Hi friends! Today I wanted to share a workout with you that I put together on the subway and completed as soon as I got home yesterday. It’s been some time since I shared a workout on the blog, right? I know.
I don’t take advantage of at-home workouts as much as I used to, and I don’t know why. You can knock them out in the convenience of your living room, and all you need is a few sets of dumbbells.
This one targets all of the major muscle groups and took me about 45 minutes to complete. You have the option to repeat each circuit once or twice, and I usually hit around 15 reps per exercise, 3 sets per circuit. I specifically chose exercises that just feel good to complete after a break from regularly lifting weights, hence the back to basics title.
Just like with any workout I share, please consult with a health professional before jumping into anything new, listen to your body, rest when needed, and only do what feels good for you!
I was originally going to throw a 1-minute jump rope exercise into the end of the last circuit, but I chose to take Roadie out for a jog around the park after I was done instead. Feel free to add a little cardio of your own like jump ropes, jumping jacks, or mountain climbers!
Your dumbbell weights might vary, but I like to classify the following:
light: 5-8 lbs.
medium: 10-12 lbs.
heavy: 15-20 lbs.
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. This is your starting position.
Tighten your glutes and hamstrings as you sit up, then slowly roll back to the starting position. Complete for 12-20 reps.
If you want an extra challenge, try starting with straight arms and hold a dumbbell straight over your head, or even two with a crossover to hit the obliques!
• side plank holds
Start by lying on your side and stack your feet on top of each other. Position your elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift your hips and torso off of the ground while keeping the abs and glutes contracted. Place your hand on your hip.
Hold the elbow plank for thirty seconds, rest, then complete on the other side. You can modify this exercise by bending the bottom knee or intensify it by lifting your top leg (pictured on bottom).
Start by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. They should be about hip-width apart. Arms should be resting by your sides. 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 without touching the floor and repeat for 12-20 reps. You can advance this movement by grabbing a dumbbell and holding it on top of your hips.
• squat to presses
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 drop down into a squat. 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.
As you return back to your starting position, bring the weights up to your shoulders like a hammer curl. (Pictured is a standard biceps curl, not inverted. I prefer to keep it neutral to hit a different set of muscles, since we’re doing biceps curls later in the workout!) Extend your arms up straight overhead to a press (also pictured with palms facing out, I prefer neutral), pause for a second, then return back through the curl to starting position. Repeat for 12-20 reps.
Get on the floor and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Raise up on your toes, or modify by dropping your knees. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to toe without dropping your middle or arching your back. Before you begin the push-up, contract your abs and keep your core tight. Think of pulling your belly button towards your spine, then lower and lift.
Get off of your knees and straighten your legs for more of a challenge! Complete 12-20 reps.
• biceps curls
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!
• lateral lunges
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! Complete 12-2o reps on one side before switching to the other. (I completed 12-15.)
Start with your feet hip width apart, holding dumbbells in front of you and sit back in your hips. Bend over at a 45 degree angle and make sure to keep your back neutral or even slightly arched (not rounded) with your core engaged. Keep your chest up, your shoulders pressed down and away from your ears, and your chin lifted.
With your palms facing your body, engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weights towards your torso. Keep your elbows pointed upward! Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep. Repeat for 12-20 reps.
• triceps kickbacks
Start with a dumbbell in each hand and your feet planted under your hips. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in the knees and bend forward at the waist so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your head up!
Pull your arms tight to your sides and also parallel to the floor. Keep a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm throughout the duration of the exercise. Use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is fully extended, briefly pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 12-20 reps.
• reverse lunges
Start standing tall with your hands by your sides, a dumbbell in each hand, feet under your hips. Step backward with your left leg, and lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee nearly touches the floor.
Push yourself back to the starting position by pressing into the floor. Complete 12-20 on one side, then switch to the other side. Aim to keep your front heel under your knee and avoid leaning forward or back!
Here’s a tip for easy access to workouts I share on this blog:
» Right click the workout graphic above and click Pin It.
» Label it with the description you’d like, select a Board to save it to and press Pin It.
(A great pin description for this workout could be: “Hit every major muscle group with this 45 minute or less total body workout you can do at home. All you need is a light and medium set of dumbbells!”)
To save and print:
» Right click the workout graphic above and click Save Image As.
» Label it with .jpg at the end and save it to your computer desktop as an image file that you can easily open and print.
If you’re on your smart phone:
» Tap and hold your finger down on the graphic.
» Click Save Image or Save to Camera Roll.
Please let me know if you decide to give this workout a try, as feedback is always welcomed.
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 worked out at home?
• What is your favorite muscle group to focus on?
I’ve always been strongest in my legs, so I enjoy exercises that focus on the legs. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy squats, lunges, step-ups, and jumping exercises. I need the most work on my arms, especially my shoulders, so I would say I like working those out the least. But I include those exercises in my workouts, too. You’ve got to hit ’em all!
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.