym equipment to continue to increase your strength. 

What type of dumbbells should you buy?

If you are working out from home, I recommend buying what is referred to as fixed dumbbells. I recommend a dumbbell with a steel handle and a hex dumbbell (meaning the end is in a hex shape so it does not roll). I also prefer to have rubber on the ends of the dumbbell. You want to purchase the most durable dumbbells that won’t chip or rust. However, the weight of the dumbbell is more important than the style.  

If you are limited on space, you can also purchase what is knowns as adjustable dumbbells, meaning that it is one dumbbell that allows you to adjust the weight. I have not used them myself but I have heard pros and cons about them. They save space but they can be harder to grip for some people.

How much do dumbbells cost?

The cost of dumbbells depends on the brand and the weight of the dumbbells. I have purchased my dumbbells through a brand called CAP dumbbells because they are affordable and good quality. The price of dumbbells varies depending on the demand, the brand, and the weight but typically, you will spend between $1-2 per pound (i.e. a 10 lbs dumbbell will be $10-$20). 

I have not come across a major brand leader in dumbbells that offers superior quality but you can research different companies to determine what are the best dumbbells for you. You can purchase your dumbbells at sporting stores, retail stores, or online. The benefit of purchasing at a local store if avoiding shipping fees. If you are working out from home, you can gradually build your home gym over time. 

Time to get started

The Stronger Movement Method workouts use dumbbells for most exercises. You will become familiar with the weight you use as you continue to do the workouts. Be patient with yourself as you get started. It is a learning process. Now grab your dumbbells and let’s get started!

Holly Blog SideBar

I am Dr. Holly Richard, PT, DPT

I am a physical therapist that provides results-driven strength training workouts for women. 

I am a wife to an amazing man and a mom to an energetic boy. I love chaos and calm, coffee and cookies, and chilling at home. 

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