On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m showing you 5 ways to make light dumbbells feel heavier for home workouts.
With so many gyms being closed, more and more people now have to transition to working out at home, me included.
One of the main problems most people face while working out at home is the lack of weight.
So today, I’m showing you 5 ways to make dumbbells feel heavier.
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Alright, here’s tip number 1 on how to make light weight feel heavy at home.
We indicate tempo counts inside our workout programs.
The tempo of a lift is simply defined as the time, in seconds, it takes to lift and lower a weight.
The most effective way to make your dumbbells feel heavier is to slow down the lowering of the weight.
For example, the first number in the 4 digit tempo references the eccentric portion of the lift, which is typically how many seconds to lower the weight.
If you only have access to light weights, and the tempo in the program tells you to lower the weight for 3 seconds, increase that time under tension.
Rather than lowering for a 3 second count, lower for a 5 second count.
This will help increase the time under tension for the targeted muscle, thus making the light dumbbell feel heavier.
Depending on how light the weight is, complete a 10-20 second isometric hold, at the most difficult range of the exercise, prior to completing the indicated number of reps in the program.
The bigger the discrepancy of weight, the longer you should hold the isometric hold.
If you only have access to light dumbbells, but the program calls for a dumbbell flat bench press, use only one dumbbell at a time.
An example of this is the single arm dumbbell flat bench press.
This loads up one side of the body, which makes the exercise less stable, thus causing your muscles to work harder to stabilize the movement.
Another unilateral variation is the alternating dumbbell flat bench press.
Again, this alternating movement creates more instability thus requires more muscle activation.
Finally, if your weights are really light, you could keep one dumbbell in an isometric hold at the most difficult portion of the range, while the other arm completes it’s reps in full range of motion.
Then switch sides.
This is another way to increase the time under tension.
Rather than lowering the dumbbells then raising them back to the top, complete a 1 and 1/2 rep.
For example, with the dumbbell squat, lower into the squat, then raise half way up, drop back to the bottom of the squat, and then come back up to the top.
That’s a 1 and 1/2 rep.
Adding resistance bands to your dumbbell exercises is a great way to increase the weight of the lift.
Resistance bands are also very affordable.
Here’s a link to the resistance bands that we use.
For the dumbbell flat bench press, simply place the resistance band around the back of your upper torso, then loop the sides around your thumbs.
Grip the dumbbells and complete your reps.
Watch how I add resistance band to the dumbbell exercise here.
You’ll notice adding resistance bands makes it harder at the top of the lift, once the bands stretch.
Another way to add extra resistance is wearing a weight vest.
Here’s a link to the weight vest that I use.
This is great for bodyweight exercises, but also standing exercises as the added weight challenges more muscles in the body.
To really challenge your body, you can combine any of those tips together.
For example, try a set combining all, or some of these together:
Lastly, to increase the difficulty of your light weight workouts you could also:
I hope you found these 5 ways to make light dumbbells feel heavier for home workouts helpful.
An adjustable dumbbell set is a good space and money saving option compared to buying 10 different pairs of dumbbells.
Here’s an Amazon link to get the same adjustable dumbbell set as I use.
This set gives you a lot of options as it goes from 5 to 50 pounds.
We’re also super excited that our most effective ever, dumbbell only, at home workout program will be launched in less than 3 weeks.
This program design works amazing and will get you insane results, and we’re so excited for you to try it.
Join the Afterburn-DB VIP list and be notified of all the free bonuses and discounts once the program is ready for you in a few weeks.
Start by taking our FREE Live Lean Body Quiz to get access to the best program specific to your goals, current fitness level, and access to equipment.
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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.