How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?

How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?

How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift? anime series cover art
How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?


How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift? (Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? / ダンベル何キロ持てる?) was one of the three best anime of the season. If you’re curious, the other two are Vinland Saga and Skilled Teaser Takagi-san 2nd Season. Each of these series are good in their own right.

Where this series succeeded was in its comedy and ability to almost make you want to go work out. Almost. It was actually very similar to how Laid-Back Camp almost made you think winter camping of all things would be fun. Luckily I came back to my senses before hitting the gym.

How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift? follows four female high school students and one of their female teachers as they join Silverman Gym with the goal of getting completely shredded. Well, I don’t actually think any of them want that, but they do want to get in shape in time for Summer so they can get boyfriends.

Hibiki Sakura from the anime series How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?
Hibiki Sakura

But, back to the comparison with Laid-Back Camp. Just as that series included little winter camping tips for beginners, this series does the same thing, but with workouts. At least once per episode the “action” stops and our characters explain a simple workout to us that we can do at home.

And, at the end of each episode, after the credits, there’s a short workout for viewers to follow along with. With that said, I have a confession to make: I did not follow along with a single workout during the post-credits scenes. I like to think at least one of the people watching along with me over on Discord did though.


Hibiki Sakura is our protagonist. She’s a bit overweight thanks to her love of all things food — I can’t blame her, I could eat right now. However, she’s determined to lose a few kilos by the time Summer comes around so she’ll be in swimsuit shape.

Akemi Souryuuin is the second girl we’re introduced to. I don’t actually remember if she is, but she seems like the class president type so I’ll just go with that. Akemi is also insanely rich and insanely obsessed with muscles, both unlike Hibiki.

Ayaka Uehara is next. She’s one of Hibiki’s friends from before she joined the gym. However, Ayaka is no stranger to fitness like Hibiki is. Her family owns a boxing gym and Ayaka is one of the trainers there. She eventually joins Silverman Gym with the other girls.

The fourth and final student is Gina Boyd, a Russian exchange student and complete weeb. If you’ve ever seen Kemono Friends, Gina looks exactly like Shoebill. Her color palette and clothing is the same, even down to the yellow scarf-thing.

Naruzou Machio from the anime series How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?
Naruzou Machio

Satomi Tachibana is a teacher from the high school the other girls attend. You can tell she’s a teacher because her last name is Tachibana, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anime character with that name who wasn’t a teacher. She’s 29, single, and cosplays as a hobby.

The final main character is Naruzou Machio, the personal trainer who instructs the girls at Silverman Gym. Machio has a tendency to flex so hard that his clothes explode off his body. When this happens, his body roughly triples in size due to his muscles.

Character References

Aside from Gina of the main cast who is an obvious reference to Shoebill for an unknown reason, there are side and background characters who are references to real-world celebrities. I probably missed a couple of them, but let’s go through the ones I remember.

First up we have Barnold Shortsinator, an obvious reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not only is Barnold a world-class bodybuilder, but he’s also starred in a number of action movies as well. What I liked about his character is that despite this obvious reference it’s implied that the actual Arnold Schwarzenegger also exists in this universe.

Jason Sgatham is another character referencing a real person, this time Jason Statham. Jason works as one of Barnold’s underlings and joins Silverman Gym as the middleman between Barnold and the rest of the cast.

The third real-world character reference is Comrade Poutine who is a reference to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. He’s not a real character in the series, but Gina talks about him and we see a picture of him posing shirtless with a bear.

Then we also have a character from another anime. I’m not sure this one counts as a reference, because it’s more like a cameo. Ozu Toshio from Kengan Ashura is a semi-recurring character in How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift. I haven’t seen Kengan Ashura though, so I couldn’t tell you any more about him.

Did you happen to catch any other character references in this anime? If so, let me know down in the comments.


Overall I gave How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift? an 8/10. However, I want to point out that this is a low 8, very close to a 7. It would have been a more solid 8 if it had replaced the workout instructions with more actual content, but I get that’s the show’s gimmick.

And despite how much I liked the majority of the series, the best parts were actually the OP and ED. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it in the future, but the Summer 2019 season was one of the best as far as OPs and EDs are concerned. Even the bad anime had good OPs and EDs.

For this series in particular, I think the OP was better than the ED. The visuals were more entertaining and the song was catchier. This also may have been my favorite OP of the season, though that’s a tough call. There are so many good OPs to choose from this season.

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