Full-Body Dumbbell Workout Routine to Do Anytime, Anywhere

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

You don't need a pricey gym membership to get an effective workout. A simple set of dumbbells can provide versatile exercise options right in your own home. Inexpensive, practical, and adaptable, dumbbells can be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Plus, they can be great to use in the winter when you're not up for running outdoors.

When done right, a full-body dumbbell workout routine incorporates both strength training and cardio exercises and can be completed in a short amount of time. These simple home workouts without equipment allow you to maximize results within the confines of your busy schedule.

Dumbbell Basics

If you haven't used dumbbells before, you'll want to start with lighter weights. Even two-pound weights are good for beginners! As you become stronger, you can upgrade to heavier weights. Watch videos online to learn the proper techniques and positions. It's important to ensure you maintain proper form when working with dumbbells. If a move feels uncomfortable or is straining your body, stop and move on to the next.

Here are two routines to get you started. One prioritizes strength training while the other focuses on cardio. You can complete them as suggested or mix and match the moves! As with any new exercise regimen, please consult your doctor before beginning a full-body dumbbell workout routine.

set of colorful dumbbells on the floor

Strength-Training Routine

With these four strength-training moves, you will target all the major muscle groups in under thirty minutes. Do three sets of eight to ten reps each.

  • Dumbbell squats. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. With one dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows so that the tops of the dumbbells are nearly touching your shoulders. Lower into a squat position, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees behind your toes. Return to the standing position and repeat.
  • Dumbbell deadlift Hold one dumbbell in each hand, keeping your arms at your sides. Stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees. While keeping your back straight, use your core to lower your torso toward the floor until your chest is parallel with the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Overhead tricep extensions. Sit on the edge of a chair or bench—or even a coffee table—and hold one dumbbell vertically above your head, placing both hands on it. Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head, dipping it down your back. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Russian twist. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and use both hands to hold one dumbbell slightly below your chest. Lean back while keeping your spine straight. Hold your abs tight as you twist slowly to the left and then to the right. Return to the starting position and repeat.

woman with ponytail using dumbbells to complete tricep workout

Cardio Workout Routine

Warm up with a boxer shuffle for three or four minutes before starting this cardio routine. Do each move for forty seconds and pause for twenty seconds in between each exercise. Take a ninety-second break at the end of the routine and repeat the circuit two or three times.

  • Split jack. Begin with your right foot in front of you and your left behind you, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides. Move your left arm forward and your right arm back to begin. As you jump, switch leg positions and swing your arms with the opposite foot.
  • Burpees and shoulder press. Burpees are one of the most effective cardio exercises, and this variation makes good use of the dumbbells by adding a shoulder press. Complete a standard burpee without weights. As you finish the move, pick up your dumbbells. With one in each hand, lift the dumbbells up over your head at the end of each burpee.
  • Punch. Stand in a high squat position while keeping your core tight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and make controlled punching movements, alternating each arm.
  • High knees. Stand straight with one dumbbell in each hand. Lift the right knee up as high as you can while raising your left hand over your head. Alternate legs and arms.

Don't let anything stop you from reaching your fitness goals. Budget constraints, scheduling conflicts, winter weather, and limited space can all be overcome with at-home dumbbell routines. 

How do you work out with a tight budget and jam-packed calendar? Share your tips on Twitter!

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Why It's Good

A full-body dumbbell workout checks all the right boxes. It's fast, effective, inexpensive, versatile, and can be adapted for anyone, anywhere. With a set of weights and a good routine, you can reach your fitness goals despite any time, space, or budget constraints.