How heavy should my dumbbells be?


Lady squatting with dumbbells

Determining the appropriate weight for your dumbbells depends on various factors, including your fitness level, the type of exercise, and your fitness goals. Here are general guidelines:

  • Beginners: If you're new to strength training, start with lighter weights. A set of dumbbells ranging from approximately 1 to 7 kilograms for each hand is a good starting point.
  • Intermediate: As you progress, you can gradually increase the weight. For most people at an intermediate level, a set of dumbbells between approximately 5 and 15 kilograms for each hand is suitable.
  • Advanced: Advanced weight lifters may require heavier dumbbells, exceeding 15 kilograms. Adjustable dumbbells or a variety of individual weights can offer flexibility for advanced training, going up to 20 kilograms or more.
  • Specific Exercises: Consider the type of exercises you plan to do. For exercises involving smaller muscle groups, like bicep curls, you might use weights in the lower range. Compound exercises like squats or deadlifts may require heavier weights.
  • Fitness Goals: Your fitness goals also play a role. If your goal is endurance and toning, you might use lighter weights with higher repetitions. For muscle building (hypertrophy) and strength, heavier weights with lower repetitions are common.

There are numerous brands that manufacture dumbbells, each offering different styles, materials, and features. Long established brands such as York, Reebok, adidas and Body Sculpture produce high quality products while newer brands such as HXGN can be more affordable while still maintaining excellent quality.

Always listen to your body, start with a weight that allows you to maintain proper form, and progress gradually to avoid injury. If unsure, consulting with a fitness professional or trainer can provide personalised guidance based on your individual needs and goals.