Now, I talk a lot about the workouts that I do while teaching group fitness or trying out classes around the City, but I haven’t spent a lot of time explaining what a weight-room workout looks like for me. So today, I’d like to share an awesome four-move total-body workout I enjoy, that you can do just about anywhere, as long as you have a set of dumbbells. While I like all the fancy equipment available in a big gym, sometimes a good old-fashioned dumbbell routine is just what you need.
And the best part: Outside of warming up and stretching, this workout only takes about 20 minutes.
A workout designed to maximize effectiveness
Not only does this routine work the entire body with four fairly simple compound exercises, but it also features movement in all three planes of motion. In case you’re not familiar, the three planes of motion are front-to-back (sagittal), side-to-side (lateral) and rotational (transverse), all of which are important areas to address in a workout. And this workout includes some pushing motions, followed by pulling motions, which combined will help get you strong in the front and in the back.
I designed this workout to utilize a heavier set of dumbbells, which is why we only do each move eight times before moving on to the next, but we repeat the circuit for four rounds. I used a pair of 15 lb. dumbbells and would recommend starting with 8 or 10 lb. dumbbells to build up your strength. If you only have lighter dumbbells available, say 5 lbs. or so, then you can do 10-12 reps per each move and only complete three rounds.
Disclaimer: This may not be right for you. It’s just an example of something that I do in the gym. Ask your trainer or doctor before proceeding with caution!
Four-move total-body dumbbell workout: The four moves explained
Here are the move descriptions and links to video and photo tutorials:
- Squat to overhead press. Works the glutes, quadriceps and shoulders. Key things to note: Start with your feet hip-width and drop your butt back just above your knee line as you squat, with your knees in line with your toes. Also, you want to make sure you dig in through your heels as you stand up, brace your core and try not to thrust your hips too far forward. At the top of the move, your body should make one straight line with the dumbbells right above your shoulders.
- Plank row. Works the core and upper back. Key things to note: Your hands should be shoulder-width and directly under your shoulders. Your body should stay super still and level as you row your elbow back toward your hip, squeezing your shoulder blades back and down. Keep your butt and thighs nice and tight. You’ll want to use hexagon-shaped dumbbells for this, so you can keep your balance.
- Curtsy lunge with bicep curl. Works the core, quadriceps, calves and biceps. Key things to note: You need to keep your chest lifted, keep your elbows under your shoulders and by your sides as you curl up your arms. And, your front knee should be right over your front heel, don’t let it lean in any direction. When you push back to the set position, squeeze your butt for a little extra kick.
- Chest fly hip bridge. Works the triceps, biceps, chest, core and glutes. Key things to note: Keep your shoulders back and down on the floor as you open your arms, elbows slightly bent. You should dig your heels into the floor to keep your glutes and posterior chain engaged. Squeeze your pecs in as you return your arms to the set position over your body and above your chest.
There you have it. In just 20 minutes, you can tone and sculpt your whole body. Have fun!
Questions of the day
What are some of your favorite weight-training moves? How long do you like to devote to workouts?