HomeFitnessAt-Home, Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

At-Home, Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

No gym? No problem. Rock through this 8-move dumbbell-only, calorie-crushing workout.

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Dumbbells might just be the ideal workout tool. There are so many advantages to using dumbbells it’s hard to know where to start. But here are just a few:

  • Dumbbells allow you to work your limbs independently so you can identify and address left to right strength imbalances
  • They are arguably safer to use than barbells, especially as a beginner, as you can simply drop them out to the side rather than on top of you if you need to stop your workout in a hurry
  • Dumbbells develop balance and coordination far more effectively than most other forms of strength training.
  • They allow you to perform exercises with different movement patterns, working your muscles in different ways.
  • Available in a wide range of weights, which means you can simply swap one set of dumbbells for another to change exercises quickly.

In other words, dumbbells are the most versatile and effective strength training device around and an ideal tool for circuit training. So here’s a heart-pumping, full-body strength circuit that will torch calories and build muscle.

Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

Warm up by performing a few minutes of light cardio followed by some dynamic stretching and then work your way down the following list of exercises as fast as you can, while maintaining good form.

Exercises: Do 15-repetitions of each of the following exercises:

  1. Sumo squats 
  2. Alternating bench press
  3. Wrestler rows 
  4. Reverse lunges 
  5. Side and front raises 
  6. Renegade rows 
  7. Front squats 
  8. Curl and press

Instructions: Rest for one or two minutes after the last exercise and then repeat the entire sequence two to four more times. While speed is of the essence, do not rush the performance of each exercise but, rather, move quickly from one exercise to the next.

Choose dumbbells that make the last couple of repetitions challenging, but that you can still perform with good exercise technique. 

1 Sumo Squats

Target muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus

How to perform:

  • Place a dumbbell on its end and stand with it between your wider-than shoulder-width feet.
  • Bend your knees, push your butt back and bend down to grasp the upturned edge of the dumbbell. Push your knees outward.
  • Keeping your chest up and back slightly arched, stand up straight.
  • Put the weight back down and repeat. 

Tip: Keep your arms straight and core tight throughout (illustrated without dumbbell).


2 Alternating Bench Press

Target muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps 

How to perform:

  • Lie on a flat exercise bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights over your chest with your arms extended.
  • Bend one arm and lower the weight to your shoulder. Press it back up.
  • Immediately do another rep with your opposite arm.
  • Continue alternating arms until you have completed all the required reps on each arm. 

Tip: This exercise can also be performed using an inclined bench to target the upper part of the chest more or while lying flat on the floor if you do not have access to a weight bench (as illustrated above). 


3 Alternating Dumbbell Rows

Target muscles: Latissimus dorsi, biceps, posterior deltoids, mid-trapezius and rhomboids

How to perform:

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Lean forward from your hips without rounding your back. Let your arms hang directly down from your shoulders.
  • Pull your left hand up and into your ribs and then return to the starting position.
  • Immediately perform a second repetition with your right.
  • Continue alternating arms for the duration of your set. 

Tip: For a more demanding workout, start with both of the weights pulled into your ribs and lower one weight at a time so that one side is constantly contracted. 


4 Reverse Lunges

Target muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus

How to perform:

  • Stand with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand. Take a large step backward, bend your legs and lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor.
  • Stand up, step forward and return to your starting position.
  • Immediately perform another repetition leading with the opposite leg.
  • Continue alternating sides until you have completed all the required reps on each leg. 

Tip: Keep your torso upright throughout to avoid stressing your lower back (illustrated without dumbbell). 


5 Lateral + Front Raises

Target muscles: Deltoids 

How to perform:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Raise your arms forward and up to shoulder level and then lower them again.
  • Immediately raise your arms up and out to the side to shoulder level and then lower them again; this constitutes one repetition.
  • Continue alternating front and side raises until you have completed all the required reps. 

Tip: Use light weights for this exercise to avoid having to swing the dumbbells up. 


6 Renegade Rows

Target muscles: Latissimus dorsi, biceps, posterior deltoids, mid trapezius and rhomboids, core

How to perform:

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, get down on the floor in the pushup position. Extend your arms and brace your abs so your body is straight from heel to shoulders.
  • Bend one arm and pull the dumbbell up and into your ribs.
  • Lower it back to the floor and then do the same movement with your opposite arm.
  • Continue alternating sides until you have completed all the required reps on each arm.

Tip: Bend your legs and rest on your knees for a less demanding workout. 


7 Front Squats

Target muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus

How to perform:

  • Raise and hold your dumbbells on your shoulders so that your elbows are pointing directly forward and your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your hips back, bend your knees and squat down as deeply as is comfortable without rounding your lower back.
  • Stand back up and repeat. 

Tip: If two dumbbells are too much to manage, hold one dumbbell in front of your chest instead. This variation is called a goblet squat (illustrated above with a kettlebell). 


8 Curl & Press

Target muscles: Biceps, deltoids, triceps

How to perform:

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  • Bend your arms and raise the dumbbells to shoulder-level and then press them up and overhead to arms’ length.
  • Lower the weights back down to your sides and then repeat. 

Tip: For variation, perform this exercise using an alternating arm action. This exercise can also be performed seated if you prefer. 

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