Hi friends! I hope your day is going well. Just think … it’s (almost) Friday!
Today I have a workout to share that you can complete at the gym or even in the comfort of your own living room. Those of you who have been following the blog over the past few months already know that I have been relying on at-home strength training workouts to maintain muscle strength outside of barre classes.
I complete at least one at-home dumbbell workout per week, and this one works every major muscle group in your body. It’s broken down into three different circuits. Complete the first one in its entirety before going to the next, rest, then move onto the next circuit.
If you decide to give this workout a go, please be mindful about choosing the right weight for each exercise. Your dumbbells need to be heavy enough to give you a challenge, but not so heavy that you can’t keep proper form.
Your dumbbell weights might vary, but I like to classify the following:
light: 5-8 lbs.
medium: 10-12 lbs.
heavy: 15-20 lbs.
If you are newer to lifting, I suggest you start here:
light: 3-5 lbs.
medium: 8-10 lbs.
heavy: 12-15 lbs.
• dumbbell sit-ups (medium)
Decide where you want to hold the resistance, if any, and perform a sit-up.
Get on the floor in a sit-up position: back and feet flat on the floor with your knees bent to a ninety degree angle. Cross your arms over your chest or hold a weight on your lower abdominals, your chest, or overhead. This is your starting position. Tighten your glutes and hamstrings as you sit up (straighten your arms to intensity the exercise), then slowly roll back to your starting position.
Repeat for 15 reps.
• side-lying hip abductions
Start by lying on your left side with your hips and shoulders squared off to the front. Place your right hand on your hip or in front of you holding your balance on the mat. Keep your bottom leg bent and on the floor while your top leg extends and straightens. This is your starting position.
Keeping your top leg straight, and foot flexed, make sure your ankle is in line with your hips and contract your glute to lift the leg. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds and return to your starting position. Avoid throwing your leg up and down, and concentrate on a slow and controlled movement engaged by your outer glutes. Complete 12 reps, then switch sides.
You can progress the movement by lifting the body off of the floor and then eventually get to a side plank with leg lift!
Complete 12 reps per side. That will feel like plenty!
• weighted floor bridges (medium)
Grab a dumbbell and start by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. They should be about hip-width apart. Hold the dumbbell across your hips. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips and hold the position for about 2-3 seconds.
Stay on the heels of your feet and keep squeezing your glutes. Slowly lower your hips back down the floor and repeat for 20 reps. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise, and be careful not to arch your back!
• squat to overhead presses (medium)
This is a total body exercise that works the lower and upper body!
Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand with your feet under your hips, about shoulder-width apart. Keep your palms neutral and bring the weights up to your shoulders like a biceps curl. Keep your back straight and bend your knees to slowly squat down as if you were going to sit. (Your rear drops back as you lower.)
Keep your feet and knees neutral (pointed forward), and don’t let your knees go in front of your toes. Pause here for a second and then return to a standing position while simultaneously doing a shoulder press.
Extend your arms up straight overhead, pause for a second, then return to starting position. Repeat for 12 reps.
• chest presses (medium – heavy)
Lie flat on your mat with your knees bent (or flat on a bench if you have access to one) and a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your arms to an extended 90-degree angle from your body and the floor. Your palms should be facing out and the elbows should be straight. This is your starting position.
Make sure that your back is touching the bench or mat and avoid arching. Bend your elbows only to ninety degrees or shoulder height, and push the arms straight by extending the elbows towards the ceiling. Repeat for 12 reps.
If you can get through three sets of 12 reps without struggle, you should bump up your weight.
• single arm rows (medium – heavy)
Performing this exercise one arm at a time adds the extra challenge of stability and core work.
Start with your feet hip width apart, and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Bend over at a 45 degree angle and make sure to keep your back neutral (not arched or rounded) with your core engaged. Keep your chest up, your shoulders pressed down, and your chin lifted.
With your left hand on your upper thigh, engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift the right arm towards your torso. Keep your elbows pointed upward! Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
Repeat for 12 reps and then switch sides.
• biceps curls (medium)
Grab a set medium set of dumbbells and start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Rotate your palms to the front (holding a dumbbell on each side) and engage the core to keep your body exactly where it is. Keeping your shoulders down, squeeze the dumbbells up to your shoulders and then slowly lower them back down.
Keep the elbows locked into your sides!
• lying triceps extensions (or skull crushers) (light – medium)
Lie flat on your mat with your knees bent (or flat on a bench if you have access to one) and a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your arms to an extended 90-degree angle from your body and the floor. Your palms should be neutral (facing in) and the elbows should be straight.
This is your starting position.
Keeping your elbows tucked in and directly over your shoulders, slowly lower the weight until the dumbbells are near your ears. Keep them in line and don’t let them touch each other (or your head!). Using the triceps, bring the weight back up to the starting position. This is one rep.
• lateral lunges (medium)
Start standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Step out to the right and shift your body weight over your right leg, squatting to a 90 degree angle at the knee. The objective is to try to get low enough to “sit down” (squat), keeping your back as upright as possible. Push off and bring your right leg back to the center and starting position.
This is one rep. Remember to keep your weight on your heels. Drop the dumbbells and hold out your arms in front of you to help with balance, if needed! You can alternate sides or do 10-12 reps on the right, then 10-12 reps on the left.
• wall sit
This workout calls for a 60 second wall sit, which is pretty challenging. Feel free to modify to a 30 or 45 second wall sit, and eventually progress to 60 seconds if you can.
Find a wall, press your back into it and come down into a squat position so that your knees are directly over your ankles. Sit down until your legs are at a ninety degree angle and make sure to keep your heels pressed into the floor the entire time.
Hold the squat position for a minute (or however long you can) and come up to rest.
Please let me know if you decide to give this circuit a try, as feedback is always welcomed.
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Have a great rest of the day, and I’ll see you back in the morning with Friday Favorites!
Questions of the Day
• When was the last time you picked up a set of dumbbells?
• What is one thing that you are looking forward to today?
Have a great workout!
Disclaimer: Although I am a certified personal trainer, I am not necessarily your personal trainer. The workouts I post are what work best for me and might not be the right type of exercises for you. I always recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet and/or fitness routines. <3