A Short, Comprehensive, and Effective Workout with dumbbells
It’s important to remain diligent when it comes to training. Here’s an exercise program you can do at the gym or at home. It’s short, comprehensive, and effective, and will put all of your muscle to work by combining resistance and cardio exercises. All you need is a pair of dumbbells and a mat, and you’ll be ready to go! Aim for at least two to three workouts per week, and make sure to increase the weights you use as your strength increases. Add cardio sessions to this program, such as group classes or outdoor activities to make sure you are active every day. Enjoy your workouts!
How to perform this program
Start with a 3- to 5-minute dynamic warm up. Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, and then take a 15-second pause before the next exercise. Once you’ve completed all 13 of them, take a 2-minute break, and then repeat the circuit a second time, after which you should take 2 minutes to walk around and cool down.
Dynamic warm up:
Jog or walk in place for 3 to 5 minutes.
Exercises (45 seconds per exercise with a 15-second pause between each exercise)
Back lunge followed by knee up and shoulder press (left leg)
- Stand up with your feet at hips width, and hold the dumbbells in your hands. Lift your arms to your shoulders and make a 90-degree angle at the elbows. Lunge back with your left leg until you reach a 90-degree angle with your right knee.
- Shift your weight to your right leg, and then kick your left leg forward, lifting your knee high while simultaneously pushing your arms upward, without locking your elbows. Repeat with the same leg.
- With a straight back and tensed abs, thrust your chest forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and slightly flex your arms.
- Open your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades together in your upper back. Hold for a fraction of a second, lower, and repeat.
Lunge followed by knee and press (right leg)
Repeat exercise 1 with your right leg.
Front raise and pull
- Stand up with dumbbells in your hands, arms hanging at your sides, and the palms of your hands facing inwards.
- Lift your arms forward to shoulder height. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Bring the dumbbells toward your shoulders while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower your arms to your sides, and repeat.
Plank + cross-body mountain climbers
- Get down on your hands and toes to a plank position, and keep your body straight so that your head is in line with your back and glutes.
- Pull one of your knees toward the opposite elbow, and then straighten your leg back. Repeat by alternating between sides.
Elbow extention in sumo squat position
- Stand with your legs apart and your arms slightly open, and then lower yourself until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Make sure that your knees do not reach over your toes. Hold the dumbbells in your hands, and bring your hands behind your head by flexing your elbows.
- Extend your elbows without locking the joint. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the movement. Flex your elbows, and repeat.
- Squat down to a 90-degree angle and push your glutes and arms backwards. Keep the weight of your body on your heels.
- Jump and reach forward with your arms. Do not take any break between jumps.
One-arm chest press (right arm)
- Lay on your back, flex your legs and rest your feet flat on the ground. Rest your left arm on the floor on the side of your body. Take a dumbbell in your right hand, with your elbow flexed at shoulder height, and your forearm perpendicular to the ground.
- Push your right arm upward without locking your elbow, and then slowly lower it back. Gently brush the floor, and push back up.
Superman on all fours
- Get down on all fours, tense your abs, and keep your back straight.
- Simultaneously lift your opposite arm and leg while keeping your back straight. Return to initial position, and then repeat with the other opposite arm and leg. Alternate between both sides for each repetition.
One-arm chest press (left arm)
Repeat exercise 8 with the left arm.
Weighted oblique crunches
- Lay on your back, flex your legs, and rest your feet flat on the ground. Hold the dumbbells in your hands, and curl your arms to bring the dumbbells close to your chin.
- Perform a crunch to lift your upper body, keeping the dumbbells close to your body.
- Reach forward with your left arm while twisting your upper body to the right. Return to your centre position, and repeat on the opposite side with your other arm. Return to centre position, lay back on the ground to position A, and then repeat the entire circuit.
- Lay on your back, flex your legs, and rest your feet flat on the ground. Hold the dumbbells in your hands with palms facing each other, and reach upward with your arms over your chest.
- Reach backwards with your arms from your shoulders toward the back of your head. Keep your abs tensed to avoid lifting your lower back from the ground.
- Take a large step forward and lower yourself until your thigh is parallel to the ground, without reaching over your toes with your knee.
- Jump up and switch the position of your legs to land in an opposite lunge. Repeat by alternating between legs without taking any pause.
Walk in place for 2 minutes.
Karine Larose, M.Sc.