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What are the Best Dumbbell Exercises for Women?

girl 1 hand lift
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When it comes to working out, dumbbell exercises are some of the most effective tools in any gym-goer's arsenal. 

They offer a versatile way to target various muscle groups while providing the flexibility to adjust resistance based on individual strength levels. 

At Primal Strength & Movement, we understand the importance of incorporating dumbbell exercises into women's fitness routines to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. 

In this blog, we'll explore some of the best dumbbell exercises for women, along with the sauna benefits after a workout.

Essential Dumbbell Exercises for Women

Incorporating dumbbell exercises into your workout routine can yield significant benefits for women looking to build strength, improve muscle tone, and enhance overall fitness. 

Targeting different muscle groups, these exercises offer a versatile and effective way to achieve your fitness goals. 

Let's explore five essential dumbbell exercises for women, each targeting specific areas of the body to help you achieve optimal results.

Goblet Squats

Goblet squats are a fantastic lower body exercise that engages the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings while also challenging core stability. 

To perform a goblet squat, hold a dumbbell vertically close to your chest, with your elbows pointing down. 

Lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your chest up and your knees tracking over your toes. 

Push through your heels to return to the starting position. 

This exercise not only builds lower body strength but also improves mobility and flexibility.

Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over rows are excellent for targeting the muscles of the upper back, including the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, as well as the biceps. 

To perform this exercise, hinge at the hips and bend your knees slightly while holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. 

Keep your back flat and core engaged as you pull the dumbbells towards your ribcage, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. 

Lower the dumbbells back down with control and repeat. Bent-over rows help improve posture and reduce the risk of back pain.

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is a compound exercise that primarily targets the deltoid muscles of the shoulders, as well as the triceps. 

Sit or stand with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing forward. 

Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back down to shoulder level. 

Focus on maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement. 

Shoulder presses help build upper body strength and enhance shoulder stability, which is essential for everyday activities and injury prevention.

Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian deadlifts are a great posterior chain exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. 

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, keeping your arms straight and shoulders back. 

Hinge at the hips and lower the dumbbells towards the floor while keeping your back flat and knees slightly bent. 

Feel the stretch in your hamstrings as you lower the weights, then drive through your heels to return to the starting position. 

Romanian deadlifts improve hip mobility and strengthen the muscles of the posterior chain, which can help prevent injuries and improve athletic performance.

Chest Press

The chest press is an effective exercise for targeting the pectoral muscles of the chest, as well as the triceps and shoulders. 

Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, and palms facing away from you. 

Press the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back down to chest level. 

Focus on keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders and wrists throughout the movement. 

Chest presses help build upper body strength and enhance muscle definition in the chest and arms.

Whether you're aiming to strengthen your lower body, tone your upper back, or sculpt your arms and chest, incorporating these five essential dumbbell exercises into your workout routine can help you achieve your fitness goals effectively. 

By engaging multiple muscle groups and promoting proper form and technique, these exercises offer a comprehensive approach to building strength, improving muscle tone, and enhancing overall fitness. 

So grab those dumbbells, and let's get started on your journey to a stronger, healthier you!

Sauna Benefits After Workout

Girl in Sauna

After a challenging workout, many women find that spending time in the sauna offers a range of benefits for physical and mental well-being. 

Here are some sauna benefits after a workout:

Muscle Recovery

The heat from the sauna helps increase blood flow to tired muscles, which can aid in muscle recovery and reduce post-exercise soreness.


Saunas provide a peaceful environment to unwind and relax after a demanding workout session, helping to alleviate stress and promote mental clarity.


Sweating in the sauna helps eliminate toxins from the body, cleansing the skin and promoting overall detoxification.

Improved Circulation

Sauna heat causes blood vessels to dilate, which can improve circulation and cardiovascular health.

Enhanced Recovery

Spending time in the sauna after a workout can speed up the recovery process, allowing you to bounce back faster and perform better in your next training session.

Frequently Asked Questions About Saunas

Is it good to go to the sauna after a workout?

Absolutely, going to the sauna after a workout can be beneficial for several reasons. 

The heat from the sauna helps to increase blood flow to tired muscles, which aids in muscle recovery and reduces post-exercise soreness. 

Also, sauna sessions promote relaxation, alleviate stress, and provide mental clarity, which can enhance overall well-being after a strenuous workout.

Is sauna good for losing belly fat?

While saunas offer various health benefits, they are not a direct solution for losing belly fat. 

Sauna sessions may lead to temporary weight loss through sweating, but this weight loss is primarily due to water loss and not fat loss. 

To effectively reduce belly fat, a combination of regular exercise, a balanced diet, and overall lifestyle modifications is recommended.

Do saunas flush out toxins?

Saunas are often touted as a method for flushing out toxins from the body through sweating.

While sweating in the sauna can help eliminate certain toxins from the body, such as heavy metals and environmental pollutants, it's important to note that the body already has efficient mechanisms, such as the liver and kidneys, for detoxification. 

Sauna use can complement these natural detoxification processes but should not be relied upon as the sole method for detoxification.

How long should you stay in a sauna?

The duration of time spent in a sauna can vary depending on individual tolerance and comfort levels. 

As a general guideline, beginners may start with shorter sessions of around 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increase the duration as they become accustomed to the heat. 

It's essential to listen to your body's signals and exit the sauna if you feel dizzy, light-headed, or uncomfortable. 

Hydration is also crucial during sauna sessions, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your time in the sauna.

After completing a challenging workout session that includes these essential dumbbell exercises, it's essential to prioritise post-workout recovery to optimise results. 

While spending time in the sauna offers numerous benefits for relaxation and muscle recovery, it's equally important to pay attention to nutrition to fuel your body and support muscle repair and growth. 

Let's find out some key nutrition tips tailored specifically for you as women to complement your workout routine effectively.

Nutrition Tips for Women

2 girl holding dumbell

Nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting women's fitness goals, especially when paired with a consistent workout routine that includes dumbbell exercises. 

This will serve as your guide to avoid common eating mistakes you might be making after a workout.

Here are some essential nutrition tips tailored specifically for women to maximise the benefits of your strength training routine to guide you on :

Focus on Macronutrient Balance

Achieving the right balance of macronutrients — carbohydrates, proteins, and fats — is essential for fuelling workouts, supporting muscle growth and repair, and maintaining overall health. 

For women engaging in dumbbell exercises, it's recommended to prioritise lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes to support muscle recovery and growth. 

Carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide the energy needed for intense workouts, while healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and olive oil support hormone production and joint health.

Meal Timing

Timing meals and snacks around workout sessions can optimise performance and recovery. 

Consuming a balanced meal or snack containing carbohydrates and protein before a workout can provide the energy needed to power through training sessions and support muscle repair afterward. 

Similarly, refuelling with a post-workout meal or snack rich in protein and carbohydrates can replenish glycogen stores and promote muscle recovery. 

Aim to eat a meal or snack containing protein and carbohydrates within 30 to 60 minutes post-exercise to maximise recovery benefits.


Staying properly hydrated is essential for optimal performance and recovery during dumbbell workouts. 

Dehydration can impair strength, endurance, and cognitive function, making it crucial for women to prioritise fluid intake before, during, and after exercise. 

Aim to drink water regularly throughout the day, and consider consuming a pre-workout beverage containing electrolytes to enhance hydration and performance. 

Monitoring urine colour is a simple way to gauge hydration status — aim for pale yellow urine, indicating adequate hydration.

Portion Control and Mindful Eating

Paying attention to portion sizes and practising mindful eating can help women maintain a healthy weight and support fitness goals. 

While it's important to fuel workouts with adequate nutrition, portion control is key to preventing overeating and unnecessary calorie consumption. 

Focus on eating slowly, savouring each bite, and listening to hunger and fullness cues to avoid overeating. 

Choosing nutrient-dense foods and incorporating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables into meals can help ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs while supporting overall health and well-being.

Incorporating these nutrition tips into your daily routine can optimise the benefits of your dumbbell workouts, supporting muscle growth, strength gains, and overall fitness goals. 

Remember, consistency and balance are key, so aim to make sustainable dietary choices that support long-term health and wellness.

Now, let's shift our focus to the broader benefits of strength training for women. While dumbbell exercises, sauna sessions, and proper nutrition are crucial components of a well-rounded fitness routine, incorporating strength training into your workout routine offers additional advantages that extend beyond specific exercises and recovery practices. 

We will have a look at how strength training can positively impact women's health, from increasing bone density and improving metabolism to enhancing body composition and overall well-being. 

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Strong girl on dumbell

Strength training offers a multitude of benefits for women beyond the specific exercises highlighted in this article. 

Let's explore some of these advantages in more detail:

Increased Bone Density

One of the most significant benefits of strength training for women is its positive impact on bone health. 

As women age, they are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterised by weakened bones and increased susceptibility to fractures. 

Strength training helps stimulate bone growth and density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and promoting long-term bone health.

Improved Metabolism

Strength training can boost metabolism, helping women burn more calories both during and after workouts. 

Unlike cardiovascular exercise, which primarily burns calories during the activity, strength training leads to an increase in muscle mass. 

Since muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, having more lean muscle mass can lead to a higher resting metabolic rate, meaning women burn more calories even at rest.

Enhanced Body Composition

Engaging in regular strength training can help women achieve a more toned and defined physique. 

By building lean muscle mass and reducing body fat, strength training improves body composition, resulting in a healthier ratio of muscle to fat. 

This not only improves physical appearance but also enhances overall strength, mobility, and functional capacity.

Improved Mental Health

Strength training has been shown to have positive effects on mental well-being, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and enhancing mood and self-esteem. 

The sense of accomplishment and empowerment that comes from challenging oneself and achieving fitness goals can have a profound impact on women's mental health and overall quality of life.

Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease

Regular strength training has been associated with a reduced risk of various chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. 

By improving cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, and metabolic function, strength training can help women maintain overall health and longevity.

Incorporating strength training into your fitness routine offers numerous benefits beyond just building muscle strength. 

It is a valuable component of a comprehensive approach to women's fitness and wellness. 

So, whether you're lifting dumbbells, using resistance bands, or performing bodyweight exercises, prioritise strength training as part of your regular exercise for long-term health and vitality.

Empowering Women's Fitness

As we conclude our discussion on dumbbell exercises, sauna benefits, and nutrition, it's clear that achieving peak health involves multiple aspects. 

At Primal Strength & Movement, we empower women to take charge of their fitness journey by integrating dumbbell exercises, sauna sessions, and mindful nutrition. 

These practices not only enhance physical strength and mobility but also foster empowerment and well-being beyond the gym. 

Strength training, particularly, is pivotal, offering benefits from bone density to body composition. 

Embrace the journey with determination, knowing setbacks are part of progress. 

At Primal Strength & Movement, we're here to support you every step of the way, providing expert guidance, personalised attention, and a supportive community to help you reach your full potential. 

Together, let's redefine what it means to be strong, confident, and empowered women.

Join us, where strength knows no limits, and every achievement is celebrated. 

Your journey to a stronger, healthier you starts here. Let's make it extraordinary.

Written by Pól Murray

Pól Murray boasts 15 years of coaching experience, with a decade dedicated to Strength and Movement. His journey started as a professional MMA fighter, evolving into a respected coach, notably guiding Ireland's first UFC fighter. Pól holds a wealth of qualifications from kettlebell and barbell instruction to suspension and resistance training. He emphasises that true expertise is a journey of continuous learning, investing significantly in education from renowned coaches and organisations. Pól simplifies fitness for everyone, believing it's about moving, feeling, and looking better. His lifelong dedication to well-being ensures those he guides achieve their best.

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