Full Body Dumbbell Workout for Any Fitness Level
Updated: Feb 16
Our motto is, "Train smart. Move well. Play hard." An old school workout with the humble dumbbell can be an excellent tool to do just that. Read on for a photo-heavy guide to one of our favorite full body routines.
If you are just getting started, don't miss our article, "Train Smart with Dumbbells," for an intro into HOW to train with dumbbells, including determining the appropriate amount of weight, and find the article, "5 (more!) reasons to use dumbbells," for WHY we love 'em.
Also, if you are just getting started, take it slow, use light weights in the beginning until you get the hang of each exercise, and consult your physician before starting any fitness program. We always recommend meeting with a professional personal trainer to learn the best techniques and to customize the exercises to your specific goals and limitations.
1. Ground to Overhead
Take one dumbbell from the ground to overhead as fast as you can, any way you can, alternating from right to left hand each time.
Use a good, deep squat, engaged core muscles, and keep your arm close to your body.
Find the number of reps, or go for time, to raise your heart rate and breathe heavily.
This is a great warm up, or finisher.
2. Sumo Squat High Lift
Place your feet wider than your hips.
Press your knees out over your little toe as you squat, keep your back straight, and lower the dumbbells with control.
Explode up with wide elbows and pull the dumbbells as close to your chin as possible as you straighten your legs.
3. Renegade Rows
Take the time to set up a good plank with thighs lifting, hips dropping, shoulder blades wide, and heels pressing back.
Pull one weight at a time up while squeezing your elbow toward your midline. Alternate which arm is pulling.
Try not to let your hips nor shoulders tilt or drop - stay level. Ask a friend or trainer to check the levelness of your plank the whole time.
Set the weight down with control.
4. Seated Overhead Press
Start sitting with a straight spine. Sit on elevation if you need to, in order to take any curve out of your back.
Begin with both arms extended overhead and biceps close to your ears.
Alternate pulling one weight down at a time.
Keep your ribs knitted together in the front and breathe into your back the whole time. No flared ribs or arched back.
5. Back Lunge
As you step back into a lunge, keep your front shin vertical.
Hover your back knee just off of the floor and then step forward.
If you can't hover, go down in weight.
Alternate which foot is stepping back.
6. Jefferson Curl
Finish with some mobility work for the spine and flexibility for the hamstrings.
Begin by tucking chin, then curl yourself forward slowly as if peeling your back off of a wall. Hang forward for a moment, then stack your spine slowly back up and repeat.
Your head should be the first thing to move, the last thing to recover, and hang completely heavy at the bottom of the fold.
Use light to moderate weight for flexibility in your hamstrings. Use heavy weight to work on strength.
*Consider finishing with an extra set of Ground to Overhead if you like to leave the gym sweating.