Best Dumbbell Exercises Used by the Pros

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The following exercises are used daily by some of the top fitness models in the world. These exercises are a big factor in what has transformed average-joe bodies into some of the best physiques on the planet.

These exercises can be used to build muscle or to tone your muscles (a diet that is tailored for weight loss will result in toned muscles, and a diet tailored to building muscles will result in increased muscularity). At the end of this article I will reveal where you can find different diet plans to help you reach your goal, but in the meantime enjoy these exercises!


1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press (used by Rob Riches)

Muscles used: Chest, triceps and shoulders.

rob riches

This is one of the most popular chest exercises and is used by Rob Riches, one of the world’s top fitness models and a previous competitor in the WBFF. (Source:

1. With a flat bench, lie down on the bench on your back with a dumbbell in each hand.

2. Your hands should grip the dumbbells with your fists pointing towards the sky and your palms facing forwards, instead of inwards. (See image below)

3. Push the dumbbells up vertically, fully extending your triceps. Each dumbbell should meet together at the top of the movement, and squeeze for a full contraction of the chest and triceps.

4. If you have an adjustable bench you can change the angle to hit different regions of the chest. With a flat bench you will hit the lower and mid-section of the chest. With an incline, it will place more emphasis on the upper part of the chest.



2. Bent-over-Row used by Greg Plitt

Muscles used: Back, biceps and shoulders.

greg plitt

This is a great dumbbell exercise for the lats (aka back). It will add thickness to your back and is used by the leading fitness model in the world in Greg Plitt. (source:

You can do a bent over row using a dumbbell with a bench to lean on or without one. If you are new to bent over rows then I suggest at least having a bench at one side to lean on and help you keep balanced whilst you are getting used to the exercise.

1. With one hand on the bench, use your other hand to pick up the dumbbell on the floor. You should have your back flat and horizontal.

2. With your hand gripping the bench to offer balance, simply lift the dumbbell in the other hand straight up. At the top of the movement squeeze to give maximum contraction to the lats and biceps.

3. Lower the weight downwards again and repeat.


bent over row


Lateral Raise used by James Ellis

Muscles used: Shoulders and traps.

james ellis

James Ellis is the WBFF 2011 world fitness model champion, so how does he develop stand out shoulders and traps? James is a keen fan of dumbbell lateral raises – a great exercise for sculpting these two muscles. (Source:

1. Have a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, with the palms of your hands facing towards you.

2. Raise each dumbbell upwards until both arms create a horizontal line, parallel with your shoulders.

3. Lower the dumbbells to your sides again, then repeat.

Tips: Make sure to perform the movement slowly, preventing your body from swinging, taking the emphasis off the shoulders. To prevent swinging other than performing the rep slower, you can do lateral raises seated, with your back against a bench. A straight arm is encouraged, however in the pic below the man’s arms are slightly forward, this is acceptable – it will just put more focus on the front of the deltoids (shoulders).

standing dumbbell lateral raise demo

These dumbbell exercises are only powerful exercises when combined with a nutrition plan tailored towards your fitness goal.

Comment below if these exercises have helped you in your quest for a better body!

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