If you are reading this now there is a very good chance you are bright enough to have been educating yourself via reading multiple articles that will help you reach your goal. Most likely you have seen 100 different ways to get the results you are looking for. Is that true? The reason you see so many things out there is that there are “many ways to skin a cat.” I’m not sure why we use that saying, but hey! There it is and it still rings true. The moment someone tells you their way is THE “right way” or “only way” RUN! Truth be told, there are many paths to reach your goal. The real question is which one you enjoy the most and will get you there the quickest?

I have been training for nearly 20 years consistently. During those 20 years I have done many types of training: Weight Training, Karate, Judo, Sprinting, Plyometrics, Distance Running, Football Drills Etc. When it is all said and done my favorite type of training is either Weight Training or Karate. One thing I notice though is every Dojo is different whereas every dumbbell feels familiar. This being the case I am CONSTANTLY hitting the weights. Though I still sprinkle in the different types of working out, I build my training around my Primary Training Interest. You may or may not share the same level of interest with Weight Training as I do. Either way, the importance of weight training is undeniable!

Weight training will increase lean muscle, increase metabolism, increase bone density, increase sense of well-being, increase vitality, decrease fat just to name a few benefits. Would you agree these are good? I’m pretty sure you do! So what is one of the best ways to accomplish all of this in a minimal amount of space? Again per usual there are a multitude of options; however, one of my favorites is via Weight Training with Dumbbells.

Dumbbells offer an excellent form of resistance, take up little space and can be used for a monstrous number of exercises. In fact there are so many possible exercises that what I want to do is break that huge number down to the most effective ones. Sure variations are great, but let’s cut to the chase and narrow down the scope a bit for fast and noticeable results. I struggled with “number” of best exercises with dumbbells, but landed on SIXTEEN. There are TONS more and unlimited possibilities in training reps, sets, pace etcetera: but, these 16 are perfect for Full Body Development in a Minimal Space with Minimal Equipment.

All that you need to complete all the exercises to come are a Set of Dumbbells, a Dumbbell Rack (to keep them orderly) and an Adjustable Bench. There are a lot of possibilities out there, but the best ones can provide you the following features and use these your advantage.

- Workbench Capacity: 600 lbs.
- Workbench Functionality: Multiple Settings (decline, flat, incline, upright)
- Workbench Future Functionality: A variety of Attachments are available to expand later
- Dumbbell Rack: Holds 6-8 Sets of Dumbbells depending on Size of Dumbbells

I worked out with and trained multiple clients achieving great results with this minimalist configuration: Adjustable Bench/Dumbbells.

You still with me? Okay, time to get into how to build the body you have always wanted with the Top 16 Dumbbell Exercises. Though full-body movements are fine, to BUILD and SCULPT the physique you want these following movements are necessary.


Let’s start with Carving an awe inspiring Chest of Granite! The first two of the 16 exercises are for the chest.

1. The Dumbbell Bench Press. Exercise numero uno is a crowd pleaser. This is a true classic and is the base compound movement to build a solid chest. The Pecs are hammered via this tired and true movement that has shaped bodies for decades. Using the Multibench you can also do a number of variations of this basic movement. A Decline Bench Press helps to “shelf up” the chest bringing out the sharper underline of the pec. An Incline variation helps fill out the Upper Chest. This movement with these variations builds solid mass in the full pec.

2. The Dumbbell Chest Fly. This exercise is awesome for putting extra emphasis on slashing up the chest. A lighter weight is used for this in comparison to the Press; however, Incline and Decline variations are also beneficial for full Pectoral development. The combination of Bench Press and Fly movements with variations of Incline, Flat and decline will result in great chest.


One of the best ways to improve the V-Taper of your physique is by adding width and shape to your shoulders. This also makes the arms look that much more impressive. The area where the arm meets the shoulder just looks incredible when you take the time to develop the delts as needed. The shoulders are so important in physique development that I have dedicated 5 of the 16 exercises to them. So what exercises are best for this development?

3. Dumbbell Shoulder Press. This movement is a popular compound movement that engages the entire shoulder. Variations such as the Arnold Press are a way to add some spice to the movement for additional results. However you look at it though, a solid compound movement where you’re lifting serious weight is a great way to pack on lean mass.
(Compound Movement: A lift involving movement in 2 or more joints. i.e.: Shoulder Press active joints: shoulder and elbow)

4. Dumbbell Upright Row. This exercise is also a compound movement. You can move considerable weight and spark large muscle gains with the Upright Row. Also hit during this exercise are the Traps. That being said, check out #5

5. Dumbbell Shrugs. This is more of a Trap focused movement. You know how powerful a strong set of traps looks. Upright rows and Shrugs are the quickest way to get them. Traps are great but you want to put a large amount of focus on the “shoulder caps.” This is where #6 and #7 come into play.

6. Dumbbell Front Raises. With the Front Raise you can do them simultaneously or in alternating fashion. The key here is to DO THEM! This movement adds roundness and fullness to the front side of your shoulder. Though the front side of the shoulder needs work it is imperative to focus on the outer and rear portions to develop a FULL SHOULDER. #7 and #7a will help with that.

7. Dumbbell Side Raises. This is a basic movement putting all possible emphasis on the outer portion of the shoulder. When done consistently and with intensity you will see width and roundness added to your shoulders. What does that mean? A better V-Taper.

7 a. Variation of the Side Raise. Simply bend forward at the waist and pull the movement towards the back. AKA the Rear Fly. This is the best way to isolate the Rear Delt. This area is SO OFTEN neglected, but it really gives the shoulder the ultimate look! (Why not have 17 exercises making this exercise #8 instead of listing this Variation as 7A you ask?) Good Question! Moving on...


I would be amiss if I didn’t get into back training movements in this TOP 16 list. Training all Chest and Biceps is a great way to create an imbalanced physique and injure yourself. Working on balancing your body will result in a better look and stronger body. So what do you do for your back?

8. Dumbbell Row. As the Bench Press is to the Chest, the Row is to the BACK! You thought you were done with those types of questions once you took the SAT or ACT right? Well it’s back! The point is the ROW is Tried and True. It is one of the greatest exercises for Back Development both for lats and rhomboids. Single Arm or Double Arm Rows are both possible. You can do variations with elbows in or out. You can adjust your hand position (which way your palms are facing [in, back or out]). All of these variations keep the row interesting and stimulate extreme muscle growth. Whatever you do, for your physiques shape, ROW!

Author's Bio: 

Powertec is the pioneer and leader in the area of strength equipment. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, Powertec produces a full line of strength equipment for home and light commercial purposes. Our brand is highly sought after by the educated buyer looking for weight capacity maximization without sacrificing safety, customization of their Workbench home gyms through extensive accessory modularization, and commercial gym quality at home gym prices.