What dumbells to buy as a beginner?

Priyanka Prasad
3 min readMar 22, 2021

With gyms closing up once again and after a lot of deliberation and consideration, Sally finally decided to start her fitness journey. Although, now she had a new roadblock, how was she going to train. I suggested her that she can train easily at home with just a pair of dumbells. Delighted at that, Sally immediately took a cab to Decathalon and started ruffling through all the aisles looking for dumbells. Once she spotted the right aisle, she immediately went over and started looking through the dumbells placed. There were hex dumbells, rubber coated dumbells, adjustable dumbells and not to mention the “weights ranging from 0.5 kg all the way to 15kgs. Confused and overwhelmed, Sally returned buying none.

As a beginner, we are often overwhelmed as to which dumbells to buy? The questions we often face are how many kgs are appropriate to begin with, what dumbells are better?, are dumbells bought from amazon trustworthy? will just one pair of dumbell suffice as a beginner ?

In this blog I will try to answer all these questions to the best of my knowledge and experience with the endeavour to make these decisions easy for you as a beginner.

How many kgs is appropriate to begin with?

It is important to understand that diffrenet muscle groups need diffrent weights. The weights used for smaller muscle groups like bicep, tricep and shoulders will not be used with larger muscle groups like back, legs and chest. THerefore, while choosing a weight to start with, you might have to take into consideration two different groups of weights.

If you are an absolute beginner, I recommend to start with :

small muscle group:(0.5kg-1.5kg)

large muscle group:(3kg-5kg)

If you do have some experience with weight training, I recommend:

small muscle group:(3kg-5kg)

large muscle group:(5kg-20kg)

What dumbells are better?

Once you know what kg dumbells to start with, you can then decide whether you should go with fixed or adjustable dumbells.

Again if you an absolute beginner, you should start with fixed dumbells as it’s better to start with low weights which will help you build muscle memory and help you learn the form and technique of a given exercise. You can then build up with heavier dumbells. The downside of having regular dumbells are that once you start overloading and buy new pairs, the lighter ones only take up space.

If you have a prior experience in weight training and if your fitness goal is increasing muscle mass or achieving hypertrophy, it’s best to use adjustable dumbells. When following a fitness goal as such, you are expected to progressively overload over a period of time. This is where your adjustable dumbbells will come to maximum use. Additionally, it also helps in switching from large muscle group to small muscle group within the same equipment. The downside of this is that you might have to regularly fix and unfix your dumbells everytime you switch muscle groups which does put you off.

Should you buy hex /rubber coated/pvc dumbells?

If you have decided on buying adjustable dumbells, most come in pvc /rubber/iron. While pvc and rubber are cost effective, they are also delicate and have to be handled with care. On the other hand iron dumbells are strong and sturdy, have a larger shelf life and are expensive.

However, if you are buying fixed dumbells, you would usually find two options to chose from hex or rubber coated. Hex are great for stability and grip and also does not harm your floor. Rubber coated dumbells are also a good choice however rank a little low in terms of grip, safety and stability.

Pointers to keep in mind while buying dumbells

  • As a beginner never start with heavy weights
  • When learning a new exercise, use light weights to learn the correct form first
  • Have at least two pair of dumbells one for each muscle group — small and large
  • Understand your fitness goal first and then invest.

Cheers! Happy lifting

Originally published at https://boldndfit.com on March 22, 2021.



Priyanka Prasad

A Jill of many Trades| Writes about tech, law, business & lifestyle