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7 Highly Effective Dumbbell Weight Loss Exercises That Will Transform Your Body

7 Highly Effective Dumbbell Weight Loss Exercises That Will Transform Your Body


 Table of contents


Dumbbell weight loss exercises - discover the transformative effects they can have on your weight loss journey.



Can dumbbells help you lose weight?

While you might assume dumbbells are just for those who like lifting and taking part in strength training, you would be wrong.


They can be great for high-intensity workouts, which means burning a tonne of calories is possible.


Not only this, as you begin to lose weight, you can also build muscle very effectively using dumbbells.


As dumbbells are magnificent at targeting certain muscle groups, you can lose weight and build muscle at the same time.


For each muscle group, there is a high-intensity workout you can do with dumbbells.


"Vigorous weight lifting for 30 minutes may burn between 180 to 252 calories, depending on a person's body weight."

Calories burned lifting weights vs. cardio: Which is better? (


calorie picture with fire around it, representing the burning of calories.



Are dumbbells good for weight loss


As dumbbell exercises engage multiple muscle groups, it leads to increased calorie burn.


The exercises you can do are countless, and many of the exercises are quite intense, which means you can burn quite a few calories and lose weight.


Not only this, dumbbells are also great for building muscle, so while you are losing weight and burning calories, you can also begin to achieve muscle hypertrophy, which is basically just a fancy word for growing muscles.


As you begin to lose weight and increase your muscle mass, your body's metabolic rate can also increase, further helping you to lose weight and burn more calories.


As a final note, dumbbells are very scalable; as you progress, you can begin to increase the intensity of your workouts through a combination of increasing the weight and intensity, such as going from 10kg to 12.5kg and then doing an exercise you are familiar with but holding your position for longer at the peak of the exercise. This is known as progressive overload. 


 man who was fat and is now fit.










How to choose dumbbell weight for weight loss

Knowing what weight is best can be hard, dumbbells come in a variety of weights, different sets and pairs.


Having too many options can be confusing, hopefully we can simplify this for you. 




Asses your current strength abilities


What are you capable of lifting at the moment, not just in terms of weights but everyday things?


Do you feel slightly weak in terms of what you can lift and handle?


If this sounds like you, then we suggest going for a lower weight.


There is absolutely no shame in using dumbbells on the lower side of things. There is quite a bit of pressure in the fitness world to lift extremely heavy weights, but this takes time, practise, and progression, which can take a while.


We recommend 5kg-10kg for beginners.




Consider your goals


Are you looking to mainly lose weight, or are you also looking to build quite a bit of muscle?


If you are looking to target many muscle groups, then we suggest using heavier dumbbells. Not too heavy if you are a beginner.


On the other hand, if you are looking to isolate certain muscle groups, it is recommended that you choose a lighter weight.



Do a test set


If you have some dumbbells, then we recommend doing a test set.


This way, you can assess what is comfortable and what you are capable of in terms of how many reps you can do without putting too much strain on yourself.


Choose a weight you feel may be comfortable for you and then do around 10 reps. If it is way too hard and you can barely keep your form anymore, then we suggest going down a kilogram or two.


If the reps are too easy and you feel like you can do more, then go up a kilogram or two.




These will be good for future reference; they are rubber dumbbells, they come in pairs, and they have a range of 2.5kg to 85 kg.





Dumbbell weight to gain muscle

Beginner range - 2.5kg - 5kg. This will allow you to focus on proper form.

Intermediate range - 6-10kg. This is a good range and allows you to focus on progression

Advanced range - 10-20kg and possibly heavier. 


In general, using heavier weights is good for gaining muscle so long as you do less sets and reps.








Dumbbell fat burning exercises


Romanian Deadlift


Estimated calories burnt 


This can vary for everyone; we will calculate this based on average weight.

In general, the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn.

You can expect to burn approximately 120–200 calories in a 15-minute session of moderate-intensity dumbbell Romanian deadlifts.

This is only an estimate, but this many calories burned in 15 minutes is massive and very beneficial for your weight loss journey.



Recommended reps and sets


When your goal is to lose weight, it's recommended to do more reps so you can be sure that the exercise is quite intense and leads to increased calorie burn.


With this one, try 2 sets of 10 reps; in total, that's 20 repetitions.


Make sure you hydrate between sets.



Muscles worked 

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Core



Intensity rating


Moderate to intense.

It all depends on how many reps you do and if you are progressively making the exercise more challenging.

The Romanian Deadlift does target some large muscle groups, making it quite intense.

In addition, the compound nature of the exercise and the fact that it targets large muscle groups often lead to more calories burned in comparison to something like an isolation exercise.










Dumbbell Flys


Estimated calories burnt 


The estimated calories burned based on an average person's weight with this exercise is around 100–150 calories.


It would take about 30 minutes to burn that many calories when doing the dumbbell fly.


This is not the most intense exercise in terms of weight loss; this exercise is more focused on muscle and strength building, which can go hand in hand with more intense exercises that are better for losing weight.




Recommended reps and sets


Begin with 2-3 sets of 8–12 reps. Rest for 60–90 seconds between sets.

Keep in mind that this is for beginners; for intermediates and advanced, go with what you are comfortable with already and progress from there.




Muscles worked 

  • Pectoralis Major
  • Anterior Deltoids
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Serratus Anterior
  • Triceps Brachii


Mainly the chest muscles, but it also works the core and other stabilising muscles. 




Intensity rating


Moderate intensity

The exercise mainly focuses on the chest muscles and is good for building strength and muscle. It works well hand in hand with more intense dumbbell weight loss exercises when the goal is losing weight.

If your goal is to lose weight and build muscle, try the dumbbell fly. Incorporate it into your workout programme, but make sure other more intense workouts are prioritised more.













Renegade Rows 


Estimated calories burnt 


30 minutes of dumbbell renegade rows can burn an estimated 180–240 calories, depending on your weight.



This is quite a good amount when combined with other exercises in your workout regime.



Recommended reps and sets


Start with 8–10 reps with 2–3 sets, making sure to rest between 60 and 90 seconds between each set.


Keep in mind that this is only a starting point in terms of reps and sets; be sure to continually challenge yourself for the best results.



Muscles worked

  • Lats
  • Rhomboids
  • Deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Core muscles
  • Forearms



Intensity rating


High intensity rating.


Renegade rows work plenty of your muscles, and the exercise has room for significant progression. For beginners, the exercise is quite intense but also fantastic for weight loss and building muscle.


Because the exercise involves many large muscle groups and requires you to be in a plank position, it requires a lot of stability. Once you have mastered renegade rows, you can begin to see quite impressive results.

Give it a try; you have nothing to lose except your balance. (No one is watching.)




Reverse Lunge


 Estimated calories burnt

30 minutes of dumbbell reverse lunges can burn up to 150-210 calories.


A moderate amount for weight loss.


Recommended reps and sets

8-10 reps per leg with 2-3 sets.


This is a good starting point.


Take around 30-45 seconds of rest between each set.



Muscles worked

  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Core muscles
  • Hip muscles 



Intensity rating


Moderate to high intensity rating.


Reverse lunges mainly target your lower body and are great for building leg muscle while simultaneously losing weight.


The exercise is also great for progressive overload; adding more weight or holding your position at the peak of the exercise as you progress is a good idea.


Consider adding reverse lunges to a circuit of other intense exercises.













Dumbbell Bent Over Row


Estimated calories burnt

30 minutes of the bent over row can burn up to 120-180 calories.


Smashing when combined with other exercises on the list.




Recommended reps and sets

Start with 8-10 reps with 2-3 sets.


Aim to take around 30-45 seconds of rest between sets. 




Muscles worked

  • Lats
  • Rhomboids
  • Posterior Deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Forearms




Intensity rating


Moderate to high intensity rating.


While the estimated calories you can burn are not among the highest on the list, the exercise is still a great workout when combined with the weight loss exercises on this list.


Remember that most of the exercises intensity ratings are in your hands; progressive overload is a must.















Dumbbell Goblet Squat


Estimated calories burnt

30 minutes of the goblet squat can burn up to 150-210 calories.





Recommended reps and sets

8-10 sets with 2-3 sets.


Take up to 30-60 seconds of rest between each set.




Muscles worked

  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Core muscles
  • Upper back muscles




Intensity rating

The dumbbell goblet squat is considered a moderate-to-high-intensity workout. Using lighter weights as a beginner is a good choice for the goblet squat. As you begin to implement progressive overload, the overall intensity of the exercise will increase, but you will find it easier.














Dumbbell swing



Estimated calories burnt


Approximately 200–250 calories are burned in a 30-minute period of dumbbell swings.


This is a great amount of calories for a single exercise, although this is an estimate and everyone is different.





Recommended reps and sets

Start with 2-3 sets of 10–12 reps; this is a good amount to help you get a feel for the exercise and will also help you keep your form.


You don't want to push yourself to a point where you risk an injury; you know your own body better than anyone else. If you feel you can push harder and do more, go for it!





Muscles worked

  • Hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Core muscles
  • Shoulders and upper back
  • Forearms 
  • Cardiovascular system





Intensity rating

High intensity: this high rating is due to the combination of strength, power, and cardiovascular demands the exercise places on your body. As always, start out on the lower side of things, with less weight and fewer reps.

















Dumbbell workout routine for weight loss

Perform each exercise back-to-back with minimal rest between exercises. Once you've completed all exercises in the circuit, take a 1-2 minute rest, and then repeat the circuit for a total of 3 sets.



  • Romanian Deadlifts

  • Reps: 10-12
  • Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back
  • Instructions: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing your body). Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge at the hips while keeping your back straight and lower the dumbbells towards the ground. Push your hips back to the starting position and repeat.




  • Dumbbell Flys

  • Reps: 10-12
  • Muscles worked: Chest, shoulders
  • Instructions: Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended above your chest. Lower the dumbbells out to the sides in a wide arc, feeling a stretch in your chest. Bring the weights back up, keeping a slight bend in your elbows.




  • Renegade Rows

  • Reps: 8-10 (each arm)
  • Muscles worked: Upper back, lats, core
  • Instructions: Start in a plank position with each hand gripping a dumbbell. Perform a row by pulling one dumbbell up towards your side while stabilizing your body with the other arm. Lower the weight back down and repeat on the other side.




  • Reverse Lunges

  • Reps: 10-12 (each leg)
  • Muscles worked: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes
  • Instructions: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Step back with one leg and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position. Alternate legs and repeat.




  • Dumbbell Bent Over Rows

  • Reps: 10-12
  • Muscles worked: Upper back, lats, biceps
  • Instructions: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body. Hinge at the hips, keeping your back flat, and let the dumbbells hang in front of you. Pull the dumbbells up towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the weights and repeat.




  • Dumbbell Goblet Squats

  • Reps: 10-12
  • Muscles worked: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, core
  • Instructions: Hold one dumbbell close to your chest with both hands. Perform squats by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat.




  • Dumbbell Swings

  • Reps: 15-20
  • Muscles worked: Hip muscles, hamstrings, core, shoulders
  • Instructions: Hold one dumbbell with both hands, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge at the hips and swing the dumbbell between your legs, then powerfully extend your hips to swing the weight up to shoulder level. Control the swing back down and repeat.














Can you lose weight with dumbbells only


The answer is yes; dumbbells are very variable and scalable; you can change the weight of them as you progress, and you can use dumbbells for all kinds of exercises with different goals.


If you want to build muscle, you can absolutely achieve this using dumbbells only. If you want to lose weight, you can also use just dumbbells for this. Want to lose weight and build muscle? Hey presto, grab a pair of dumbbells.


Dumbbells are good for the following


  • Resistance training - Essential for strength training
  • Full body workouts - Great for strength building and weight loss
  • Gradually increase intensity using progressive overload
  • Versatility and convenience - Easily stored, come in many weights and are easy to use
  • Progressive overload
  • Extremely scalable


You may be thinking, surely the results can't be that great. With a proper workout plan and meal plan, you can have the body you have always desired and feel your best just by using some dumbbells.


"Dumbbell exercises are a great way to lose weight and get in shape. They are relatively inexpensive. One can do it at home or in a gym. They are effective because they allow you to use a variety of muscle groups in your body"

 Dumbbell Exercises For Healthy Weight Loss - Blog - HealthifyMe

















Kettlebell vs dumbbell weight loss


Kettlebells have a unique design with a handle and a spherical weight, which shifts the center of mass away from your hand. This design allows for swinging movements that engage more of your core and lower body during exercises like kettlebell swings and Turkish get-ups.


Dumbbells have a more traditional design with a handle on each end and equal weight distribution. They are versatile and used for a wide range of exercises that target various muscle groups.


The swinging movements and ballistic exercises common with kettlebells can elevate your heart rate quickly, making them effective for cardiovascular conditioning. Exercises like kettlebell swings and snatches provide both strength and cardio benefits.


Dumbbell exercises can also raise your heart rate, especially when performing high-intensity circuits or incorporating compound movements. However, they might not have the same cardiovascular impact as some kettlebell exercises.


Due to their design and unique movements, kettlebells often engage the posterior chain (back, glutes, hamstrings) and core muscles more than traditional dumbbell exercises. They can offer a more dynamic and full-body workout.


Dumbbells are versatile and can be used for targeting specific muscle groups more directly. They are well-suited for isolation exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, and lateral raises.


Both kettlebells and dumbbells can help you burn calories and contribute to weight loss. The caloric expenditure depends on the intensity and duration of your workouts, as well as the exercises performed.


Some kettlebell exercises, particularly the swings and ballistic movements, may require a bit more technique and practice to perform safely and effectively.


Dumbbell exercises are generally easier to learn and suitable for beginners.


Overall, dumbbells are better for beginners, it is up to you to decide what suits you best.


















In this article, we have discussed several points relating to dumbbell weight loss, including 7 fat-burning exercises, a workout routine using dumbbells, and kettlebells vs. dumbbells.

We hope this has helped you, and we would like to encourage you to leave a comment below asking any questions or adding any points to the article.


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