Can Dumbbells Get You Ripped?

If you are one of those people that desire to build a ripped and muscular summer body, then I suggest getting a set of dumbbells. Dumbbells are considered one of the most effective weight training equipment to get your body ripped. The current pandemic has us staying in our homes more often, and therefore a set of dumbbells can assist in building the body you want without having to leave your home.

Dumbbells can get you ripped if used correctly with the appropriate weight, using the correct rep range. Moderate weight exercising between 9 and 12 reps will build lean muscle mass and provide conditioning. In addition, in conjunction with forms of cardiovascular exercise such as HIIT or CrossFit, you will lose fat, creating that ripped effect.

There is more to a set of dumbbells than just the image of two equal weights connected to a handle. Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) such as ‘How long should I exercise to get ripped,’ ‘Are dumbbells significant enough to get ripped’ and ‘Which type of dumbbells should I use to get ripped’ are questions people usually ask when they are interested in building a ripped body using dumbbells. There are also several tips and advantages, and disadvantages for using a set of dumbbells to build the perfect ripped body.

Are Dumbbells Significant Enough To Get A Ripped Body?

Yes, dumbbells are significant in building the perfect ripped body. Dumbbells are used to develop strength and resistance and therefore resulting in the growth of muscles and in conjunction with other forms of exercise such as HIIT or CrossFit they can and will help you achieve lean muscle mass.

Dumbbells allow for the progressive overloading of muscles, which is needed to build a lean and ripped body. Due to the fact that dumbbells are specifically designed to isolate particular muscle groups and used for conditioning, they hold an advantage over other exercise machines and equipment, making them incredibly significant training equipment to achieve specific fitness goals.

Which Type Of Dumbbells Should Be Used To Get Ripped?

There are no specific dumbbells that you should use to build a ripped body. They all serve the same purpose. There are different dumbbells, namely adjustable dumbbells, fixed dumbbells, studio dumbbells, and kettlebells. Dumbbells come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have one purpose: developing strength and resistance in muscles.

Consider these things when thinking about buying a set of dumbbells, a) Body type, b) Fitness goals, and c) storability.

Considering dumbbell weight

You may ask well what weight should you use when trying to get ripped using dumbbells. The first thing to understand is that the weight of each dumbbell its own individual weight.

That means if you grab a pair of 20-pound dumbbells, each dumbbell will be 20 pounds totaling 40 pounds.

Another thing to consider is that if the dumbbells’ are measure in pounds or kilograms. Check out my other article here where I go over that.

In order to get that ripped look, you need to have a small amount of fat on your body. Fat covers the muscle, and the less of it that you have, the leaner you will look.

The best way to burn fat is to do cardiovascular exercise that utilizes the aerobic energy system. This means that doing exercises for an extended amount of time, such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. Your body, through this process, will burn fat the fasted way possible, and there is a way that you can use dumbells to do this.

In order to understand what weight you will need to use, you will first need to consider the reap range. You will need to take them through. Remember, this will be different for various muscle groups. You can think for yourself that your arms will be able to lift more than your shoulders will.

So you cant get one weight and be prepared to use them for all exercises and different muscle groups.

Considering rep range with dumbbells to get you ripped

Rep range is something that many people won’t factor into their workouts, and this is a critical element to consider. In terms of conditioning, you are looking to use a moderate weight with a rep range of between 9 and 12.

Using heavy dumbells and a low rep range will build strength and muscle mass, while using lightweight will build endurance and will not work the muscle efficiently enough to tear it down.

Hence it would be beneficial to use a moderate weight moving through this rep range. Check out my other article here for more info on dumbbell rep ranges.

Another crucial factor to consider is that you have to always go to failure no matter the rep range you are moving through. In our case, it is a moderate rep range, but that does not mean you can just go through the motions. When you are hitting those final reps, your body and muscles are working at maximum capacity, and after you hit your final rep, you must not be able to do another one.

Thus you will need to get dumbbells of sufficient weight or use various weighted dumbbells for each exercise depending on what body part you are working on; always remembering to go between 9 and 12 reps to failure.

HIIT Training With Dumbbells To Get You Ripped

We covered that you should use a moderate weight and rep range with dumbbells to help you achieve a ripped look.

However, in most instances, if you have a significant amount of body fat, then this is not all you will need to do. Using the correct rep range and weight will get your muscles lean, defined, and large to an extent but used in conjunction with anaerobic training, you will be able to see results quickly.

Aerobic exercise will not allow you to use dumbbells as such (unless you strap them to your body or plan on carrying them while you run). However, you can incorporate them into an anaerobic workout such as HIIT or CrossFit, and then you will be both build lean muscle mass and lose fat.

You will have to understand the concept of HIIT training first because you won’t necessarily be able to use dumbbells in the intervals where you are pushing yourself to your maximum. This is due to several reasons, and you should check out my other article on HIIT training here, where I discuss this in detail.

How you would use dumbells in HIIT is you would exercise with them in your rest intervals working with the appropriate weight moving through the correct number of reps. You would then do your next intense interval and then use dumbbells in your rest interval again until your workout is complete.

Remember that it won’t matter which body parts (muscles) you are working on. As long as you are using the appropriate weight (which will be different for various muscle groups) and the correct rep range, you will be building lean muscle mass.

Which dumbbell exercises can be done to get a ripped body in conjunction with HIIT or CrossFit?

Just about any dumbbell exercise can be used to get you ripped. You need to remember that dumbbell exercises are mainly isolation exercises so if you wish to perform compound exercises then you would preferably use kettlebells moving through exercises that work on two or more muscle groups.

These traditional exercises listed below can be used as part of a split routing or in conjunction with HIIT or CrossFit to get the most benefits.

  • Chest Press: works on your chest and triceps
  • Cross Body Hammer Curl: works on your biceps and forearm
  • Dumbbell Scaption: works on your shoulders
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: works on your shoulders and triceps
  • Bent-over rows: works on your upper and lower back
  • Skull crushes: works the triceps
  • Dumbell Squats: works your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings

How Often Should I Exercise To Get Ripped?

You should engage in strength and resistance training at least twice a week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To see the results of a ripped body, you would have to increase that number to at least 4 to 5 times a week. Being ripped requires a healthy diet and the right amount of exercise per week.

Not only that but you will need to do a sufficient amount of cardiovascular exercise (aerobic or anaerobic) in order to lose that excess fat you have stored on your body.

You would be considered ripped once you have a low body-fat percentage (round about 12%) as well as well-distinct muscle mass.

What you can do is split up your training into cardio sessions and weight sessions. This means you could have cardio in the morning and weights in the evening or have them on separate days.

Then as we said, you could incorporate them into your other workouts to get the best results. Just remember that even training 4 or 5 times a week with dumbbells and in conjunction with other forms of exercise like HIIT will require you to eat correctly and rest sufficiently.

Lean muscle mass and fat loss will only ever occur when you are eating the correct food.

Tips For Using Dumbbells To Get Ripped

Incorporating the correct weight training schedule, cardio routine, rest, and diet is not just something that is a hobby but rather falls into a healthy lifestyle.

Building a ripped body does not only require exercise, rest, and nutrition; It requires a healthy mindset as well as a healthy lifestyle. These are some tips that you can use to add to your daily lifestyle:

  • Prepare And Plan: Preparing and planning your training sessions and diet is considered one of the first steps to reaching fitness goals. Split up your routines and exercises if necessary.
  • Lift the appropriate weight: Increase the weight of the dumbbells as soon as the current weight starts feeling light. This means when you can exceed the rep range of between 8 and 12, and you are not going to failure. This will build more strength in the muscles and eventually lead to an elite ripped body.
  • Down H2O: Drinking water throughout the day helps boost your metabolism. It is also one of the most effective ways to make your tummy feel full without consuming food.
  • Eat Correctly: Supplying your body with the correct amount of carbs, fats, and proteins is the only way that your body can recover and build quality muscle mass while at the same time, burning fat.
  • Rest Up: The lack of sleep can cause the increase of the hormone, which stimulates hunger. A good night’s rest after a dumbbell training session results in a healthy lifestyle and a decrease in restlessness. Furthermore, your body (muscles) will only recover and grow while you sleep.
  • Teamwork: Having a training partner tends to boost motivation and creates some friendly competition. Surround yourself with people that have the same fitness and diet goals as yourself. This will help with staying on the right path to achieving your fitness goal of having a ripped body.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Training With Dumbbells

Training with dumbbells provides various advantages, but there are also a few disadvantages of this sort of training. An individual would have to weigh up the pros and cons when deciding whether to buy a set of dumbbells. Below is a table with the advantages and disadvantages of using dumbbells to get a ripped body.

Boosting of metabolism: increase bone, muscle, and connective tissue strength.

Portability: easy to store and lighter dumbbells are easier to move around to a different location.

Free range of motion and versatility when it comes to different exercises.

Cheaper than other training equipment.

Well suited for explosive training sessions.

Great for conditioning.
The incorrect usage of dumbbells may lead to the risk of injury

Switching positions between sets may be energy-consuming.

May be challenging for beginners Weight increase may sometimes be too much for a specific exercise.

Full Body Dumbbell Workout

Getting into shape does not have to be that difficult, and if you read our article here about how dumbbells can effectively take you from zero to hero no matter your fitness goals, then you are in luck.

We put together the most common exercises that you can utilize with dumbbells in order to achieve your fitness goals. That means whether you are looking to lose weight, gain muscle and strength, build endurance, or tone, these exercises will help you do that.  

The only thing you need to consider is your rep range and the heaviness of the weight itself. Remember that the rep range and weight that allows you to move through that rep range to failure will ultimately help you achieve your goals. We have listed the rep range chart for your perusal below.

Fitness goalRep rangeWeight neededExercise involved
Strength and muscle building5 – 8Will varyAll exercises in this PDF
Toning9 – 12Will varyAll exercises in this PDF
Endurance12 – 15Will varyAll exercises in this PDF

Before we begin, the last thing to note is that this is a full-body workout that will utilize and work all the major and minor muscle groups in your body. You are more than able to break up the exercises and train certain body parts on different days if you wish, or you may choose to do them all in one workout. Depending on how you split up the exercises, you will achieve different results.

Utilizing the exercises and training one or two body parts a day with heavyweight will allow you to build muscle mass and strength while doing all the exercises in one workout session will effectively turn the workout into a full-body endurance, toning session. Just remember to go as fast as possible without sustaining injury.

Shoulder press

Shoulder press will work your front and side deltoids along with your triceps. Start off by raising the dumbbells and placing them on your shoulders. You will then push the dumbbells into the air, almost locking your elbows when you reach the top. You don’t lock your elbows when you reach the top because you will lose control over the weight if you do.

Coming back down with a smooth and steady motion, you stop at your shoulders again and repeat the exercise according to your fitness goal.

Seated bicep isolation curls

As the name suggests, this exercise will work and isolate your biceps. If you’ve ever wanted guns, then this is one way to get them. Sitting on an exercise bench or chair, grab an appropriate weight and lean slightly over.

Take note that you will be exercising one arm at a time. Place your elbow with the arm that has the weight in it into your thigh so that it sits there comfortably. Use the opposite arm to support yourself, so you don’t fall over.

This exercise will use a full ROM, which means you should extend the weight until your arm locks at the bottom. You then curl as high up as you can, slowly releasing the weight when you reach the top. Unlike shoulder press in this position, you have full control over the weight, so there is no need to worry.

Dumbbell rows

Dumbbell rows are one of the best exercises you can do to work your back. If done correctly, it will not only work your entire back (that means middle, lower, and traps), but it will work your biceps and core as well.

When you are in the row position and pull the weight towards yourself, your core needs to stabilize your body, ensuring that you do not lose balance and topple over. Furthermore, any form of a row will utilize the biceps, especially when it comes to beginners. Beginners don’t really know how to squeeze and flex the back muscles when it comes to back exercises when they first start out, so what happens is that a lot of strain is put on the biceps. Make sure that you “pull” the weight with your back muscles to effectively work the back.

Start by grabbing a dumbbell and kneeling on an exercise bench. The dumbbell should hang straight down at your side while your back should be extended and as erect as possible. Squeezing your core and squeezing your back muscles pull the dumbbell towards your chest. It is tempting when the dumbbell reaches your chest just to relax and let the dumbbell fall; however, try to release it in a controlled manner, further squeezing your back and core, getting the entire momentum of the exercise.

Dumbbell kickbacks

We decided to incorporate two tricep exercises because the triceps are one of the weakest body parts, and essentially, any form of a push will utilize them, so they do need to be worked perhaps a little bit more than other body parts.

Dumbell kickbacks, as with seated isolation dumbbell curls, isolate the tricep and should be used more for toning and conditioning than for building muscle. You will find that doing kickbacks; you are only able to use half if not less than half of the weight you would when doing skull crushers.

Kickbacks will be similar to dumbbell rows in that your body position is the same. The only difference is you start with you are raised, allowing the dumbbell to be situated at your chest. With an extended kickback, motion flexes your arm back as far as possible, going through your arm’s entire ROM slowly releasing when you reach the top.

Skull crushers

Skull crushers are considered the “meat and potatoes” tricep exercise, and if you are looking for sheer mass and strength, then this exercise is the way to go.

You should be in a seated position on an exercise bench with your back straight, or you could use a chair. Posture is essential for this exercise because if not done correctly, you can injure yourself.

Grabbing a weight start by using both hands and arms to place the weight on one of your shoulders. This will be your starting position. Sometimes the weight is pretty heavy, and you can’t just throw the weight up and go, so placing it on your shoulder will help you start with a full amount of control and prevent injury.

When ready, move the weight behind your head and, with an upwards motion of your arms, push them into the air going through your full ROM. This means go as high and as low as possible while moving through the exercise. When you are complete, place the weight on your shoulder again and do not under any circumstances drop or throw the weight in a way that you will injure yourself.

Upright dumbbell rows

Upright rows are a great way to strengthen your shoulders and traps. If you have ever gotten tired from carrying groceries or anything over a long distance, then this exercise is for you.

Start by taking a dumbbell in each hand and letting them hang in front of you over your thighs. Keeping in mind you are in a standing position, your back is straight, and your core is tightly squeezed. It is essential to squeeze and tighten up your core for this because the motion of the row can easily throw out your back.

With an upright jolting motion, pull the dumbbells up along your body raining your elbows into the air until the dumbbells reach your shoulders. When you reach your shoulders, try for a controlled release back to the bottom.

Pushups or chest press

Chest press is similar to bench press, except instead of a bar, you would utilize dumbbells. The one thing to consider is that if you are just starting out, perhaps this exercise is not for you. Dumbbells are primarily for isolation and require the use of your supporting muscles, and unless you have a little bit of experience in the gym and have worked your chest sufficiently then, we suggest you stick to pushups. Otherwise, you are more than likely to drop the dumbbells, injuring yourself in more ways than one.

Keeping your tiptoes on the ground and extending your body flat, keeping your back straight and your core tight, place your arms at your side. The closer your arms are to your body, the more you will work your triceps, and the further your elbows are away from your body, the more of your chest you will work.

Start flat on the floor and push yourself into an elevated position through your arm’s entire ROM until your elbows lock. Going back down can vary depending on how strong you are. Optimally it would help if you strived to go as low as possible until your nose touches the floor but still keeping your back perfectly straight. However, if this is not possible, go as low as you can, repeating the exercise to failure.

Bodyweight or dumbbell squats

The ultimate leg exercise is squats. It works your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves. There is really no other exercise to beat squats, no matter if you are looking to build endurance, muscle, or tone up.

For the purpose of bodyweight squats, you will not need dumbbells because (but can use them as we will discuss later), for beginners, squats can tire you out very quickly. You must understand that working your glutes and quads (two of the largest muscles in the body) are a prerequisite to cardiovascular exercise; hence they can be draining.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes facing in a forward direction. Your back should be straight, and once again, your core should be taught. Always remember that when doing any exercise in a standing position to squeeze and keep your core tight.

With a sitting motion, squat down until you are in a seated position and then push yourself up once again. It is important to note that you should not go past this position because you can easily injure your knees this way.

If you are strong enough to use dumbells, then with the same technique, you would just hold the dumbbells of appropriate weight at your side and squat through the ROM of the exercise.

Final tips

These exercises comprise a full-body workout, and as we said, they can be split up or done in the same workout, depending on what your goals are. The last thing to note is that exercise is not without its limits, and if you genuinely wish to achieve specific results, then you will need to eat accordingly.


A set of dumbbells, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are simple features that result in having a ripped summer body. Dumbbells are significant to build a ripped body, but there are other ways and means of building a ripped body if an individual is not interested in a set of dumbbells. Knowing your body type and fitness goals will help decide which dumbbell to use to get your body ripped.

There are many dumbbell exercises that you could use during your training, each focusing on specific parts of the body. There are also alternative exercises and exercise machines for those who desire a ripped body but without the use of dumbbells. Dumbbell training comes with some advantages and some disadvantages, and these are usually factors that might affect your training sessions.

If you put in the hard work and have the right mindset, you will see the results of having a ripped body by using a set of dumbbells.  

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