Are you ready for a fun full-body workout you can do at home with just dumbbells?
It’s no secret that my heart belongs to resistance training (and to my hubby and puppy, of course 😀 ). I strongly believe that resistance training is what gives you the best health and fitness results for the time spent.
Resistance training simply means that you put your muscles under tension, thereby strengthening them. It doesn’t have to be done in a gym, which is why I’ve created this at home resistance training workout that only requires a pair of dumbbells (or something equally heavy).
Equipment needed: Dumbbells
Time needed: 30-40 minutes
- The same workout in a gym using machines and free weights
- A full-body workout using resistance bands
Do 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions (reps) for each exercise. That means that you’ll do one exercise for 12-15 reps, rest for 30-60 seconds, do 12-15 more reps, rest again, and then do the last set of 12-15 reps.
The reason why I’m giving you a range is that you should pick a weight that really challenges you between 12 and 15 reps. If you can only do 11 reps, the weight is too heavy, and if you can easily bang out 15, it is too light.
Of course, you probably don’t have dumbbells of every different weight at home, so use whatever you have. If you only have light dumbbells and 15 reps feel too easy, just keep going for as many reps as you can.
Two of the exercises are done as a superset. A superset means that you do both exercises immediately after one another before you take the recommended rest (e.g. 15 dumbbell curls, then 15 triceps extensions, and then rest).
As always, when you do resistance workouts, please remember that you may see an impact on your insulin sensitivity 24-36 hours after your workout, so be diligent about watching your blood sugars. If you aren’t used to resistance workouts, I really recommend you read my post about how resistance training affects your blood sugar before you do this workout.
1) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can place your hands behind your head or in front of your body to keep balance.
2) Begin the movement by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips.
3) Continue down to full depth if you are able, and quickly reverse the motion until you return to the starting position. As you squat, keep your head and chest up and push your knees out.
1) Stand with your feet 4-6 inches wider than your shoulders, with your toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle.
2) Grasp a dumbbell with both hands in the center of your body.
3) While keeping your back straight, descend slowly by bending at the knees and hips as if you are sitting down (squatting).
4) Return to the starting position by pressing upwards and extending your legs while maintaining an equal distribution of weight on your forefoot and heel.
1-arm Dumbbell Row
1) Place your right knee and your right hand on the couch or bench for support.
2) Use your left hand to pick up the dumbbell on the floor and hold the weight while keeping your lower back straight. The palm of the hand should be facing your torso.
3) Pull the dumbbell straight up to the side of your chest, keeping your upper arm close to your side and keeping the torso stationary. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. Also, make sure that the force is performed with the back muscles and not the arms.
4) Lower the resistance straight down to the starting position and repeat the movement for the specified number of repetitions.
5) Switch sides and repeat again with the other arm.
1) Get in the pushup position with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart (do the pushups on your knees to lower the difficulty).
2) Next, lower yourself downward until your chest almost touches the floor. Press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest.
3) After a brief pause at the top contracted position, you can begin to lower yourself downwards again. Continue until failure (until you cannot do another pushup).
Biceps Dumbbell Curls
1) Stand up with your torso upright and a dumbbell in each hand The elbows should be close to the torso.
2) Now, while holding your upper arms stationary, curl the weight forward while contracting the biceps. Continue to raise the weight until the biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a brief moment as you squeeze the biceps.
3) After the brief pause, slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Superset dumbbell curls with triceps extensions
1) Sit with a dumbbell held in both hands (or with a dumbbell in each hand and the hands together). Slowly lift the dumbbell over your head until both arms are fully extended.
2) Keeping your upper arms close to your head with elbows in and perpendicular to the floor, lower the dumbbell behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. The upper arms should remain stationary and only the forearms should move.
3) Go back to the starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell.
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
1) Sit or stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells by your side at arm’s length with the palms of the hand facing you.
2) While maintaining the torso in a stationary position (no swinging), lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend in the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward as if pouring water into a glass. Continue to go up until your arms are parallel to the floor.
Alternative leg exercises
If the squats in this program are hard on your knees and other joints, the following exercises are great substitutes.
1) Start on your hands and knees. Your head should be looking forward and the bend of the knees should create a 90-degree angle between the hamstrings and the calves.
2) Lift up your right leg with the sole of your foot pointing towards the ceiling and your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Contract the glutes and bring your leg up until it’s in line with your torso.
3) Slowly bring the leg down again until your knee almost hits the floor. Repeat the desired number of times before switching to the other leg.
1) Lie on your back with the hands by your side and your knees bent so the soles of your feet are on the floor.
2) Pushing with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Contract your glutes for a second at the top of the exercise.
3) Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
For more workouts you can do at home, please see my Workout Video Library