Nothing will motivate you to work out regularly like not having to leave the house to do it. If you aren’t rolling in enough dough for your own at-home fitness center, you can still start a homebody training program with a set of hand weights. Since you can use them while you’re sitting on the couch in front of the TV, they’re incredibly convenient workout tools. So how do you select a pair for the most effective exercise session? You’ll need to pay attention to the weight, the grip, and the shape of the dumbbells.


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If your dumbbells weigh in at between five and 10 pounds, you’re hitting the optimum size recommended by top trainers. If you use this as a starting point, you’ll be able to do a number of exercises targeting different muscles. From that foundation, you can build up a collection of weights of varying sizes. If you’re short on space and want the variety benefits of multiple dumbbells, adjustable weights allow you to add and subtract plates as needed, so you can raise the bar without the need for multiple sets of weights.

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Rubber-coated dumbbells allow for a tighter grip and help leave your hands in the smooth, uncalloused shape to which they’ve become accustomed. Another benefit: They won’t make a loud thud if you accidentally drop them on the floor. One drawback is that the rubber might start to wear off after a while. Naked hand weights will probably last longer, but be careful not to let them slip.


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You can get your hand weights with rounded ends or hexagonal ends. It’s really a matter of taste, as both will allow you to accomplish the same training goals—though weights with rounded heads might be more comfortable while doing certain exercises. When you place the weights down on the floor between sets, ones with hex-shaped ends tend to stay still, while ones with rounded ends might roll back and forth. It’s annoying but not the end of the world—or your workout.