No gym? No problem. Today I’m giving you a quick and effective circuit workout that will work your entire body, and all you need is a set of dumbbells. As a certified personal trainer in the digital media world, my daily mission is to make fitness accessible for everyone, everywhere, no matter what. I believe that there should be no barriers between you and a fantastic workout to keep you feeling great. Gym memberships and trips to the gym are not possible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredible fitness lifestyle.
I have included four of my favorite full-body compound exercises to give you a workout at home with minimal equipment to target your upper body, lower body, and abs. I wanted to include a good variety of pushing, pulling, frontal plane, sagittal plane, and kneeling positions to make sure your whole body is effectively worked. These exercises will challenge your strength, balance, coordination, and core as you work your upper and lower body in every move.
1. Squat and Press
2. Reverse Lunge and Bicep Curl
3. Single-Leg Deadlift and Row
4. Tricep Kickback and Glute Kickback
Four rounds of 20 reps per exercise with 30 seconds of rest in between exercises. Complete one round of each exercise and then take two minutes of rest. Repeat for a total of four rounds.
The Move: Squat and Press
How to: This exercise is my favorite for a full-body strength move. It also makes me feel powerful, and who doesn’t love that feeling when working out? Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, or in a comfortable squat stance for you. Bring your dumbbells to your chest and engage your core before you sit into a squat. Shift your weight back into your heels and sit your butt back and down while keeping your chest up and your core engaged. Press into the floor with your feet, and as you stand up from your squat, press your dumbbells overhead into a full press. Return your dumbbells back to your shoulders before starting the movement again.
To modify this movement, sit down onto a chair, a bench, or a coffee table for your squat and then start your shoulder press when you are standing fully upright again. To advance this move, make your squat to press fluid by starting your press on the way up from the bottom of your squat. Increase your weights when you can.
The Move: Reverse Lunge and Bicep Curl
How to: This movement is great for the legs, glutes, and biceps. Start with your dumbbells in both hands down by your side. Step one foot back behind you and sit down into your front heel in a lunge, making sure your knee stays stable over your front ankle and your hips stay facing forward. When you reach the bottom of your lunge, engage your biceps and bring your dumbbells up toward your shoulders, turning your palms toward your chest to engage your bicep as much as you can. Slowly lower your dumbbells back to your side so that you can get the benefit of the eccentric control for your arms, and press into both feet to push back up to a standing position.
To modify this movement, complete the lunge by itself and then complete the bicep curl when you are back to standing. To advance this movement, you can place your back foot on the couch or a bench and sit straight down into a lunge in this position to complete your bicep curls at the bottom of a Bulgarian split squat.
The Move: Single-Leg Deadlift and Row
How to: The movement is great for your glutes, back muscles, and core. Start the movement with your dumbbells down at your side and your core engaged. Shift your weight to one foot as you float the opposite leg straight back from your hip and lower your upper body at the same rate at the same time. Keep a tight core and a neutral spine to make sure the work is in your legs and glutes and not your lower back. When your chest and back leg are parallel with the floor, your arms should be hanging straight down with your dumbbells directly under your shoulders. Engage your back muscles and row your dumbbells up toward your ribs as you glide your elbows right past your ribs. Squeeze your back muscles and then lower your dumbbells back down to straight arms. Dig your heel into the floor to engage your glutes again, and bring yourself back up to standing by lowering your leg and lifting your upper body back up.
To modify this movement, keep both feet on the ground in a wider stance, hinge your hips backward, complete the row when your hips reach back, then engage your glutes to hinge back to a standing position. To advance this movement, you can add a knee drive to the top of the lift after you complete the hinge and row and return back to standing, and you can complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.
The Move: Tricep Kickback and Glute Kickback
How to: This exercise is great for strengthening the back of your arms, isolating your glutes, and really challenging your core as you stabilize your body during each part of this exercise. Bring your dumbbells down to the floor and lower your body to start on your hands and knees, holding your dumbbells right under your shoulders and placing your knees right under your hips. Engage your core as you lift your left elbow to your side and extend your arm straight back toward your hip. As you are extending your left arm straight backward, lift your right leg from the floor and extend your heel straight back from your hip to flex your glute. Bend your elbow and bring your dumbbell back under your shoulder and your knee back down to the mat. Repeat this combination on the opposite side of your body, remembering to always keep your core strong and neutral. The most important part of this move is the squeeze in the tricep as you straighten your arm and the squeeze in your glute as you straighten your leg and lift your heel to the sky.
You can modify this movement by performing the tricep extension and the glute kickback separately and performing all 20 reps on one arm and leg combo before switching to the other side. You can advance this movement by adding a glute resistance band to your thighs to make the glute kickback more of a challenge.
These exercises are a great way to make sure you get a full-body workout in a short amount of time no matter where you are. My mission is to provide fitness to everyone regardless of their circumstances, and I use these exercises frequently so that I can assure you are learning how to control your body in motion as you get stronger. The four exercises are also incredibly efficient and perfect for anyone with limited time and goals to get a lot out of their workout. As always, pick the dumbbell weights that allow you to perform the movement safely and in control.
As you learn to really crush the exercise, increase the resistance to keep challenging yourself. This may seem like a workout full of strength exercises, but I promise if you put these exercises in a circuit style and limit your rest between rounds, you will work up a great sweet as you gain confidence and increase the intensity in your full-body workout! Now you have no excuse to not get in a great workout in the comfort of your own home.
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