10 Dumbbell Workouts to Tone Your Entire Body
If you’re starting a home gym and want to make a smart initial investment, then adjustable dumbbells are a very smart choice to consider. Adjustable dumbbells are very versatile because they allow you access to multiple weights without having to reserve a lot of space, and they can also help you get a solid training session in. You can use dumbbells to train the entire body from bottom to top.
Don’t believe me? Then, grab your dumbbells and take this article with you to your weight room of choice. I’ve got a full-body training session that will hit all the major body parts in less than one hour. Keep in mind that we’re picking exercises that provide the most bang for the buck, so even though we aren’t isolating each muscle group, everything is going to receive some sort of stress and stimulation, which is what you want with a full-body training program that won’t take the bulk of your schedule.
Squat jumps are going to work the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and even the calves. It will be a great way to fire up all the muscle groups in the lower body. Aside from that, you can work on explosiveness and overall athletic ability. Just make sure you do these outside or that you have enough head space if you jump inside.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and assume a standing position with your arms to your sides. Your neck should be neutral and your back should be straight. Squat down as low as you can or until the dumbbells touch the floor. Don’t allow yourself to bend forward too much on the way down. Once you reach the lowest point, push your feet into the floor and explode up with as much force as you can to jump in the air. Once you land back on your feet, reset and repeat. Always reset your feet and don’t bounce.
Even though the posterior chain got some attention with the first exercise, it would be great to show those muscles some extra attention. The stiff-legged deadlift can help you do just that. If done slowly and correctly, you’ll effectively target both the hamstrings and glutes. Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand with arms at your sides. Your feet should be around shoulder-width apart or a little closer if possible. Bring the weight to the front of the thighs without bending your arms.
Bend at the hips while keeping your back as straight as possible to lower the weights as far as you safely can towards the floor. Imagine yourself trying to make your glutes touch the wall behind you to help keep you in position. Once you reach the lowest point, you should feel a stretch in the back of the thighs. Slowly reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Once you reach the top, squeeze your glutes for a second before going back down for the next rep.
This exercise allows you to improve flexibility, coordination, and work on each leg individually. It can be a great finisher for the lower half of the body before moving on to the upper half. Make sure you have the space and distance to take a short walk for this one.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms to the sides. Stand tall with your feet pointed forward. Take a large step with one foot and push your knee forward. The back knee should be going down towards the ground. If you’re able to, touch the ground with your knee. If not, go as far down as you safely can. Push through the front foot to stand tall and bring the back foot up so it’s beside the front foot again. Repeat the same motion with the opposite foot going forward this time. Once you done this with both feet, that is one rep. Repeat for the desired reps.
Note: If you don’t have enough space, simply do stationary lunges by going back to the starting position after each rep.
Two-Arm Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
We’re going to begin the upper body portion of the workout with another posterior chain exercise. This version of the bent-over row will work the upper back as well as the lats, rear detls, traps, and biceps to a smaller degree. The lower back will have a supporting role as well because you need to remain stable throughout the exercise.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms to the sides. Bend at the hips while trying to keep your back as straight as possible until your upper body is at least at a 45-degree angle. Bring your arms forward so they are hanging in front of you with the weights in your hands. Keep your upper arms close to your sides as you bend your elbows and drive them back behind you to pull the weights up. They should be lifted towards the hips as far as you can pull. Once you reach that point, squeeze the upper back muscles for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps.
You might not have access to a pulldown station or pullup bar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train the lats. This exercise is an old-school favorite and will target those lats as well as the biceps and chest to a lesser degree.
Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in your hands. Hold the inside of the dumbbell by balancing the weight on your hands. Make sure you have it in a solid position once it’s pressed up. While keeping your arms straight, bring the dumbbell back behind your head as far as you safely can until you feel a stretch in the lats. Pause briefly, then reverse the motion slowly to bring the weight back up over the chest to the starting position.
This exercise is usually performed with the lifter lying across the bench instead of on it so they could lower their hips to get an even greater stretch. You can try this if you feel confident, but if you have lower back issues, or are learning the exercise for the first time, stick with lying on the bench the usual way.
Flat Dumbbell Press
The bench press is a standard-bearing exercise for strength, and you can do it with dumbbells too. This is one of the most effective exercises to train the chest, but you can also work the front delts and triceps as added bonuses.
Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Press them up so your arms are straight and the dumbbells are over the chest area. Bend the elbows and slowly lower the weights down until they are at the outside of your chest area. Don’t try to stretch too far out with the dumbbells. If the side closest to the chest can touch the chest, you are good. Use the chest to begin the press back up to the starting position, and flex the triceps to finish the press off. Squeeze the chest at this position for a moment before beginning the next rep.
Seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger had one of the biggest chests in history, and his arms are revered to this day, but he wanted to find a way to train all three heads of the deltoid muscles so he could improve his shoulder development. Thus, the Arnold Press was born. These can be done seated, but he preferred to do them standing, and you would be better for doing so as well because your abs and core will have to do some stabilization work.
Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand with the weights at shoulder height and your palms facing you. This would look like the finish of a curl. Press the weights up over your head and turn your hands as you do so. By the time your arms are straight at the top, the palms should now be facing away from you. Reverse the motion and lower the weights while turning the dumbbells so they are back in the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps.
Dumbbell Upright Row
If you have rotator cuff issues, then you should skip this exercise completely and move on to the next one. However, if you have healthy shoulders, then you may find that this version of a classic exercise can hit the side delts, rear delts, and even the trapezius muscles. It will be a solid way to finish the shoulder portion before moving on to the arms.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hold them so they are at arms’ length down in front of you. Look straight ahead and keep your back straight. Bend the elbows, and lift the weights up towards your shoulders and away from each other. So, you should be making a “V” motion with the weights. Continue pulling them up until your elbows are above your shoulders. Hold this position for a moment before slowly lowering the weights back down to the starting position.
The “V” motion of the lift is what’s going to help you target those side delts. If you want to focus on each side individually, simply start with one dumbbell in the hand of the side you think needs the most work and do your set on that side first. Hold onto a solid object such as a machine or rail so you will be less likely to use momentum and cheat the exercise. Once you finish, switch hands. Just remember to do the same number of sets for both sides.
Lying Tricep Extension
This is a simple one, but it’s a good one. The “skull crusher” is usually associated with the barbell or EZ-curl bar, but the dumbbell version allows you to get a deeper stretch in the tricep, and it can be less stressful on the shoulders and elbows. Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand and press the weights up until your arms are straight and the weights are above you. Your arms should be vertical with the dumbbells over the shoulders.
Have your palms facing each other. Bend at the elbows and lower the dumbbells down until they are beside your ears. Do your best to not allow your upper arms to come back or flare out. Once you feel a stretch in the triceps, reverse the motion to lift the weights back up and contract the triceps. You should be able to flex them hard once your arms are straight again. Flex them for a second and repeat.
Seated Dumbbell Curl
This is going to help you pump up those biceps so you feel good at the end of the session. It’s also an isolation exercise, which won’t take as much energy as the compound exercises from early in the workout. Sit on a chair or bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
Have your palms facing each other with your arms down to your sides. Bend both elbows and turn your wrists so the palms are facing up as you curl the weights up. Curl until the weights are around your shoulder area. Squeeze the biceps as hard as you can before slowly lowering the dumbbells back down to the starting position. You can also perform reps with one arm at a time if you prefer.
You got two choices here.
You can either perform three straight sets of 10-12 repetitions for each exercise with 60 seconds of rest between sets, or you can do a circuit. For those of you that aren’t aware, a circuit is when you do several exercises in a row without rest until you complete the final one.
If you opt for the circuits, then do 10 reps of each exercise, and remember to adjust your dumbbells to the appropriate resistance in between each movement. Once you finish all ten exercises, rest three minutes, and then go one more time.
If you want to torch calories and focus on getting leaner, then take on the circuits. If you’re a beginner or if size is your prize, then do the straight sets and challenge yourself to go heavier.
Regardless of which way you go, train with these exercises twice to three times for a week for four weeks, and you can be confident that you will see positive signs of personal fitness success.
- Be alerted when we publish more like this to our blog here
- Daily workout plans here
- Fitness Equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, etc here
- Free dumbbell workouts here
- Follow along with $1 video workouts here