Dumbbell exercises can help improve posture, increase core strength and decrease the risk of injury, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Researchers found that a group of 30 women were randomly assigned to do two sets of dumbbell exercises, one with their arms and one without.
After three weeks, researchers assessed the participants’ posture and the extent of joint dysfunction.
After the second group performed the same exercise, the group with the arm exercise experienced significant increases in joint pain and joint stiffness compared to those without the arm exercisers.
“If we could eliminate the arm from the dumb-bell exercise, we could probably have a much more positive effect,” said lead author Christina Nadel, an associate professor of physical education and exercise science at The University of Texas at Austin.
“But we still need to understand the exact nature of the problem.”
Dumbbell exercises are considered a “good thing” because they target muscles and tendons that are used to stabilize and support a person’s body, according the study.
Researchers also found that, as long as they aren’t performed to the point of pain, they can improve joint function and decrease joint pain, which in turn, reduces the risk for joint injuries.
“There’s a lot of potential for using dumbbells in rehabilitation,” Nadel said.
“But we need to be careful about using them in a way that hurts.”
Dummy exercises, like the one shown in the photo above, have the added benefit of strengthening the joint muscles that are involved in a dumbbell lift.
Researchers found that those who performed the dummy exercises were significantly less likely to have a pain-related fracture compared to a control group that had no dummy exercise.
The researchers concluded that they have “limited information about the efficacy of dumb- and dumbbell-based exercises to prevent or reduce pain-associated fracture in the elderly.”
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the American Heart Association, the National Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Association of Fitness Professionals of America and the Texas State Athletic Commission.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.