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April 16

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The Best Hand Weight Dumbbells for Women

By Tami Smith

April 16, 2020


Ready to take your strength training game to the next level? The first place to start when getting serious about strength training is with a great set of dumbbells for women -- these are some of the most important, and often only, tools you need to get an awesome workout in.

Strength training is so beneficial for our health and overall physique. As a recovering cardio junky, I can tell you first hand that training with weights creates more lean muscle mass, boosts your metabolism, and helps you create that slim, toned body without all the hours spent grinding away on the treadmill.

When it comes to getting the right weights, it can be confusing to know which ones will serve you best -- they’re not all created equal! And this is an important investment in your health and fitness, so it’s important that you get it right. 

We put together a list of our favorites based on our research, personal experience, and knowledge with weight training. We’re giving you the best sets to buy based on your goals, whether that be to slim down, tone up, or add on some extra bulk -- we’ve got you covered.

Top 5 Dumbbells For Women

Adding a set of hand weights to your home gym is one of the best decisions you’ll make for your fitness. You don’t need much to be able to work out from the comfort of your own home. A good set of weights, a yoga mat, and maybe some resistance bands, and you’re well on your way to achieving your goals. Finding the best dumbbells for women has never been easier with our list!

Half the battle of getting the right weight sets is finding where to get high-quality, reliable equipment that will last through years of workouts. That’s why we decided to put together a post with the best weight sets for 2020.


an image of the fitness gear neoprene dumbbell set

These come in weights between 1 lb. and 20 lb. options. These are neoprene, which is perfect for all your cardio and strength training needs. These are ideal for everyone from beginners to experienced lifters who are looking to tone and tighten every inch of their muscles, even those small, hard to reach places.

The interior is made of cast iron which delivers a solid performance. And the neoprene exterior makes it easy to maintain your grip comfortably. These come in a variety of colors that are attractive and make working out more fun. 

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Features we love:

  • Neoprene exterior for easy gripping
  • Cast-iron core for extreme durability
  • Perfect for cardio and strength training alike

an image of the ethos dumbbells set

These from ETHOS are very basic in design but pack a mean punch when it comes to weight training. These come in options from 5 lb. to 35 lb. options, so these are great for ladies who are more advanced and looking to bump up their weight training and muscle gains.

These are rubber coated for reduced noise and protection on your floors. These are made to last, so you can feel confident that these will be a lifelong part of your home gym. We love how simple the design is and that the color is consistent across all weights -- if having a cohesive flow in your gym space is on your wish list. 

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Features we love:

  • High-quality rubber coating to reduce noise and protect floors
  • Ergonomic handles for a comfortable grip
  • Solid color
  • Wide range of weights 
  • The perfect addition to strength training and cardio workouts

Overall rating: 9.7 / 10

Want to save space and money? This set from PowerBlock Sport is the perfect answer. This is an adjustable set that packs the power of nine different pairs into the space of one. Weights range from 10 to 50 lbs. These feature a patented selector pin that makes for easy adjustment, so no worries about wasting time adjusting weights between sets.

We love this adjustable weight set for women who know they’re planning to continue on their weightlifting journey and don’t want to buy more and more weights along the way. Although the investment is more, in the beginning, it will pay off as you progress your way through the weights.

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Features we love:

  • Easy adjustment from 10 to 50 lbs. 
  • Patented selector pin technology that adjusts in seconds
  • Space-saving design

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For the ladies that don’t have any hand weights at home yet and are just starting out on their journey to strength and toning, this set is awesome. You get all the weights you need to start off your fitness journey on the right track. This set includes 3 lb. , 5 lb. and 8 lb. options.

We love that these come with their own little weight rack for easy storage and tidy gym space. These are excellent for adding to any kind of workout, from adding intensity to your Pilates routine to performing compound movements, you have the ability to play with your weight and bump up or down as necessary.

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Features we love:

  • 3 different weights for a variety of exercises
  • Perfect for adding resistance to your cardio training
  • Included rack for easy storage and organization
  • Differing colors 
  • Rubber coating for easy, secure grip

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When you think weights, this may be the first thing you think of. These are basic rubber hex style with partially-knurled chrome handles that provide awesome grip.

If you’re a no-frills kind of gal, these will be right up your alley. Weight options run from 10- 40 lbs., making these perfect for experienced and/or serious lifters who know they’ll need more than a few pounds to get a good burn-in. 

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Features we love:

  • Hexagonal shaped ends to prevent rolling
  • Not too bulky
  • Chrome grip 
  • Simple design

What to Look For in a Women’s Weight Set

As you’re searching for ones that will help power you through some awesome strength training workouts, there are a few things to consider:

Durability

Most dumbbells you purchase will be durable, however, the ones made of cast iron and rubber-encased are by for the most durable. On the contrary, neoprene and vinyl tend to peel away after extended use which can affect your grip -- but this is usually only an issue if you’re a hard-core lifter.

Grip

Some options will have a textured grip, and other do not. This may not be necessary for lighter weights, but the heavier you go, the more important it is that you’re able to maintain a tight grip.

End Cap

The end of the weights will either be hexagon-shaped or round. If you’re purchasing heavier weights, it’s important that the end cap is a hex-end because it will prevent it from rolling around and potentially causing injuries.

Type of Workout

If you’re planning to simply strength train with your weights, any weights will do. However, if you’re going to use them for aerobic, Pilates, or yoga-style workouts, you’ll want to get some that are neoprene or vinyl covered for safety.

Budget

Your budget may dictate which pairs you choose. For those with a tighter budget or who are just dipping their toes into the strength-training game, you can grab individual sets or low-weight sets fairly inexpensively. On the other hand, if you’re looking to make an investment into your long-term health and fitness, you can purchase a pair of adjustable ones that will grow with you for years to come.


FAQs

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about dumbbells for females. Be sure to read through these questions and answers as you figure out which ones are best for you and your fitness needs and goals.

Q: How many pairs do you need?

A: If you’re researching options for your home fitness routine, one of the first things you want to do is determine how many pairs you need. Some models on our list are sold as individual pairs and others come in a three-part set.

Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages and the one you choose will depend on your personal fitness goals. 

If you’re a beginner, you may want to start by purchasing a women’s weight set that has a few different weight options because this is a great way to experiment with which weights work best for you and they allow you to perform a number of exercises and grow within them -- bumping your weights up as you progress.

Additionally, when you compare buying several pairs of individual weights with the cost of purchasing them in a set, you can save a decent amount of money by buying them that way. I personally find that having a variety of weights to choose from is super helpful as I do all different kinds of workouts, some requiring heavier weights and others more suited for lightweights. 

For the ladies who are looking to really build muscle or perform compound exercises, the weights that come in the standard sets we listed about may not cut it or be effective for your style and goals. If you fall into this category, I suggest that you purchase a set of adjustable ones as they provide virtually every weight that a female would need, regardless of their goals.

Q: What Size Should You Use?

A: This is a very individual question and the answer will depend on you and your personal fitness goals as well as your workout style. Generally speaking, for the ladies who are looking for a solid start in strength training at home, you should plan to have pairs ranging from 3lbs to 8lbs. 

Weights in this range are light enough for beginners to use safely while also providing enough resistance for the more advanced lifters. 

One of the considerations you’ll want to examine before making a purchasing decision is what kinds of workouts you’ll be doing with your weights. For example, thos who want to build up muscle mass and are experienced lifters should go for heavier weights, think 10-20 lbs. 

The goal of weight training is to start light and work your way up. So an exercise performed with 3 lb weights may give you a great workout for your first couple of weeks of doing it, but you’ll eventually get stronger and will require a heavier weight to continue to see progress and changes. When this happens, it’s nice to have that set of 5lb ones waiting in the wings. 

The weight you use will also depend on the exercise. For many ladies, myself included, I am not as strong in my upper body as I am in my lower body. So for exercises like squats and lunges I can use 10-20 lbs. weights. However, my range for my upper body is 5-10 lbs.

The bottom line is, most females who are beginner to average lifters should have at their disposal the following weights: 

  • 5 lb. 
  • 8 lb. 
  • 10 lb. 
  • 12 lb.
  • 15 lb.

These should get you through any workout you do, with plenty of room for growth and modification. As you continue on your journey and build additional strength, you can add in 20 lb. dumbbells and 25's when necessary.

Q: Are They Good For Weight Loss?

A: Yes! They sure can be. Lifting weights allows you to burn off the fat that’s sitting stubbornly on top of your muscles. Lifting weights also builds and strengthens the muscles in your body which causes your metabolism to increase and more fat loss to occur.

The most important thing to keep in mind if you’re looking to lose weight through strength training is that you train your whole body. Even if it’s your legs that you want to slim down, by working the whole body, you’ll rev your metabolism and get the best possible results.

Q: Will Weight Training Make Me Bulky?

A: No. This is such a common misconception and it prevents many females from experiencing the benefits of this type of exercise. I get it, I used to feel the same way. I thought that lifting weights would increase my muscles to the point where I’d look bulky. 

The truth is, weight training makes you stronger and leaner. Many women, myself included, actually respond better to weight training than cardio. Both types of exercise are important components to overall fitness, however, straight cardio won’t build the kind of lean muscle mass you need to burn calories and achieve that slim, toned look.

Q: Does Lifting Dumbbells Burn Belly Fat?

A: The more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn. So, yes, you should definitely see a decrease in belly fat along with your weight training program. Don’t forget, the old adage “abs are built in the kitchen,” always rings true.

You can’t out-train a bad diet! No matter what part of your body you’re looking to transform, if you’re not fueling your body properly you won’t achieve the results you desire.

Q: Do I Need Women-Specific Ones?

A: No. There’s really no difference between men’s and women’s options. The only difference is that males tend to lift a bit heavier than females and the sets that are designed for women tend to have bright, pretty colors.

Q: How Many Days Per Week Should Women Train With Them?

A: For most females, 2-3 days per week should be sufficient to maintain and improve strength. It’s important that you train all muscle groups and mix in some cardio, yoga, or bodyweight strength in between training days. 

That said, those who are experienced lifters can lift as many times a week as they wish as long as they’re doing so safely.

Q: Do I Need Them For Strength Training to be Effective?

A: No. You can easily perform strength training exercises with bodyweight only and still enjoy the amazing benefits of strengthening your muscles. You can also substitute resistance bands, kettlebells, or things around your home, like soup cans or laundry detergent, if you’re not ready to invest in dumbbells yet.

The Bottom Line

Alright ladies, hopefully, I gave you the inspiration you need to get out there and start weight training at home. There are so many amazing benefits of lifting and so much freedom and versatility when you have your own weights at home. I don’t know about you, but I love my home workouts -- no need to get child care, drive anywhere, or wait for the weights you need to free up at your busy gym.

If you’re looking for the best, simple home gym equipment that you can easily set up in any room of your home, here’s what we recommend:

This gym mat

These resistance bands

This kettlebell set

This water bottle

And of course some of the weights from our list above! That’s all you need to get a great workout in at home. Happy weight training, ladies!

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