4 Ways You Might Be Wrong About Dumbbell Training


Love them.

Hate them.

Never used them.

They’re not “cool enough.”

They sit in the corner of the gym collecting dust.

After 2 decades of being fully invested in the fitness space, we’ve heard it all, including the myths that people often associate with dumbbells.

Let’s debunk some of those myths shall we?

Myth #1: I’ll be limited to a small amount of movements.

We get it. A pair of dumbbells seems like such a simple piece of equipment, it’s easy to believe you’ll be limited to bicep curls and lateral raises.

Reality: ANYTHING that can be done with a barbell can be done with a pair of dumbbells (a lot of movements can even be done with just ONE dumbbell). Dumbbells are SO incredibly versatile because there are a large number of movements you can perform with them.

You can perform full body workouts by incorporating movements like:
  • Dumbbell swing
  • Dumbbell squat
  • Dumbbell deadlift
  • Devil press
  • Dumbbell thrusters
  • Dumbbell clean
  • Dumbbell snatch
  • Etc...
You can also perform several isolation type movements such as:
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extension
  • Weighted sit ups
  • Bent over rows
  • Etc...

If you use dumbbells, you will never be limited by the movements you can do. You probably just need solid programming that shows you the several ways to use them.

Street Parking has a daily version of the workout "Program A" that specifically incorporates dumbbells as the primary piece of equipment.

Myth #2: I won’t get strong if I use dumbbells.

This is a big one, ESPECIALLY when people have been crushing 1 rep max type lifts with a barbell.

While it is true that it’s difficult to build ABSOLUTE (think 1 rep max) type strength with a pair of dumbbells, don't make the mistake of believing that a heavy barbell is the ONLY way to build strength.

Because of the neuromuscular demand from a pair of dumbbells and the coordination and balance they require, there are HUGE transfers to strength gains.

Also, many powerlifters will tell you that implementing dumbbell movements like the single leg deadlift, lunges, step ups, overhead press, tricep extensions, etc. are critical for targeting some of the weaker and smaller muscle groups that often lead to gradual and consistent strength gains.

We ourselves have seen a countless number of our members hit major PR’s in their lifts because they focused on working out with dumbbells for a few months.

"In April 2020, at the peak of COVID, I worked out with only dumbbells for the entire month at my house. After about 5 months of home workouts, I popped into the military base gym and to my surprise, I PR’d my barbell back squat, clean, and shoulder press!

The Street Parking program and Project April taught me that a good pair of dumbbells and some consistency really is all you need to maintain your fitness."

-Jaime Miller

Myth #3: Dumbbells are only for beginners.

When people think this we imagine it’s because they have this image lodged in their head of an 80’s fitness video, where everyone’s rockin’ bright pink spandex and crushing some 5lb dumbbell bicep curls as they dance in unison.

Great image...but Nope. Nope. Nope.

Dumbbells are scalable to ANY fitness level. The trick is in understanding your current level of fitness and choosing the appropriate weights.

Here are some of our suggestions:
  • If you are just getting started with your fitness journey you might start with:
    • Men: 15-35# Dumbbells
    • Women: 8-20# Dumbbells
  • If you have been training for a while but don't have much experience with dumbbells, consider starting with:
    • Men: 40-45# Dumbbells
    • Women: 25-30# Dumbbells
  • If you’ve been in the fitness game for a while and are familiar with dumbbells, you might consider using:
    • Men: 50# Dumbbells
    • Women: 35# Dumbbells
NOTE: Our strongest Street Parking athletes (including prior Games athletes) RARELY use anything heavier than (50# Men/35# Women)

The most important thing is that you choose weights that:
  1. Allow you to move safely and efficiently
  2. Challenge you

Pick a starting point and accumulate a few different dumbbell sets over time.

Myth #4: Dumbbells are NOT beginner friendly.

When it comes to doing complex movements like dumbbell snatches or Devil Press, we can completely understand this, but don’t let that scare you off.

If you are someone who is just starting out with your fitness journey, the Street Parking team has two main recommendations during this beginning phase that will help you get comfortable and work your way towards the more complex movements over time:
  • Prioritize getting comfortable with the dumbbell movements listed below:
    • Dumbbell Deadlift
    • Dumbbell Goblet Squat
    • Dumbbell Swing
    • Dumbbell Overhead Press
    • Farmer Lunges
    • Farmer Step Ups
    • Bent Over Rows
  • Start utilizing the SHIFT workouts first:
    • Within our Street Parking program we offer SHIFT, which is the simplified version of our daily workout. This option will allow you to:
    • Perform a lot of the movements with just ONE dumbbell
    • Decrease the weight loads as needed
    • Decrease the coordination of certain movements as needed
During the entire month of April, the Street Parking team and thousands of our members work out for the entire month with JUST our dumbbells.

That’s right -- it can be done, we’re doing it, and we’d love for you to find out for yourself.

Project April kicks off Thursday, April 1st. You must be an active member to join in on the fun!