How To Make Dumbbells Heavier (At Home Tips To Add Weight)

Dumbbells of any kind are an excellent tool for building a great physique. They are perfect for isolation movements and progressive overload, and they are relatively cheap and easy to use. This means that they are a great addition to any home gym setup. 

Unfortunately, unless you have bought a top-end adjustable set, you may find that you quickly progress to a point where you need heavier dumbbells than you bought to begin with. This can be a costly endeavor. 

In this article, we will discuss some different methods you can use to increase the weight of your dumbbells, some strategies for creating make-shift DIY dumbbells, and some techniques to maximize your efforts. 

Lifting heavy weights has a range of different benefits, both in terms of your physique and aesthetics and your overall health. Lifting heavy weights improves your self-confidence and reduces anxiety for a start. 

Then, of course, lifting heavier weights will increase your strength. Strength is your ability to lift heavy objects and will give your muscles definition. Lifting heavier is also a great way to increase the muscle mass in your body. Lifting heavy weights is the best possible way to achieve those pecs of steel or bulging biceps. 

It’s a common misconception that weightlifting is just for getting big. In reality, weightlifting is also one of the best possible methods you could use to drop body fat and lose weight too.

Studies have shown that your body experiences an after-burn following heavyweight sessions. During this time, your body uses more calories than normal, meaning you need less cardio and exercise to reach a calorie deficit. 

You also get an incredible boost in hormone production when you lift weights regularly. One of these hormones is IGF-1 which is responsible for building brain synapse connections and improving cognitive ability. 

The style of resistance training that is done with a dumbbell is also useful for more than just strengthening your muscles. Weightlifting also improves the quality of your bone density and connective tissue. This means you are less likely to be injured in everyday life. 

person holding dumbbell in front of a rack

How To Make Dumbbells Heavier (Tips For Muscle Building)

If you are feeling the need to increase the weights in your dumbbell routines, we highly recommend you consider the following tips first. When utilized correctly, they will massively improve your muscle-building potential without the need to buy more dumbbells. 

Firstly, consider increasing the time under tension of your lifts. If you like to get your sets over as quickly as possible, you are missing out on some high-quality hypertrophy. The best way to complete your lifts is slowly and intensely. This is for the contractions and the release. When lowering the weights back to a neutral position, try to actively slow the descent down instead of allowing them to drop. 

Isometric holds are another great way to really burn out the muscles. Take the bicep curl, for example. A popular isometric movement for the bicep curl is something we call 7's. 

To do this, you hold a dumbbell in each hand. Start with your biceps contracted and the weights on your shoulders. Proceed through the movement by lowering the weights until you hit the 90-degree mark, then raise them to your shoulders again. Do this seven times. 

For the next 7, you will start with your arms fully extended, curl the dumbbell again until you reach the 90-degree mark, parallel to the floor. 

For the final 7, you will complete full curls from top to bottom. This is an intense exercise, and you should feel your biceps destroyed in the process. 

Another great way to increase the resistance of your exercise is to utilize resistance bands on the negative. Let's look at the bicep curl again. If you loop a resistance band around the weight and then under a bench, you will be able to lift the dumbbells against the band's resistance. This will make it harder to complete the motion and require you to really focus on the negative aspect of the curl. 

If you are really feeling the need to add simple weight, you might want to consider using a chain and a weight plate attached to the bottom. This is a quick and easy method to add as much weight as necessary to your curls. 

Finally, if you have not already explored super-sets, maybe it’s time to start. Super-sets and tri-sets are the names given to exercises that include two movements without a break in the middle. An example of this would be 10 reps x bicep curl, followed by 10 reps x hammer curl without a break in the middle.  

set of dumbbells on a rack

How To Make Heavy DIY Dumbbells At Home  

It has become a popular hobby nowadays to build DIY gym equipment yourself. This is not only fun but will save you a fortune on new equipment, or at the very least, allow you to bridge the gap. 

Here are some of the creative ways we have seen people create hand-made dumbbells: 

Homemade Water Bottle Dumbbells 

Water bottle-based dumbbells are quick and easy to make, simply find a large water bottle and fill it with water until the weight your desire, and voila, quick and easy dumbbells. 

Homemade Dumbbells With Sand 

If you aren't quite getting to the weight you desire utilizing water bottles and water, filling containers with sand is another common method. A bottle full of sand is heavier than a bottle full of water. 

Homemade Concrete Dumbbells 

If you need to get heavier once again, mixing up some ready-made instant concrete and filling a water jug with concrete will give you much heavier weights than either sand or water alone can create. 

Step-By-Step Instructions

The steps for creating these three types of dumbbells are identical. You simply interchange the filling of the water bottle for either water, sand, or ready mix concrete. 

  1. 1
    The first step is to obtain 8 water bottles per dumbbell and fill them to the weight you prefer.  
  2. 2
    Next, take some strong heavy-duty tape and wrap the 4 bottles together in a 1x1x1x1 square shape. 
  3. 3
    Now you need to take a pipe or broom handle cut to size and insert it into the space in the middle of the 4 water bottles, at the bottom, not the side with the lids. 
  4. 4
    Next, take the other 4 and mount them in the same way on the other side of the "handle." 
  5. 5
    Once you have made sure they are mounted in the same position, use the tape to secure the 4 bottles on each side to the pipe or broomstick handle. Make this as tight as possible to create a more stable center of gravity during lifts. 
  6. 6
    If you have used water or sand, adjusting the dumbbell is as easy as unscrewing the lids and lowering or raising the amount of water or sand inside. 
metal adjustable dumbbell

Why Consider Adjustable Dumbbells For More Weight? 

Home and garage gyms tend to come with several requirements and restrictions: Cost, Space, and Convenience. 

One answer to all three questions is to look at buying a good adjustable dumbbell set. These innovative dumbbells are usually comprised of a single handle with a set of weight plates that can be added instantly and with ease. 

Adjustable dumbbells are perfect for space-saving, compared to fixed dumbbells as you will only need one handle, and usually, they come with a space-saving tower system that will save you a lot of real estate in your gym. 

They are also a lot more cost-effective compared to buying a whole rack and a whole set of vinyl or rubber dumbbells like the ones you usually find in commercial gym settings. 

core fitness adjustable dumbbell

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the heaviest weight of a dumbbell? 

The heaviest dumbbell is a dumbbell known as the "Thomas Inch." This dumbbell weighs 172lbs. 9oz, around 78KG. One of the reasons it is known for being near impossible to lift is due to the size of the handle, which is nearly 6CM in diameter, and of course, the exceptionally high weight. 

How much do the heaviest dumbbells usually cost? 

The cost of the dumbbell will usually rely more on the quality and the precision of the construction as opposed to the weight. One 25KG dumbbell set may be $50 one may be $300. 

How much do adjustable dumbbells usually cost? 

This varies from brand to brand, but usually, adjustable dumbbells will cost less than a complete set of dumbbells from that given brand. Some adjustable dumbbells are under $400, and some cost up to $1500. The price depends on the quality. 

Can you make your dumbbell lighter? 

Unless you have built dumbbells full of water or sand, or you have purchased an adjustable dumbbell set, you will not be able to reduce the weight of a dumbbell. 


We hope that this article has helped you out in some way. Dumbbells are one of the backbones of most workout and fitness routines, and making sure you have the right weights for the right job is crucial if you don't want to see stalls to your gains. 

Good luck and heavy lifting! 

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.