Incorporate many types of dumbbell exercises for a tough workout.
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When you are limited with equipment and only have dumbbells, but want a hardcore total-body workout, there are plenty of options. Full-body workouts should include every major muscle group, including the chest, back, shoulders, legs and abs. Unfortunately, there is an assumption that this type of workout requires a ton of equipment and machines. By using compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups in one movement, circuits with limited rest and high-intensity intervals, you can get a full-body intense workout with just a set of dumbbells.
Compound exercises work at least two muscle groups within one movement, and generally combine an upper- and lower-body exercise. Some great combinations to try are squats to dumbbell shoulder presses or lunge walks combined with biceps curls. According to Muscle and Performance, these exercises also challenge your core because you have to keep your entire midsection tight to control the movement between upper and lower body. They also suggest renegade rows, which is a pushup holding onto dumbbells combined with a single-arm row. In addition, try dumbbell split squats, with your back leg elevated on a bench, combined with lateral raises.
Add a high-intensity interval into your dumbbell circuit to raise your heart rate, torch calories and bump up the intensity. Try dumbbell burpees and squat jumps or lunge jumps holding onto dumbbells. You can also do mountain climbers or jump thrusts from a pushup position, or jumping jacks holding onto light dumbbells.
Complete your total-body circuit by incorporating core exercises. These will focus on the abdominal muscles while also strengthening your entire midsection. Lie on the floor, or a stability ball if one is available, grab your dumbbells and do a chest press combined with a crunch. Do bird-dogs with a dumbbell, starting on all-fours, and reaching a hand and the opposite leg as far out as they can go, then touch your knee to your elbow below your torso. Finally, sit and lean back, hold a dumbbell and twist side to side to execute seated torso twists.
Rotate through exercises in circuits to keep moving and your heart rate elevated. Choose a compound exercise and a dumbbell weight that fatigues your muscles in 10 to 15 repetitions, suggests the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Move directly into a high-intensity interval exercise and do 30 to 60 seconds. Finally, choose a core combination and do 10 to 20 repetitions. Make it challenging. Do three sets of each circuit, then rest for two to three minutes. Train three days per week on non-consecutive days for best results. MuscleTech recommends varying your exercises and the order in which you do them -- and aim for at least one exercise per muscle group, or eight to 10 exercises total.
- вЂњEssentials of Strength Training and ConditioningвЂќ; National Strength and Conditioning Association; Baechel, Thomas R. and Earle, Roger W; 2008
- MuscleTech: The Full Body Workout for Extreme Fitness
- Muscle and Performance: 11 Best Dumbbell Exercises