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Gain Muscle Mass Using Only Dumbbells With These Best 10 Exercises

The key to gaining muscle mass is to emphasize training movements before muscles.  When you train with dumbbells you are not only creating a stimulus that produces muscle mass, but also creating functional strength because of the added need to stabilize the weight in multiple planes of movement.

So what are the best dumbbell exercises for mass? Here are my top 10 of the best dumbbell movements for packing on muscle and developing usable strength.

Goblet Squat


How to
Stand with feet set wider than shoulder-width and hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest
Sit back into a squat
Then drive back up

They specifically target glute activation whilst improving both hip and thoracic mobility

Dumbbell Clean

How to
Face your wrists forwards and bring the weights to your shoulders, slightly jumping as you do
Slowly straighten your legs to stand
Then lower the weights down to your thigh before moving into squat position and repeating
Incorporating these lifts into your training will not only build lean muscle tissue but also build explosive power. This move also rushes blood to your glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and arms to maximise muscle growth

Farmers Walk

How to
Walk forward taking short, quick steps
Go for the given distance, as fast as possible

You’ll increase your grip strength. This move bunches your rotator cuff, protecting your shoulders

Bent Over Row

How to
Keep your core tight and your back straight as you row the weights up to your chest
Lower and repeat

Rows will target several muscles in your upper body including


This is perfect for achieving that ‘V’ shape

Two Arm Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift

How to
Lower the dumbbells to the top of your feet, as far as you can go by extending through your waist
Slowly return to the starting position

It builds your legs into powerful parts by targeting your fast-twitch lower-body muscles. It’s one of the best free weight exercises to build up your lower body

One Arm Swing

How to

Sink into a squat and swing the dumbbell through your legs before immediately driving yourself forward

Bringing the weight up towards your head as you straighten your legs
Repeat this movement, then swap sides Targets
With proper form this swing will not only recruit muscles within your posterior chain but it will also build your grip strength, co-ordination, lower back muscles, quadriceps and shoulders. Most of these traditional kettlebell moves can be replicated

Bench Press

How to

Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand
Lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width
Use your chest to push the dumbbells u
Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions of your training program


Build quality pecs with a dumbbell press over barbell. Why? A weight in each hands allows for a greater stretch at the bottom of the lift, building a bigger chest. And if you want to take this move further? Squeeze your pecs together at the top of the lift to recruit as many muscle fibres as possible

 Cross Body Hammer Curl

How to

One at a time, curl each weight up towards your opposing shoulder
Return under control to the start position and repeat on the other side


Focusing on one arm at a time creates a large neural drive, which engages the nervous system to recruit more muscle fibres


How to
Place your right foot onto the elevated platform and push up through your heel to lift yourself up and place your left foot on the platform
Step back down with your left foot, concentrating on flexing your hip and the knee of your right leg
Repeat on the other side


It’s a great way to maximise your glutes, the major muscle responsible for extending, rotating and adducting and abducting from the hip joint. Single leg exercises will increase stabiliser strength of the smaller muscles around the joint, protecting you against injuries

Dumbbell Scaption

How to

Arc the weights up to your sides keeping your arms straight at all times until you feel a strong stretch across your shoulders
Return slowly to the start position


Rotator cuff, shoulder impingement and tears are common issues from overuse exercises, but not if you use the scaption. By targeting your stabilising muscles it protects the shoulder joint and ligaments surrounding it