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Ultimate Total Body Dumbbell Workout

HOW TO BUILD MUSCLE AT HOME WITH DUMBBELLS

It’s time for an ultimate full-body dumbbell workout that lets you build muscle at home with minimal equipment, time, and space!

If you’re training at home and have only one set of dumbbells and just a few minutes to spare each day, this ultimate total body workout is for you, regardless of your fitness level. You don’t need any gym equipment like an incline bench, a decline bench, or even a flat bench.

If you have adjustable dumbbells, fantastic, because you can get heavier weight or lighter weight without taking up a lot of storage space required for a range of dumbbells.

Regardless of whether you’re beginner, intermediate, advanced, you can use the set of dumbbells you have for this intense full-body workout to build muscle, strength, and get in shape quickly. I call it the “dumbbell death march”.

This full-body dumbbell blast is going to allow you to hit every muscle in your legs, back, chest, shoulder muscles, arms and core using just 5 carefully selected dumbbell exercises.

This full-body dumbbell workout trades workout length for intensity. You won’t have to work out for more than 20 minutes to get good results from this circuit, and you’ll be working all the major muscle groups.

The key to building muscle mass at home with dumbbells is knowing which dumbbell exercise to use and when, and using proper form when you do it.

This full-body dumbbell blast is going to allow you to hit every muscle in your legs, back, chest, shoulder muscles, arms and core using just 5 carefully selected dumbbell exercises.

The goal of this full-body dumbbell workout circuit is to complete 4 exercise combinations, also called “rounds”.total body dumbbell workout

TOTAL BODY DUMBBELL WORKOUT

This full-body dumbbell workout is something I call the “dumbbell death march” named after the exercise that begins each round.

The workout is organized in a circuit form.

To start, pick a pair of dumbbells that you can use for the duration of this workout. I suggest beginners use ~10 lb. dumbbells. Intermediate lifters use medium-weight dumbbells in the 25 to 40 lb. range. The most advanced should use heavier weights, weighing around 50 lbs. No matter what your level is, you won’t need really heavy dumbbells to do this workout.

If you own a set of adjustable dumbbells, set them to the appropriate weight for your fitness level at the time.

Each round contains two exercises, beginning with Renegade Rows, and ending with 20-second rest periods.

The workout is broken down round by round as follows.

ULTIMATE FULL-BODY DUMBBELL WORKOUT

ROUND 1:

Renegade Row March x 5 each arm

Dumbbell Thrusters x 40 seconds / Rest 20 seconds

ROUND 2:

Renegade Row March x 5 each arm

DB Sprinter Lunges x 40 seconds / Rest 20 seconds

ROUND 3:

Renegade Row March x 5 each arm

Close Grip Squeeze Ups x 40 seconds / Rest 20 seconds

ROUND 4:

Renegade Row March x 5 each arm

Dumbbell High Pulls from Floor x 40 seconds / Rest 20 seconds

ROUND 1

Start each round with this moving version of the Renegade Row, which I also call the Dumbbell Death March. It’s so intense, I named the whole workout after it.

1) RENEGADE ROW DUMBBELL DEATH MARCH

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renegade row dumbbell rows

You can do this dumbbell movement in place if you don’t have a lot of room.

If you do have the room for mobility, I recommend that you actually “walk” by lifting a single dumbbell with one arm and planting it about a foot in front of you using a neutral grip, then alternating to the other arm, traveling forward with each row.

Keep your feet shoulder width apart and hands shoulder width apart.

It’s great at hitting the upper body, particularly the lats and mid-scap muscles, while placing a heavy emphasis on the chest, biceps, and entire core. This move requires core strength and further develops it.

Perform 5 repetitions of the Renegade Row using each arm, which leads you right into the second half of each combo.

In the first round trip, move from the Dumbbell Renegade Row to a dumbbell thruster.

2) DUMBBELL THRUSTER

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db thrusters

Get into a traditional starting position for reverse lunges. Pick up the dumbbells and simply step backwards, but instead of doing a traditional reverse lunge, tilt your torso forward at the bottom of every rep to engage your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, erectors). Get your chest close to your knee for a full range of motion.

Concentrate on driving upward with the front leg and don’t depend too much on pushing off with the trailing leg. Keep the load on the front leg.

Do this movement for 40 seconds, then pick those dumbbells up and walk them back for a quick 20-second rest before advancing to Round 3.

ROUND 2

1) RENEGADE ROW

Do your moving renegade rows for 5 reps each arm. At the end of this second trip move back to your starting position for our next exercise, dumbbell sprinter lunges.

2) DUMBBELL SPRINTER LUNGE

Intentionally not including an image of the renegade row for rounds 2 through 4 to avoid unnecessary repetition. Can include a GIF of these if you prefer.

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db sprinter lunges

Get into a traditional starting position for reverse lunges. Pick up the dumbbells and simply step backwards, but instead of doing a traditional reverse lunge, tilt your torso forward at the bottom of every rep to engage your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, erectors). Get your chest close to your knee for a full range of motion.

Concentrate on driving upward with the front leg and don’t depend too much on pushing off with the trailing leg. Keep the load on the front leg.

Do this movement for 40 seconds, then pick those dumbbells up and walk them back for a quick 20-second rest before advancing to Round 3.

ROUND 3

1) RENEGADE ROW

Do another set of Renegade Rows for 5 reps each arm. Then move back and get ready for more upper body in our third round exercise.

2) CLOSE GRIP SQUEEZE UPS

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close grip squeeze ups

This movement is a variation of the push-up, the most basic of the chest exercises.

In this variation, bring the dumbbells really close to your chest to accentuate the triceps, but instead of just pushing yourself up, squeeze your hands together using a neutral grip for extra engagement of the chest muscles.

Keep your core tight and your shoulder blades in a packed position against the back of your rib cage.

If you just passively push, you miss the pec building benefit that squeezing the chest delivers.

Rep this chest press for 40 seconds. If you can’t rep for the entire 40 seconds, it’s OK to pause for a brief bonus rest, but I discourage it.

Take that last 20-second rest and come back and head to Round 4.

ROUND 4

1) RENEGADE ROW

Do a final set of Renegade Rows for 5 reps each arm, and get ready for our last exercise, High Pulls From the Floor.

2) DUMBBELL HIGH PULLS FROM THE FLOOR

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db high pulls from the floor

How you execute high pulls makes a big difference.

Start with your feet flat and a slight bend in your arms. Pull the dumbbells hard, ripping them off the floor to get them into that high pull position at shoulder level where the thumbs are higher than the pinkies at the top of the movement.

This is not a dumbbell clean and not an upright row. As you know, I don’t like the upright row because it internally rotates the shoulder which can lead to inflammation and injury. Don’t compromise your long-term shoulder health by using poor form. If you’re not able to do these with perfect form, move to a lighter dumbbell.

Pull these all the way up to shoulder level. That’s the full range of motion. Drop down to the floor with each rep and keep going for 40 seconds.

You’ve now completed 4 round trips. Try to push through this entire workout. Extend yourself and keep going to that next level by trying to not rest or pause between reps.

BRINGING IT HOME

The goal is not to just build a sweat. Your muscles should feel fatigued when you’re finished. This is not simply a form of cardio although it will definitely elevate your heart rate.

One entire circuit of this full-body dumbbell workout will take you approximately 5 minutes. Follow each circuit with a 2-minute rest period, then go back and repeat this 2 more times for a total 15 to 20-minute dumbbell circuit.

Try to stick to the prescribed rest periods and move to a lighter dumbbell or heavier dumbbell based on your ability to get through an entire 40-second round.

WHICH TYPE OF DUMBBELL IS BEST?

You don’t need to go out and buy a special set of dumbbells to do this full-body dumbbell workout. You can use what you’ve got.

 But let’s say you don’t have even one pair of dumbbells and are thinking about buying a set for your space. Which ones should you invest in?

The answer: it depends. Here are some buying tips.

  • Safety and durability. Spend your hard-earned cash for commercial grade dumbbells. Read the reviews and look for keywords like “durable”, “sturdy”, “take a beating”… things like that. You want your dumbbells to last and not fall apart during a challenging workout.
  • Your available space. If you have ample space in your place, a set of fixed-weight dumbbells makes sense. Again, look for commercial grade dumbbells. You’ll also want to get a dumbbell rack to keep these organized.
      • If your space is limited, a good set of adjustable dumbbells might be your better option. They will allow you to progress to heavier weight as you get stronger.
      • The better brands of adjustable dumbbells can be bought with their own dumbbell rack.
  • Adjustable dumbbells and fixed-weight dumbbell styles are available in different shapes: round, or square (or block shaped), hexagonal, or octagonal. Think about the types of exercises you’ll be doing and whether you care if the dumbbells can roll. For the dumbbell walk described here, round might work best.

This workout is intense and will get the job done. You should not be doing this more than one or two workouts per week, and it is not to be done as active recovery during a rest day from the gym.

If you’re looking to get in shape with little to no equipment from the comfort of home, I’ve got you covered.  Whether you’ve got a full rack of dumbbells, a single set, or no equipment at all, there’s an ATHLEAN-X program designed for you.

Program Selector ==> See which program best fits your goals
AX1 ==> Train at Home With Dumbbells and Minimal Equipment
XERO ==> Train at Home With No Equipment

athleanx
THE HIGHLIGHT REEL:
ULTIMATE FULL-BODY DUMBBELL WORKOUT

  1. You can get an intense, full-body dumbbell workout at home, without a wide range of equipment, space, or lots of time. The humble dumbbell will humble you.
  2. Our Ultimate Full-Body Dumbbell Workout requires only a single pair of dumbbells and 20 minutes. It will work both your lower and upper body. Adjustable dumbbells give you the flexibility to vary the weight.
  3. The workout can be adjusted for any fitness level: beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
  4. This 20-minute dumbbell circuit is divided into 4 rounds, with each round beginning with moving renegade rows, which we call the Dumbbell Death March.
  5. Round 2 works your entire body with Dumbbell Hip Thrusters following the moving Renegade Rows.
  6. Round 3 focuses on upper body strength by hitting chest, triceps, and core with the Close Grip Squeeze Ups.
  7. Round 4 wraps things up with Dumbbell High Pulls.
  8. Each round begins with the “death march”, followed by the feature exercise for 40 seconds, and ends with 20-second rest periods before moving to the next round.

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