Full-Body Dumbbell Workouts At Home Or At The Gym

By:    Published: September 15, 2011

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For many people, one of the main challenges to getting enough exercise each week is a lack of time. If it takes too long to get a workout completed, you'll either have to cut the workout short or skip it altogether. However, when you can get your workout done quickly, you'll have more time to get it over with and move on to other items on your daily to-do list. Pack a powerful punch in each and every workout by trying these full body dumbbell workouts either at home or at the gym. By working on several areas of your body at once rather than one at a time, you can create a more efficient workout that fits into your schedule.

Bent-Over Rows

This exercise is useful for working your shoulders, back, upper arms and lower arms. If you bend at the knees properly, you will also work your thighs to a lesser extent. This full-body dumbbell workout is sure to get your blood pumping as well:

  1. With feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, stand up straight and hold two dumbbells at your sides.
  2. Slowly lower your torso until it is almost parallel to the floor. Bend at both the hips and knees to achieve this position.
  3. Hold your dumbbells in front of your thighs - don't let your arms hang down so your elbows lock.
  4. Pull the dumbbells up to each side of your torso so that your arms and elbows are above the level of your back.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down until they are in front of your thighs.
  6. Repeat as many times as you like.

Seated Dumbbell Curl

This exercise is useful for working your upper and lower arms, your back and your chest. With proper posture and focus on tightening your muscles, you can turn this arm workout into more of a full-body workout by tightening your abs between reps:

  1. Sit on a bench or a chair with your back straight and knees together.
  2. Hold your dumbbells with your palms facing up. Let the dumbbells hang at your sides to begin.
  3. Move into the starting position by bending at the elbows and creating tension in your biceps.
  4. Keeping your back straight and your elbows close to your sides, slowly pull the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  5. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Don't lock your elbows when the dumbbells are down at your sides again.
  6. Repeat as many times as you like.

Dumbbell Lunge

This exercise is useful for working your thighs, calf muscles and glutes. By keeping good posture throughout the workout, you can also work your abs and back to a lesser extent:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and back straight.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in towards your sides. Let the dumbbells hang down at your sides.
  3. Take a long step forward with your right foot.
  4. Lower your body towards the floor, making sure to keep your back straight and upright the entire time. Your right leg should bend until the thigh is parallel to the floor. Meanwhile, your left knee will drop towards the floor underneath your torso.
  5. Push down on your right foot to return your body to the starting position.
  6. Repeat with the opposite leg, and continue alternating as many times as you like.

Lying Dumbbell Extensions

This dumbbell workout is great for targeting multiple muscle groups. Use it for working your upper and lower arms, shoulders and chest:

  1. Lie back on a bench with your feet still on the floor slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a weight in each hand and lift the dumbbells until your arms are extended straight above the shoulders on each side of your body. Your palms should be facing in towards each other and your elbows should not be locked.
  3. Bend at the elbows to lower the dumbbells down until they are next to either side of your head. Keep your elbows in the direction of your hips throughout the exercise - don't let them come out to the sides.
  4. After a short pause, slowly raise the dumbbells back to their starting position above your shoulders.
  5. Repeat as many times as you like.

Dumbbell Shrug

This exercise is useful for working your upper back, shoulders and the muscles in and around your neck. You can also work your arms to a lesser extent:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang down at your sides. Do not lock your elbow.
  3. Let your shoulders hang down with the weight of the dumbbells.
  4. Slowly shrug your shoulders to lift the dumbbells up slightly. Make sure to raise your shoulders up straight - do not roll them forwards or backwards during this motion.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat as many times as you like.

Tips for Your Workout

Keep in mind that each person will have a different strength level when doing these full-body dumbbell workouts. According to Men's Health, beginners should start out with around 20 to 30 pounds of weight and take longer breaks (around 90 seconds) in between different exercises. As your strength increases, slowly add more weight to your dumbbells and shorten your recovery time between exercises. You may also need to adjust the weight of your dumbbells front one activity to another depending on your strength level in different areas of the body.

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