Exercises With Dumbbells - Frequently Asked Questions

Here you'll find the answers to some common questions I get asked about exercises with dumbbells.

How heavy should the weights be that I use for my weight training exercises?

A good rule of thumb is this: if you're just starting out, learn the exercise movements with light weights. After mastering the form, then use a weight that you can just manage to do for the recommended repetitions of your program.

That means, if you're using the right weights, the last 2 or 3 repetitions of an exercise should be a struggle but still doable.

So, obviously if you can't possibly finish all the designated number of repetitions, you're using too heavy a weight. On the other hand, if you don't feel that the last 2 or 3 repetitions are a struggle, then your weights are too light.


How often should I workout with weights?

Generally speaking, leave one to two days between weight training workouts. This will allow your muscles to recover from your workouts.

So, you can probably get 3 to 4 workouts a week depending on how much time you've got available.

Should I exercise if my muscles are still sore after a day's rest?

If you have worked as hard as you should when you do your exercises with dumbbells or other weights, you'll feel somewhat sore for a day or two afterwards, maybe even longer.

So, if you still feel sore after a day's rest, it probably means your muscles are still recovering from your previous workout. Therefore, it'd be safer not to do the workout with the same intensity as your previous workout (and definitely not higher intensity).

However, doing a light workout will help with your muscle recovery. So, do lower intensity activities such as walking, light cardio, cycling etc. But make sure the activities are not so intense that they interfere with your recovery process.

As usual, there are contrasting views about this issue.

Some experts say you should. And some say you shouldn't. In my view, if your muscles are still sore, a less intense form of exercise than your usual workouts may help your muscles recover. But don't do intense weight training.


I've lost 1 dress size, but my weight on the scale is still the same. Why is that?

Your weight on the scale can be affected by so many different factors. Your hydration level, hormones, food, room temperature etc - it all affects how much you weigh at a particular time.

So, using the scale can be misleading to measure how much fat you've lost.

However, if you have been working out hard with dumbbell exercises or other forms of resistance exercises and eating properly lately, the most likely scenerio is this:

You have gained some muscle mass and lost some extra fat. But muscles are more compact and weigh more than fat. So, you have decreased your size because of losing some extra fat. But you have also gained some muscle mass, which takes up less room but weighs more.

So, your weight stays the same even though you've lost some of your size.

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