Remember when we used to pick up a set of dumbbells and do boring things like plain old biceps curls or chest presses? Well, most of us probably still do those exercises, but it's nice to know there are always new exercises to try, like these dumbbell circles - my current favorite exercise.
I'm digging these because, first, they're perfect for working the core and the upper body at the same time. Second, I really like the balance and control required for this exercise. You take it nice and slow, rather than swinging the weights, which really challenges those stability muscles.
The key to this exercise is, first, start with a light-moderate weight. I'm using 8 lbs, just to give you a reference point. You want to be able to control the weight throughout the entire movement. Second, make sure you pivot your feet as you're turning to avoid tweaking your knees. The idea is to make one large circle, arms straight, while you turn your body, if that makes any sense.
Last, try not to swear at your trainer halfway through the set (actually, that piece of advice is for my clients...so you can ignore that).
Do it right: Begin facing front, weights in hands. Turn to the right, pivoting on the feet, and lift the weights straight up and overhead. Pivot to the front and then continue to the left, taking the weights down to finish the circle. At the end of the movement, you should be facing forward once again. Complete 4-8 circles on one side and then the other, focusing on the core and the shoulders.