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These Top-Rated Dumbbells Will Help Boost Your Strength and Endurance at Home

Prevention Logo By Jake Smith of Prevention | Slide 1 of 9: Exercising at home has certainly become the new normal. Whether you’re a newbie to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you’ve likely found yourself in need of a few workout essentials—and one of the most versatile pieces you can buy is a pair of dumbbells.With the ability to enhance almost any workout, a (relatively) low price point, and an easy-to-use design, dumbbells are a must-have for any home gym, as they can help you take your workout to the next level. “Dumbbells require increased muscle activation so your body has to work harder to achieve the goals you want it to achieve,” says Dilan Gomih, a fitness instructor and senior director of digital strategy and talent at Barry’s.Not sure how to add them to your workout? Dumbbells are used primarily to build strength and endurance, says Sareena Rama, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Orange County, CA. There are limitless ways to make hand weights work for you; depending on your body position and the way you hold your dumbbells, they can target nearly every muscle in your body, Rama explains. During a squat, for example, holding weights by your sides targets your entire lower body; holding weights to your chest shifts the focus to your quads (the muscles at the front of your thighs).Another benefit of dumbbells is that they’re safe to use on your own. Unlike the barbells you might see at the gym, dumbbells don’t require spotters, Gomih says. Plus, if you pay close attention, you’ll be able to detect muscle imbalances on each side of your body, helping you even out your workout. How to choose the best dumbbells for your workout✔️ Choose the right weight for your goals.“For strength training, you’ll want to use heavier weights since you’ll be doing fewer reps,” Rama explains.“For endurance (anything that has higher reps), go for weights below five pounds.” You can also spring for adjustable dumbbells, which allow you to add or take away weight like a barbell. They’re a great option if you’re planning to ramp up your training but don’t have space for an entire rack of weights. ✔️ Pay attention to material. Dumbbells come in a few materials: rubber, metal, vinyl, and neoprene.“In general, I’d say rubber weights add an extra layer of protection, both for the weight itself and for your floor,” Gomih says. Plus, they’ll be a little quieter if you happen to drop them. If you have sweaty hands, Rama recommends mixed-material weights with textured handles.✔️Consider the shape. Hexagonal dumbbells are both the most common and the most convenient because they won’t roll away during workouts.“If you’re on a hardwood floor or outside on concrete, that would be the best option for you,” Rama says. Their flat edges also provide a stable surface for floor exercises like push-ups, Gomih notes, making them the best option for home workouts and classes.Circular dumbbells might be cheaper than hexagonal ones, but Rama only recommends using them if you’re working out on carpet, where they won’t roll away. Other dumbbells are shaped like bars, which makes them easy to use for activities like yoga or power walking.Now that you know exactly what to look for in a set of dumbbells, it’s time to shop. Check out the top-rated options below to upgrade your home workouts.

Exercising at home has certainly become the new normal. Whether you’re a newbie to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you’ve likely found yourself in need of a few workout essentials—and one of the most versatile pieces you can buy is a pair of dumbbells.

With the ability to enhance almost any workout, a (relatively) low price point, and an easy-to-use design, dumbbells are a must-have for any home gym, as they can help you take your workout to the next level. “Dumbbells require increased muscle activation so your body has to work harder to achieve the goals you want it to achieve,” says Dilan Gomih, a fitness instructor and senior director of digital strategy and talent at Barry’s.

Not sure how to add them to your workout? Dumbbells are used primarily to build strength and endurance, says Sareena Rama, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Orange County, CA.

There are limitless ways to make hand weights work for you; depending on your body position and the way you hold your dumbbells, they can target nearly every muscle in your body, Rama explains. During a squat, for example, holding weights by your sides targets your entire lower body; holding weights to your chest shifts the focus to your quads (the muscles at the front of your thighs).

Another benefit of dumbbells is that they’re safe to use on your own. Unlike the barbells you might see at the gym, dumbbells don’t require spotters, Gomih says. Plus, if you pay close attention, you’ll be able to detect muscle imbalances on each side of your body, helping you even out your workout.

How to choose the best dumbbells for your workout

✔️ Choose the right weight for your goals.“For strength training, you’ll want to use heavier weights since you’ll be doing fewer reps,” Rama explains.“For endurance (anything that has higher reps), go for weights below five pounds.”

You can also spring for adjustable dumbbells, which allow you to add or take away weight like a barbell. They’re a great option if you’re planning to ramp up your training but don’t have space for an entire rack of weights.

✔️ Pay attention to material. Dumbbells come in a few materials: rubber, metal, vinyl, and neoprene.“In general, I’d say rubber weights add an extra layer of protection, both for the weight itself and for your floor,” Gomih says. Plus, they’ll be a little quieter if you happen to drop them. If you have sweaty hands, Rama recommends mixed-material weights with textured handles.

✔️Consider the shape. Hexagonal dumbbells are both the most common and the most convenient because they won’t roll away during workouts.“If you’re on a hardwood floor or outside on concrete, that would be the best option for you,” Rama says. Their flat edges also provide a stable surface for floor exercises like push-ups, Gomih notes, making them the best option for home workouts and classes.

Circular dumbbells might be cheaper than hexagonal ones, but Rama only recommends using them if you’re working out on carpet, where they won’t roll away. Other dumbbells are shaped like bars, which makes them easy to use for activities like yoga or power walking.

Now that you know exactly what to look for in a set of dumbbells, it’s time to shop. Check out the top-rated options below to upgrade your home workouts.

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