This is how you determine the correct dumbbell weight

Is the dumbbell too light, too heavy, or just the right one? With this method you can determine the right weight for your strength exercises in order to train more effectively in the future

When training with dumbbells, the basic rule of thumb for all muscular goals is: The weight is optimal when you can only do the last rep correctly.

But how do you know what the right weight is for you? Especially since the number of repetitions and sets varies depending on the training goal. We explain it here.

When it comes to weightlifting, does the “more is better” rule apply?

You are welcome! Especially with free weights, technically correct execution is more important than the number of pounds on the bar. Increased resistance to movement should be avoided during regular training, because if you no longer have the strength to control it, the probability that you will perform the exercises incorrectly increases. With heavy or even too heavy weights on the bar, the risk of injury increases dramatically. 12 tips on what beginners should pay attention to when doing strength training.

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What is the proper weight for muscle building and optimal muscle growth?

In bodybuilding training, loads that allow 8 to 12 repetitions have proven effective. If you can do less than 8, the weight is too high, if you can do more than 12, it’s too low.

With our training plan you will also get the right exercises for sexy muscles in 8 weeks:

What is the right weight for endurance and maximal strength training?

the resistant force determines how resistant your body is to long-term stress. The following applies to training: less weight and more repetitions. The recommendation for resistance strength training is therefore: light weight, 15 to 25 repetitions per exercise, 24 to 48 hours rest.

the maximum power It is the greatest possible force that the body can exert against a resistance. He trains with high weights and low repetitions. Ideal for maximum strength training: high weights, only 1-5 repetitions possible, a rest phase of up to 4 days. With maximum strength you can improve your physical form to the maximum. This is how you regenerate properly afterwards.

So you see, you should think about what your training goal is before each training session. According to a study conducted by scientists at McMaster University, training with less weight can be just as effective as exercises with heavier weights: it is more important to do the correct number of repetitions with the correct weight.

This is how you choose the right weight: for barbells and dumbbells

Despite these guidelines, many beginners in particular are faced with the problem of choosing the ideal weight for an exercise. After all, you really want to challenge your body while doing all of your planned reps at the same time. With a simple method, you can find out if the chosen weight is too light, too heavy or the right one.

Pick any weight and do 25 reps with it. This works for example with the following exercises: overhead press, pull-ups, bench press, row, squat or deadlift. Why 25? For muscle building or maximal strength training, it is usually (approximately) the absolute number of repetitions of an exercise, for example, 3 sets of 8 repetitions or 5 sets of 5 repetitions.

Do you want to specifically define your arms? Here is his 8-week training plan:

Important: All repetitions must be clean. Don’t skip a rep. If you can’t take it anymore, take a break for about a minute. Write down the sets you need to do the required 25 reps. These show if you have chosen the correct weight.

The weight is too light:

You will need 1 or 2 sets of reps.

The weight is too heavy:

You need 8 or more sentences.

The weight is chosen correctly:

You need 3-5 sets for all the reps.

Do you need 6 or 7 sets for 25 reps? If you can normally handle the weight, it may be because you are exhausted or have not fully recovered. If it’s still 6-7 sets after a few days off, you need to cut back on the weight. If you consistently choose a weight that is too high, you can overtrain.

The best dumbbell exercises for every goal

Dumbbells are the most complete among training tools: effective, technically demanding and easy to use with the right exercises for each muscle. The classics are squats with weights, bench press, (reverse) butterfly, lateral and front raises, deadlifts, rowing, but also functional combination exercises such as lunges plus curls or squats plus shoulder press. Here we show you the 4 best exercises with dumbbells for the whole body in detail.

The correct loading weight for an exercise is determined by the number of sets. Train 3 times a week for 3 weeks: Will your fixed numbers become e.g. B. lower in the squat, you should put more weight on the dumbbell the next time you train. If the number of games exceeds 6, you must play one less disc. Never forget feedback!

This article may contain links to vendors from whom Women’s Health receives a commission. These links are marked with the following icon:


Marco Demuth, managing editor of Men's Health Online

Marco Demuth


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