Let us be honest, everyone likes a bicep curl. There is something incredibly satisfying about pumping a dumbbell in a sleeveless vest, admiring the swell of your muscles in the mirror.
But the truth is, however, a bicep curl--while a great supplementary exercise--isn't going to be enough. If you've just embarked on a strength training program, you should be focusing on what trainers call the “Big 3”, compound exercises that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Want to know more about them? Read on
The back squat: Great legs begin here, truly. The back squat works on a number of muscles in your lower body, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors and calves. Here is how you do it right. You can also do the back squat with dumbbells at home. Remember to start light before you go heavy. As ever the correct form is everything.
The deadlift: This intense move works on a number of body parts, including all those in the lower back, core and legs. It is great for core stability and strength and yes, burns a fair number of calories. Just remember, take the time to learn the form right because a bad deadlift can ruin your back.
The deadlift also works well with dumbbells or even kettle-bells. However, again, you need to ensure that your form is correct and that you're not performing a totally different move altogether. Here's a great guide to checking whether you're mistaking a dumbbell squat for a deadlift.
The Bench Press: This is a great move to increase upper body strength, get great arms and pecs and look like a bad-ass on Instagram. One can bench press either using a barbell, using different variations to focus on specific muscle groups. Start pressing right away.
If you're using a dumbbell for the press, then remember to add some progressive overloads in order to get a great burn. Here's a great primer on how to do the bench press properly with dumbbells.