The use of dumbbells as a resistance training modality has a long history. After a brief review of that history, we will look at the types of dumbbells and their uses and the equipment needed to perform the exercises in this book.
The term dumbbells may have originated in Tudor England and referred to equipment simulating the action of ringing a church bell used by people learning the technique and building the strength required for English bell ringing. The clapper in the bell was tied back so that no sound was produced. As a result, the equipment was referred to as dumb-bells. When athletes started to make their own equipment for strength training, they kept the name dumbbell, even though the shape of the equipment had changed. In the early 17th century, dumbbells were manufactured that began to resemble the dumbbell we are familiar with today.