The Simple Dumbbell Move That Made My Abs Shake and My Shoulders Sizzle in Mere Seconds
Upper-body strength has never been my strong suit, so I get excited about doing exercises that really feel like they're challenging my arms, shoulders, and back, especially when it's kind of unexpected. The braveheart, a move from Beachbody's new Morning Meltdown 100 program, definitely fell in that category. When trainer Jericho McMatthews demoed the move on screen, I wasn't sure what it would do, if anything. Then I tried it, and realized, oh, wait: that's hard.
Your lats, shoulders, and triceps all get major work from this dumbbell exercise, but I also felt a major burn all through my core, which was fighting to stabilize during the rotation. Once you get the hang of the move with both feet on the floor, there are two options to kick up the intensity even more: by lifting your back leg out behind you, then by adding a pulse on your supporting leg. My standing glute lit up immediately.
Jericho's advice for this move is to go very slowly to start. If you can, do it in front of a full-length mirror to make sure you stay properly aligned. "If you're struggling with balance, make sure to keep your core tight and focus your eyeline on a fixed spot about four to six feet in front of you," she added. "You can always lower the rear floating leg to catch your balance, and drop to lighter weights if needed!" (Here's a guide on how to choose the right weight.)
Keep reading for instructions on how to do this challenging, effective move.
- Hold a light dumbbell in one or both hands and stand with both feet together. (Holding two dumbbells makes the move more challenging and may help you keep your balance.)
- Step one foot back into a staggered stance. Keep 80 percent of your bodyweight in the front leg with a slightly bent knee. Square your hips and chest over the front foot. The dumbbells should be hanging by your sides, straight down over your front foot.
- Using the arm on the same side as your rear leg, lead with your elbow to drag the dumbbell across your chest into a high row, as if you were drawing an arrow from a bow.
- Allow the arm to straighten completely out, creating one long diagonal line from the top dumbbell to the bottom arm and dumbbell.
- Keeping the top arm straight, slowly lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position. Keep your core tight and focus on a slow and steady range of motion.
- To increase the intensity, perform the same move while "floating" the rear leg straight above the ground behind you, not letting it touch the ground.
Braveheart With Leg Pulse
For the most advanced version, follow the same cues and add a slight pulse in your supporting leg, similar to a shallow single-leg squat. To pick up the tempo, drag the weight across your chest quickly, then go slowly as you drop it back down.