You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get a good workout. If you’re short on time and looking for a full-body workout that doesn’t require a lot of equipment, we’ve got you covered. The workout, created by personal trainer Sara Kathryns (opens in a new tab), repeats six different exercises and uses only one dumbbell to help you break a sweat. Read on to learn more.
If you’re still working out from home, investing in a set of best adjustable dumbbells it can make all the difference to your workouts. With the twist or click of a button, you can easily adjust the weight you’re lifting, negating the need for multiple pairs of dumbbells around the house. When selecting the right weight for your workout, remember that the dumbbell should make the exercise challenging with the last few reps, but it should never compromise your form.
As always, if you’re just starting out or returning to exercise after an injury, it’s a good idea to check your fitness with a personal trainer.
The full body workout with just one dumbbell
Ready to start? Here is the workout, for which you repeat four rounds:
Squat triceps extension: 12 reps
Hold a dumbbell in both hands above your head. Keeping your arms straight, squat down with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent. Pause at the bottom of the movement, then drive through your feet to stand up. As you do this, lower the dumbbell behind your head for a triceps extension. This is a repeat.
Lateral Raise Side Lunge: 12 reps on each side
For this exercise, hold a dumbbell in one hand, with the other by your side. Move the leg opposite the hand holding the dumbbell to one side and lower into a side lunge, squeezing your core and glutes. As you lunge, lower the dumbbell toward your ankle, then as you push through the floor to the starting position, complete a lateral lift, lifting the dumbbell toward the side of your body. Do 12 reps on each side.
Layup Row: 12 reps
If you have a set of dumbbells, hold one in each hand for this exercise, otherwise hold the dumbbell with both hands. Holding the dumbbells in an underhand grip – palms up, squeeze the shoulder blades and push the dumbbells towards your chest, then extend your arms to the starting position.
Cursty Overhead Lunge: 20 reps
Hold a dumbbell overhead with both hands. Engage your core and complete a curtsy lunge, crossing one leg behind the other and bending at the knees, lowering the hips until the left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Making sure you keep your core engaged, keeping your torso upright, continue alternating legs, completing 10 on each side.
Squat dumbbell chest press: 12 reps
Holding the dumbbell in both hands against your chest, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees to squat. As you lower into a squat, extend your arms and push the dumbbell away from you into a chest press. As you push down on your feet to return to the starting position, bring the dumbbell back to your chest. This is a repeat.
Sit to Squat: 12 reps
For this exercise, hold a dumbbell in both hands against your chest and bend your knees into a squat. From here, sit up, extend your legs out and away from your body, and do a sit-up, engaging your core. Then reverse the movement to return to a standing position.
All of the exercises in this workout are compound exercises, making it a great routine for targeting all major muscle groups in the body. Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at once, compared to isolation exercises, which strengthen a single muscle group at a time. In addition to being an effective use of your time, compound exercises can help you burn more calories when you exercise, increase your heart rate, and improve flexibility and strength.
Another huge benefit of compound exercises is that they can improve intermuscular coordination. This means how effectively the muscles work together: In an exercise like a squat, the hip moves in all three planes, meaning the muscles around the hip must work together. By practicing compound movements, you strengthen these muscles.
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