Right off the bat, we’ll tell you that building muscle is not the easiest thing to do — but don’t let that scare you! It’s because there are a lot of components that go into it, and we’re here to explain. Not only do you have to fill your workouts with effective moves (which is what we’re here for), but you also have to set yourself up for success with proper nutrition and workout consistency.
We’ll get to the exercises in a second, but first let’s establish the ground rules. When you’re planning out your workout routine for building muscle, first factor in time for two to three strength workouts per week (this can vary from person to person). During these workouts, you’ll focus on hypertrophy, or muscular growth, through resistance training that breaks down muscle fibers to build them back up stronger and bigger. To get to that point, within each workout, you’ll want to aim for three to five sets of 12 to 15 reps per exercise. You can build muscle with bodyweight exercises and weighted moves alike, but we’ll be focusing on moves that use dumbbells today.
Nutrition is also important for building muscle. Protein (like chicken, fish, soy, beans, and nuts) rebuilds your muscle after workouts, and fats (like avocado and flaxseeds) keep you full and satisfied, while carbs fuel you up before a workout and throughout the day. A balanced diet is key for building muscle.
With all that said, plugging the right moves into your workouts is a big part of your recipe for success. To make it simpler, we asked the professionals to help. Keep reading to get the nine dumbbell moves that certified personal trainers want you to do to grow and sculpt your muscles — plus how to do them and why they’ll actually help. Grab those dumbbells (here’s how to choose the right weight) and get ready to work.