This 30-Minute, Full-Body Dumbbell Workout Will Challenge Your Entire Body From Head to Toe
If you're looking for a fun total-body workout using dumbbells, NASM- and ACE-certified celebrity trainer Beth Alexander has created this 30-minute workout just for POPSUGAR readers. She said this workout "challenges your core and your entire body from head to toe and in all directions." Sounds intense!
"These are compound movements, which means they work more than one muscle group at a time, making your workout more efficient and more effective," Alexander told POPSUGAR. She added that all of these exercises challenge your core while building strength in your legs and arms.
This workout should take you between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on how familiar you are with the exercises or how many reps you choose. Beginners should choose the lower amount of reps, and those more advanced should choose the higher amount of reps. Go for lighter dumbbells if you're a strength-training newbie, and if you've been doing this for a while, don't be afraid to challenge yourself with heavier weights. Pump up your favorite music, and let's get sweaty!
Beth Alexander's 30-Minute, Full-Body Dumbbell Workout
Equipment needed: One pair of light- or medium-weight dumbbells; here's a guide for choosing the appropriate weight.
Directions: Warm up with a few minutes of walking in place, going for a brisk walk, or going up and down a flight of stairs 12 to 15 times. Then complete three sets of the following nine exercises, choosing the amount of reps that suit your ability. Complete these exercises back to back to get your heart rate up, and rest as needed between sets, one minute or more if needed.
Remember to focus on bracing (engaging) your core throughout all the exercises. "Bracing your core stabilizes the hips and protects the spine. It's particularly important when lifting weights. The benefits of bracing your core include injury prevention and increased stability," Alexander said.
Cool down with static stretching for your chest, arms, hips, and legs — try this 10-minute stretching routine.
- Squat and curl: 12 to 15 reps
- Side lunge and reach: 10 to 12 reps per side
- Kickstand Romanian deadlift: 10 to 15 reps per side
- Reverse lunge and twist: 10 to 15 reps per side
- Side plank and row: 15 reps per side
- Supine chest press and leg drop: 15 reps
- Russian twist: 15 to 20 reps (twisting to the right and left equals one rep)
- Kneeling single-arm press: eight to 12 reps per side
- Glute bridge and skull crusher: 12 to 15 reps
Squat and Curl
- Start with your feet shoulder-width distance apart and toes pointed out slightly. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, directly in front of your hips. Breathe in and get tall, and as you exhale, brace (engage) your core.
- Inhale and, keeping your chest up, lower yourself into a squat, lowering the dumbbells between your legs toward the floor.
- At the bottom of your squat, perform a bicep curl, bending your elbows and pulling the dumbbells above your shoulders. Exhale as you drive through your heels and stand up. This completes one rep.
- Perform 12 to 15 reps.
Side Lunge and Reach
- Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance apart and toes pointed forward. Hold the dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. Make sure you have space off to your right side.
- Keeping your core engaged, on an inhale, take a big step out to the right side, bending your right knee and coming into a side lunge. Your left leg should be straight but not locked. Both feet should point forward, and your bent knee should point in the same direction as your toes and remain over your ankle or shoelaces.
- Pause and exhale as you reach the dumbbell out directly in front of your chest, keeping your shoulders down and your core braced. On an inhale, bring the dumbbell back to your chest. If this is too difficult, eliminate the forward reach or do it without holding the dumbbell.
- On an exhale, press your right foot into the floor and push off to return to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Perform 10 to 12 repetitions, then repeat on the other side.
Kickstand Romanian Deadlift
- Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your hips, with your feet hips-width distance apart, and your bodyweight shifted to your left foot. Step your right foot 10 inches behind you, and rest your toes on the ground as a kickstand.
- Point your feet straight ahead, and bend your back knee slightly. Inhale to stand tall, and as you exhale, engage your core.
- On an inhale, hinge (bend) at your hips as you lower the dumbbells toward your left foot, keeping the dumbbells close to your body. Only lower the dumbbells until you feel a stretch in your left hamstring — you shouldn't feel pain. Be sure to keep your back flat throughout the entire movement.
- Exhale as you keep your back flat, engage your glutes, and stand up. This completes one rep.
- Perform 10 to 15 reps. Repeat on the other side.
Reverse Lunge and Twist
- Stand with your feet directly under your hips with your toes pointing straight ahead. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. Inhale to stand tall, and as you exhale, engage your core.
- On an inhale, take a large step back with your right foot. Lower your right knee toward the floor and stop when your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Point your front knee forward with your knee over your ankle. You should be in a lunge position.
- Hold the lunge, and as you exhale, twist your upper body toward your left thigh. Try to keep your hips facing forward as you rotate from your torso. If this is too difficult, eliminate the twist or don't twist as far.
- Inhale to return your upper body back to center. As you exhale, press your front heel into the floor, and step your back foot in as you return to standing. This completes one rep.
- Do 10 to 15 reps, and repeat on the other side.
Side Plank and Row
- Begin by lying on your left side with your legs extended. Bring your left elbow directly under your left shoulder. Engage your core, press your left elbow into the floor, and rise into side elbow plank. Bring your top foot in front of your bottom foot. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, directly in front of you on the floor.
- Keeping your core engaged, hold the side plank position as you perform a dumbbell row with your right arm, reaching your elbow up to the ceiling and slightly behind you.
- Inhale to lower the dumbbell back to the floor to complete one rep. If this is too hard, rest your knees on the floor.
- Perform 15 reps, then repeat on the other side.
Supine Chest Press and Leg Drop
- Lie on your back with one dumbbell in each hand in front of your chest. Extend your legs straight toward the ceiling at 90 degrees, or to make it easier, bend your knees or rest your feet on the floor.
- Inhale and press your back into the floor. As you exhale, brace your core, crunch up, and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Lower your legs toward the floor until you feel your abs engaged. Hold this position. If this is too difficult, don't lower your legs toward the floor or omit the crunch.
- Reach the dumbbells straight above your chest, and turn your palms to face your toes.
- Take an inhale, then lower your elbows to the floor, keeping them wide and in line with your shoulders.
- On your exhale, press the dumbbells up. This completes one rep.
- Perform 15 reps.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels on the floor. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest.
- As you inhale, lift your feet off the floor. As you exhale, lean back until you feel your abs engaged. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight; don't let it round. If this is too difficult, keep your heels on the floor.
- Twist to the left side and lower the dumbbell to the floor. Then twist to the right side and lower the dumbbell to the floor. This completes one repetition.
- Complete 15 to 20 reps.
Kneeling Single-Arm Press
- Kneel on the ground in a lunge position with your left knee at a 90-degree angle and your right shin on the floor. Stack your left knee directly over your ankle, and press your heel into the floor.
- Hold a dumbbell in your right hand above your right shoulder. Reach your left arm out to the side to help you balance, keeping it in line with your shoulder.
- Keeping your core engaged and torso tall, press the dumbbell straight overhead with your palm facing your ear. Lower the dumbbell back to your shoulder to complete the rep.
- Perform eight to 12 reps. Repeat on the other side.
Glute Bridge and Skull Crusher
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart. Your heels should be directly below your knees with your thighs parallel to one another and toes pointing forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- As you inhale, push your heels into the floor. On your exhale, brace your core and lift your hips off the floor and come into a glute bridge hold.
- Hold the bridge and, as you exhale, straighten your arms so the dumbbells are above your shoulders, with your palms facing each other. If this is too difficult, just hold one dumbbell with both hands.
- Keep holding the glute bridge, and as you inhale, lower the dumbbells toward your forehead until your elbows bend to 90 degrees. This counts as one rep.
- Complete 12 to 15 reps.