If strength training with dumbbells leaves you in the dark about what size weights to use for which exercise, here’s a little help until you become more experienced. Since lifting too much can lead to a pulled muscle, here are the dumbbell weights you should start off with. Less weight and better form is better than having too much weight. Once your body becomes stronger, you can choose to gradually increase the amount.

Beginner Weights Based on Workout

Exercise Part of body worked Recommended beginner weight
Bicep Curls Biceps: inside of upper arms 5 to 8 pounds in each hand
Lateral Raises Deltoids and trapezius: shoulders and upper back 2 to 5 pounds in each hand
Upright Rows Deltoids, trapezius, and biceps: shoulders, upper back, and inside of upper arms 2 to 5 pounds in each hand
Bent-Over Rows Deltoids, trapezius, and triceps: shoulders, upper back, and outside of upper arms 2 to 5 pounds in each hand
Overhead Shoulder Presses Deltoids, trapezius, and pectoralis: shoulders, upper back, and upper chest 2 to 5 pounds in each hand
Chest Presses Pectoralis: chest 12 to 30 pounds
Triceps Kickbacks Triceps: outside of upper arms 2 to 5 pounds in each hand
Overhead Triceps Extensions Deltoids and triceps: shoulders and outside of upper arms 2 to 5 pounds in each hand
Squats Glutes and quads: booty and thighs Body Weight to 45 pounds



Written by: Robert Blair; Staff Writer

ROBERT BLAIR is the Operational Manager of WhenEver Fitness, editor of fitness-news, has been in the fitness industry since 2010, and is a certified personal trainer. He attended the UW-Superior and Brown College for Media Creation, Design and Television Production. From 1992 to 2000, he had written and produced several films, music videos, and video advertisements. He has now been able to combine those skills of fitness and media creation to produce high-quality fitness productions and articles. (Click for Bio/Contact)

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