Why have Dumbbells for your Home Gym? | Vancouver

Why have dumbbells for your home gym? Dumbbells are definitely a fantastic addition to any home gym, whether you're a novice or a pro. Below we've outlined the benefits of using dumbbells, the pros and cons of different types of dumbbells, and some of the many exercises you can perform with dumbbells. 

There are a lot of benefits with using dumbbells and there are different kinds of dumbbells that work for every budget and space. Dumbbells alone can allow you to have a complete full body workout. Pair it with an adjustable bench and the number of exercises you can perform increases even more. Additionally adding resistance bands to the dumbbells can change the strength curve of the dumbbells. Even better if you're able to combine it with barbells and cables, that's the perfect scenario.

Vancouver Dumbbells

Benefits of dumbbells:

By using dumbbells you're able to work your muscles unilaterally which can help to bring up lagging muscle groups. Often times with a barbell, your stronger side can make up for the weaker side which can further lead to muscular imbalances. Another benefit of dumbbells is that because you're often using them unilaterally, it requires your muscles to stabilize the weights which can further stimulate the muscles and definitely makes it more challenging. The great thing with dumbbells is that there are a variety of choices, from cheaper to more expensive options that work for everyone.

Vancouver Dumbbells


Dumbbells allow for a variety of exercises that can workout your whole body. If you have limited space for a home gym, dumbbells can be a great addition as you can go with adjustable dumbbells which are compact or even go with a 2 or 3 tier dumbbell rack which often don't take up too much space. Pair it with a bench and the number of exercises you're able to do increases, and you can have a very space-efficient yet functional home gym. Dumbbells are also very portable and can be taken anywhere. Nice sunny day in Vancouver? Take some dumbbells to Stanley Park and get a good workout in with a view! Dumbbells are fantastic on their own or even better when used in conjunction with barbells and cables. 

Different types of dumbbells and their pros and cons:

There are a number of different types of dumbbell styles including hex dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells, and commercial grade dumbbells. These dumbbells can vary in material and some common material they're made from are rubber (recycled and virgin rubber), steel, and urethane (TPU urethane and CPU urethane). Some dumbbells feature ergonomic handles while others have a straight handle similar to a barbell and both options usually have some sort of knurling on them for grip. There are a number of pros and cons for each style of dumbbell including:

Rubber Hex Dumbbells:

Vancouver Dumbbells


  • These rubber hex dumbbells are usually cheaper, especially if they're made from recycled rubber
  • Can purchase hex dumbbells made from virgin rubber which is more durable than recycled rubber
  • Readily available as a lot of retailers are selling them
  • Can easily do drop sets if you have a full set of dumbbells


  • Hex dumbbells often emit an odor if they are made from cheaper recycled tire rubber
  • Recycled rubber degrades quicker than other dumbbell materials
  • Hex dumbbell handles are not for everyone and can be awkward to hold
  • Larger hex dumbbells often have very large ends which can limit the range of motion of certain exercises
  • Given their larger size, a full set takes up more space for storage
  • Virgin rubber dumbbells usually cost more than recycled rubber dumbbells and will still degrade over time (but not as bad as recycled rubber)
Dumbbells Vancouver

Pictured is a virgin rubber plate that's been used for a few years and while it's not a dumbbell, it shows how the rubber wears over time. 

Adjustable Dumbbells:


  • Adjustable dumbbells are often very compact and don't take up much space
  • There are a lot of different styles of adjustable dumbbells including traditional spinlock dumbbells, bowflex style dumbbells, and ironmaster dumbbells


  • Adjustable dumbbells often have a lot of moving parts which might be prone to breaking
  • Adjustable dumbbells are sometimes not as durable (you can't always drop them)
  • Their size and shape can make them awkward to use and not great for certain movements
  • Need to ensure that they're fully secure for safety
  • Can't do drop sets as easily (depending on the style of adjustable dumbbells)

Steel Dumbbells:

Vancouver Dumbbells



  • Steel dumbbells are usually inexpensive
  • This style of dumbbells usually last a long time (it's not uncommon to see really old steel dumbbells)
  • If you're careful with them, you might be able to drop them (on softer surfaces) 
  • Easily available with a lot of retailers selling them
  • Can easily do drop sets if you have a full set of dumbbells


  • Steel dumbbells can crack if dropped on a hard surface
  • Steel dumbbells tend to rust if exposed to water/high humidity (although painting them with spray paint is very easy)
  • A full set would take up more space

Commercial Grade Dumbbells:


  • Commercial grade dumbbells feel the best in the hands (similar to holding a barbell)
  • Often made of higher quality materials than other options
  • Usually made from urethane which in general is a superior material than rubber as it lasts significantly longer, doesn't degrade, requires less maintenance, and does not have an odor
  • The most durable of all the options and can be dropped (on softer surfaces) and will last a very long time
  • TPU urethane is superior to recycled/virgin rubber in terms of durability
  • CPU urethane is the highest quality of urethane which is very durable and it's commonly used in commercial gyms
  • Can easily do drop sets if you have a full set of dumbbells
  • Urethane doesn't tend to show wear as much as rubber


  • Commercial grade dumbbells are significantly pricier than the alternatives (sometimes 2-3x the price of alternatives) and a full set would cost quite a bit
  • A full set would take up more space
Vancouver Dumbbells


Each style of dumbbell has it's own pros and cons and the best ones really depend on your budget and space. Generally if space is limited, adjustable dumbbells can be a great option. For a cheaper option rubber, steel, and adjustable dumbbells can be great for a more limited budget. If budget and space are not a concern and you want to replicate a commercial gym for your home, then commercial grade dumbbells may be for you. 

    Exercises you can do with dumbbells:

    You can workout your whole body with dumbbells, if you have enough dumbbells. Pair it with an adjustable bench and the options for your workout increases significantly.

    Vancouver Dumbbells and Bench

    Some exercises that you're able to do for different body parts include:


    • Dumbbell Shrugs


    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (standing or seated) 
    • Dumbbell Arnold Shoulder Press
    • Dumbbell Front Raises for anterior shoulder head
    • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises for lateral shoulder head
    • Rear Dumbbell Raises for posterior shoulder head


    • Floor Dumbbell Chest Press for chest, triceps and a bit of shoulders
    • Floor Dumbbell Flyes 
    • Floor Neutral Grip Chest Press for chest, triceps and a bit of shoulders


    • Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
    • Seated Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
    • Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks 


    • Dumbbell Curls
    • Dumbbell Hammer Curls for biceps and brachialis
    • Dumbbell Concentration Curls


    • Dumbbell Forearm Curls


    • Weighted Dumbbell Abdominal Crunches


    • Dumbbell Rows
    • Dumbbell Deadlifts for back, hamstrings, and glutes


    • Lying Dumbbell Hamstring Curl for hamstrings
    • Dumbbell Romanian/Stiff Leg Deadlifts for hamstrings, back, and glutes


    • Dumbbell Goblet squats for quads and glutes
    • Dumbbell Squats for quads and glutes


    • Lying Dumbbell Bridge


    • Standing Dumbbell Calf Raises 

    If you include a bench, you can do additional exercises including:

    • Flat Dumbbell Bench Press for chest, triceps, and shoulders
    • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press for upper chest, triceps, and shoulders
    • Incline Dumbbell Flyes for upper chest
    • Lying Spider Curls for biceps
    • Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows for back
    • Bulgarian Split Squats for quads and glutes
    • Dumbbell Hip Thrust for quads, hamstrings, and glutes
    • Dumbbells Single Leg Hip Thrust for quads, hamstrings, and glutes


    Vancouver Dumbbells

    These are just some of the exercises that can be done using dumbbells which show that not much is needed to workout your whole body. For some of these exercises you can add resistance bands to them to change the strength curve on them and make the exercise more difficult. One example is dumbbell chest flyes which often get easier at the top of the movement, by incorporating bands to this exercise you can make the top portion of the lift more difficult as well.  

    Regardless of which style of dumbbells you choose, they are a fantastic addition to any gym and there are options for every budget and space. Used in conjunction with barbells and cables you get the best of both worlds, however they can be used quite effectively on their own as well. Dumbbells are also very portable and can be moved around as well and can also be used outdoors (ideally on a non rainy day in Vancouver). Whether you're starting a new home gym or adding to an existing one, we would definitely recommend incorporating some dumbbell exercises into your workouts!

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published