The Extreme Dumbbell Circuit Challenge: A Program To Build Muscle And Lose Fat!
It’s time to get back to basics with your routine. You’re going to build muscle and lose fat at the same time!
That’s right, I’m talking about the extreme version of the classic “dumbbell” routine.
You’ve probably heard all those boring fitness fads before, but what do they really mean? What are their benefits and drawbacks?
Let’s take a look at some of them.
1 – “Dumbbells = Bodybuilders”
I don’t think so, because if you want to build muscle, you need to work out hard enough to burn up calories and nutrients (and water) while building lean mass. If you train with dumbbells, it means you aren’t working out hard enough or you’re not burning enough calories and nutrients through exercise.
2 – “Dumbbells = Low Intensity Training”
Again, I don’t think so. There are many types of low intensity training (LIT).
Some people just go through the motions at the gym and don’t even break a sweat. Other forms of LIT are with machines. These can range from low to high-intensity, but they’re still relatively safe and don’t require as much energy to use.
With bodybuilding dumbbells, you can tailor them to be either high or low intensity. The key is knowing how to adjust them for your goals.
3 – “Dumbbells = Old-school”
While dumbbells are certainly a more traditional way of building muscle, they’re hardly “old school”. In fact, they’re still commonly used in many gyms for training.
However, dumbbells do have the reputation of being “boring” because they can’t match the fun of exercise machines or classes where people shout out commands.
The great thing about bodybuilding dumbbells is that they’re about as versatile as you can get. This means you have a lot of options to choose from when picking a routine.
4 – “Dumbbells Are Better For Strength Training”
This one has some truth to it since many strength training routines involve the use of heavy dumbbells. However, this doesn’t mean light dumbbells don’t have benefits for you.
(And by the way, it’s best to avoid the middleweights when training for pure strength because it’s closer to bodyweight and won’t provide enough of a “resistance” to build muscle or burn fat).
If you’re really looking to build strength and size, then you might want to consider heavy weightlifting instead. This can include barbells, machines and free weights.
This is beneficial because it provides a more intense workout with greater benefits for your body.
5 – “Dumbbells Are Better For Cardiovascular Training”
As you can imagine, this one is true. Cardio tends to involve lots of jumping jacks, running in place, stepping and other exercises involving a high amount of movement.
Not only does this help you lose weight, but it can get your heart pumping as well. (And that’s great if you have high blood pressure).
How dumbbell training helps you lose weight is by forcing you to use many stabilizer muscles. These are the smaller muscles that help you keep your balance and maintain a posture during an exercise.
As these muscles get stronger, so does your body as a whole. This includes building additional muscle mass.
6 – “Dumbbells Are Only For Older People” However, this isn’t really a good benefit for building lean muscle since it’s more focused on cardio.
While dumbbells are more confined to the idea of “strength training”, they can still help you with your heart and lungs. Especially if you’re using free weights, as they tend to require the most energy to perform.
This is why people who strength train with heavy weights tend to have a lot more energy.
I’ve heard this one many times and it couldn’t be more wrong. While it’s true that as you age, your muscles (and tendons, and bones) do start to weaken, you can easily work around this by lifting lighter weights.
It’s all about “control”.
My mom is a great example of this since she’s in her fifties and is still quite active. She works out with light dumbbells on a regular basis.
For an older person, this can be a good thing as they can avoid many of the pains that come with getting older. All they have to do is stick with their routine and remain consistent.
One thing you should keep in mind about dumbbells is that they’re not for everyone. While they certainly have their benefits, there are also exercises that may be too difficult for some people.
Not only does this keep her from getting “old”, but it allows her to stay strong as well.
7 – “Dumbbells Are Only For Men”
Ah yes…the good old chauvinistic argument. In some cases, the human body really doesn’t care if you’re male or female (as long as you have the necessary equipment).
If you want to build muscle and get ripped with heavy lifting, then go for it. This is why you, as the individual, should choose the exercise that works best for you.
If you’re just starting out, then I would highly suggest sticking with low-weight high-rep routines for at least three months before moving on to something else. This will give your body time to get used to the exercises and give you a chance to see some of the benefits that dumbbell training has to offer.
As far as dumbbells go, women can definitely use them. In fact, they’re great for toning the upper body.
Just like men, women have a tendency to store a lot of fat in the thighs and midsection. So if you’re a woman who wants defined arms, shoulders and chest, then dumbbells are certainly an option.
The only thing women may want to consider is how much weight they’re lifting.
And on that note…
All of the above information are simply my own opinions based on my experience with dumbbell training. There are certainly other benefits that you can get from using them.
However, as I mentioned before, you may need to try different things before you find one that’s right for you.
The important thing is that you DO something. If you’re looking to get in shape or build muscle, then now is the best time to start.
If you’re a woman who’s trying to build muscle, you may want to watch how much weight you’re lifting. Since your body is predisposed to storing fat, building too much muscle can make you look “bulky”. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s obviously not the look that most women are going for.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Dumbbell Won’t Do by JW Holmes – Foreign Policy, 1983 – JSTOR
Odyssey of multivalent cathode materials: open questions and future challenges by P Canepa, G Sai Gautam, DC Hannah, R Malik… – Chemical …, 2017 – ACS Publications
Spiers Memorial Lecture Molecular mechanics and molecular electronics by JF Kasson – 2001 – Macmillan
The Russian kettlebell challenge: Xtreme fitness for hard living comrades by R Beckman, K Beverly, A Boukai, Y Bunimovich… – Faraday …, 2006 – pubs.rsc.org