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Try This 20-Minute Full-Body Dumbbell ‘Blaster’

By Rozalynn S. Frazier July 20th, 2020 | Image Source: Live Strong

Working out at home means plenty of modifications to your usual gym routine. You trade in your barbell for dumbbells, the cable machine for resistance bands and cardio machines for body-weight HIIT circuits.

And yes, one of those modifications might be working out with only one dumbbell. Whether your kids borrowed one to play with, your partner is using one as a doorstop, one rolled under the couch and now you can’t find it or your local sporting good store was sold out of all but one, you can make it work with only one weight.

Single-dumbbell workouts (and dumbbell workouts in general) challenge your balance and force you to recruit more stabilizing muscles, says Lauren Williams, a certified personal trainer and founder of Chisel Club.

This workout, created by Williams, focuses on strength and endurance. “You are working your whole body using resistance to challenge your strength and stability. Plus you are challenging your cardiovascular system by working to your max within each time frame.”

How Much Weight Should I Lift?

If you have options, Williams says to pick one that allows you to do all of the exercises with good form but one where the last two reps are challenging. Also consider that you’ll be doing upper-body moves (ex. overhead press) as well as lower-body moves (lunges), so pick something a little heavier than you’re used to for upper-body work and a little lighter than your go-to for lower body, Williams says.

How Much Weight Do I Need for Dumbbells?

Try This 20-Minute Single-Dumbbell Strength Workout

Before you start this workout, warm up for 2 to 3 minutes, doing a combination of cardio drills (jumping jacks, high knees, jump rope, etc.) and dynamic stretches (side-to-side lunges, air squats, side bends, etc.).

Do: each of the exercises listed below for 45 seconds, resting for 15 seconds before moving onto the next one.

Move 1: Reverse Lunge (Left)

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in.
  • Step your left foot back about 2 feet, landing on the ball of your foot; keep your heel off the floor.
  • Bend both knees, lowering down until legs form 90-degree angles.
  • Push through the heel of your right foot to rise back up and return to start.

Tip

“Tuck your hips under you,” Williams says, “and try to keep your them even as you lower into your lunge.”

Move 2: Lunge Hold With Hammer Curl (Right)

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in.
  • Step forward about 2 feet with left foot and plant it on the floor.
  • As you bend knees and lower down, sinking to your lowest stable position, curl the weight up toward your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the weight back down to your side.
  • Maintaining lunge position, repeat the curl for 10 reps.
  • Push through your left foot to rise back up, return to start and repeat.

Tip

Williams advice: Maintain a tall posture with shoulders back and core engaged.

Move 3: Reverse Lunge (Right)

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in your left hand, palm facing in.
  • Step your right foot back about 2 feet, landing on the ball of your foot; keep your heel off the floor.
  • Bend both knees, lowering down until legs form 90-degree angles.
  • Push through the heel of your left foot to rise back up and return to start.

Tip

You want to keep more weight in your front leg, Williams says.

Move 4: Lunge Hold With Hammer Curl (Left)

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in your left hand, palm facing in.
  • Step forward about 2 feet with right foot and plant it on the floor.
  • As you bend knees and lower down, sinking to your lowest stable position, curl the weight up toward your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower the weight back down to your side.
  • Maintaining lunge position, repeat the curl for 10 reps.
  • Push through your left foot to rise back up, return to start and repeat.

Move 5: Triceps Extensions

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell vertically with both hands above your head.
  • Bending your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head, keeping your upper arms still.
  • Extend your arms back up.

Tip

“Keep elbows pointing forward and close to your head throughout the movement,” says Williams.

Move 6: Toe Raises With Dumbbell

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in your hands at chest level.
  • Raise up onto the balls of your feet, squeezing legs and glutes. Hold for one to two seconds.
  • Lower heels back down.

Tip

“Don’t rush,” says Williams. “Focus on balance and control. Push through all of your toes and the balls of your feet as evenly as possible.”

Move 7: Triceps Extensions

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell vertically with both hands above your head.
  • Bending your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head, keeping your upper arms still.
  • Extend your arms back up.

Tip

Engage your the muscles throughout your entire body like you are in a standing plank, holding your core tight and squeezing your glutes to avoid arching your break.

Move 8: Toe Raises With Dumbbell

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in your hands at chest level.
  • Raise up onto the balls of your feet, squeezing legs and glutes. Hold for one to two seconds.
  • Lower heels back down.

Tip

Keep your glutes engaged the entire time, Williams says.

Move 9: Single-Leg Deadlift (Left)

  • Stand with your feet together and a dumbbell in your right hand in front of your right thigh, palm facing in.
  • Shift your weight to your left leg and bend your left knee slightly.
  • Hinge at your hips, raise your right leg straight back and lower the weight toward the floor.
  • Push through your left foot to slowly lift back up to start.

Tip

“Aim to lower the weight so it’s about shin level, below the knee,” says Williams. “And keep shoulders pulled back, gently retracting so that the weighted side of your body is even and you are not twisting.”

Move 10: Lateral Beast Crawl With Dumbbell Drag (Right)

  • Start on all fours with wrists under shoulders, knees under hips and toes tucked. Place a dumbbell next to the outside of the left hand.
  • Engage your core and lift your knees off the floor.
  • Maintaining this position, reach your right arm under the left to grab the dumbbell and pull it across the floor to the right side of body just outside of the right arm.
  • Step the right hand and foot over to the right, followed by the left.

Tip

Keep your hips even with your shoulders so they do not hike up in the air as you’re moving.

Move 11: Single-Leg Deadlift (Right)

  • Stand with your feet together and a dumbbell in your left hand in front of your right thigh, palm facing in.
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and bend your right knee slightly.
  • Hinge at your hips, raise your left leg straight back and lower the weight toward the floor.
  • Push through your right foot to slowly lift back up to start.

Tip

Williams says the goal is for your hips and torso to be even. “You could set a glass of water on your hips and it would not slide off to one side,” she says. Williams also suggests pointing the toes of the lifted leg toward the ground to avoid external rotation.

Move 12: Lateral Beast Crawl With Dumbbell (Left)

  • Start on all fours with wrists under shoulders, knees under hips and toes tucked. Place a dumbbell next to the outside of the right hand.
  • Engage your core and lift your knees off the floor.
  • Maintaining this position, reach your left arm under the right to grab the dumbbell and pull it across the floor to the left side of body just outside of the left arm.
  • Step the left hand and foot over to the left, followed by the right.

Tip

According to Williams, your knees should hover just above the ground. Also, “press even into hands and feet,” she says.

Move 14: Overhead Press in Split Stance (Left)

  • Stand with your feet in a staggered stance with the left foot in front of the right with a dumbbell in your right hand at shoulder height.
  • Press the dumbbell overhead, straightening your elbow completely.
  • Slowly bend your elbow to lower the dumbbell back down to your shoulder.

Tip

When the arms are extended, “you want to get your wrist stacked over your shoulder and elbow in line with your ear,” she says.

Move 15: Squat to Toe Raise With Dumbbell

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in both hands at chest level.
  • Bend your knees, stick your butt back and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Press into your feet to rise back up to standing.
  • Raise up onto the balls of your feet, squeezing your legs and glutes.
  • Lower your heels back down.

Tip
Looking to get more depth in your squat? Williams suggests letting your toes turn out on an angle.

Move 16: Overhead Press in Split Stance (Right)

  • Stand with your feet in a staggered stance with the right foot in front of the left with a dumbbell in your left hand at shoulder height.
  • Press the dumbbell overhead, straightening your elbow completely.
  • Slowly bend your elbow to lower the dumbbell back down to your shoulder.

Tip

“Avoid shrugging, actively pull shoulders away from your ears as you press overhead,” says Williams.

Move 17: Squat to Toe Raise With Dumbbell

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in both hands at chest level.
  • Bend your knees, stick your butt back and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Press into your feet to rise back up to standing.
  • Raise up onto the balls of your feet, squeezing your legs and glutes.
  • Lower your heels back down.

Tip

Williams suggests holding in your raised position for one or two seconds before lowering down. And don’t forget to cool down after your workout with 2 to 3 minutes of static stretching.

Author: Rozalynn S. Frazier

Source: Live Strong: This 20-Minute Full-Body Strength Workout Uses Only a Single Dumbbell

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