This 4-Move Circuit Helps Burn Calories and Build Muscle, Using Just a Set of Dumbbells
You don't need to spend hours working out to lose weight or get toned, but you do have to be smart about what you're doing in the time you have in order to maximize results. Enter compound exercises: multijoint movements that hit large groups of muscle. When you add weights to these exercises, you'll use even more energy, burning more calories while increasing muscle mass.
Get started with some beginner compound exercises and then challenge yourself to this circuit from Heidi Loiacono, an NASM-certified personal trainer and national manager of training and development at GYMGUYZ. To increase your metabolic output (one of the biggest perks of compound exercises), complete this circuit four times using a 5- to 10-lb. set of dumbbells. Do 10 reps of each exercise, then rest for 30 seconds at the end of the circuit before moving on to the next round.
Renegade Row to Frogger
- Start in a high plank with one dumbbell in each hand and your shoulders directly over wrists. Your feet should be slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
- Pushing into the right dumbbell on the floor, row the left dumbbell upward, retracting your left shoulder blade and pulling your left elbow in by your side.
- Repeat the same movement on the right side.
- From the plank position, jump your feet forward so they land outside of your hands. (See this movement here.) Then, take your hands off the dumbbells and bring them up to chest height.
- This is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps before moving to the next exercise.
Reverse Lunge and Curl
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand down by your sides.
- Step your right foot back and lower your body to the floor in a lunge, bending your knees to a 90-degree angle.
- Perform a bicep curl, raising the dumbbells up to your chest, as shown.
- Bring your right foot back up to stand. Continue for 10 reps total before moving to the next exercise, making sure to alternate sides.
Dumbbell Squat to Press
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with the weights racked at your shoulders.
- Squat down, keeping your weight in your heels and your butt back and down.
- As you stand back up, press the dumbbells up from your shoulders to an overhead press.
- Lower back down to starting position. Complete 10 reps before moving on to the next exercise.
High-Pull Lateral Lunge
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights slightly in front of your legs, with your palms facing your body. Hinge forward at the hips with a straight back.
- Bracing your core and keeping your back flat, squeeze your glutes to stand back up. As you reach the top of your stance, pull the dumbbells up to shoulder-height, bending your elbows out to the sides. (This is called a high-pull — see an example with a kettlebell here.)
- Take a big step to your left, pushing your hips, back, and butt down to lower into a lateral lunge. Aim to get your left thigh parallel to the floor. At the same time, bring the weights down by your feet, as shown.
- Stand back up, bringing your left foot to hip-distance. Repeat the same movement on the right side.
- Complete 10 reps total, making sure to alternate sides.