9 Dumbbell Exercises to Work Out Your Entire Body - Montreal Fitness
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9 Dumbbell Exercises to Work Out Your Entire Body

by Steve Theunissen on Jun 11, 2021

Contrary to what commercial gyms would have us believe, you don’t need a lot of equipment to get in a good workout. In fact, so long as you’ve got a set of dumbbells and a bench, you’re good to go. That’s all you need to get in a full body workout that you can complete in around 45 minutes. In this article, I’ll provide full details on that workout and provide you with some pretty compelling reasons to make the switch to dumbbells.

Dumbbell Benefits

Dumbbells have a number of distinct advantages. For one thing, they allow you to work each side of the body unilaterally. That allows you to correct muscular imbalances and more fully focus on isolating the working muscle.

Working with dumbbells also allows you to move the working muscle through a full range of motion. That is because your movement is not impeded by the weight. Dumbbells are also more versatile than other forms of workout equipment such as machines or barbells. You are able to perform a greater range of exercises for all parts of the body as well as use them for more specific movements. 

Full Body Dumbbell Workout

Dumbbell Bulgarian Squat

Stand in front of a bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Extend one foot back so that your toes are resting on the bench. Your distance from the bench should see the back leg slightly bent. Now lower down into a squat, bringing the dumbbells down to the floor. Next, push through your heel to return to the starting position. 

Reverse Dumbbell Lunges

Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Now extend one leg back to full extension and drop that knee down toward the ground. Push through the front thigh to return to the starting position. Perform all your reps with one leg before switching to the other. 

Dumbbell Deadlift

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing inward. Without bending the knees, pivot at the hips to lower your torso down toward the floor. When the dumbbells reach mid calf level, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

Decline Dumbbell Press

Set an adjustable workout bench to a 30 degree decline. Now lie on the bench while holding your dumbbells. Extend your arms above your chest, with your palms facing away from you and hands together. Now lower your arms out and down to the sides. In the bottom position, your forearms should be at right angles to your upper arms, which should be in line with your torso. Concentrate on expanding the chest as you come down. From here, contract your chest as you push back to the starting position, bringing the dumbbells back together above your chest. 

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

Stand with feet shoulder width apart while holding your dumbbells. Bend your knees slightly as you pivot from the hips to bring your torso down to a 30 degree angle to the floor. Stay locked in this position as you bring the dumbbells from full arm extension at your sides up to your ribcage. Lower and repeat. 

Alternate Standing Dumbbell Curl

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the dumbbells with your palms facing your thighs. Now, begin to curl your left arm up toward your shoulder, turning the wrist so that the palm is facing forward in the top position. Forcefully contract the bicep in the top position. As you lower the arm, begin curling with the right arm. Continue in this alternating manner until your reps are completed. 

Decline Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Set an adjustable workout bench to a 30 degree decline. Now grab a pair of light dumbbells and lie on the bench with your arms extended above your torso. Keeping your elbows in at your sides, bent at the elbow to bring the weights down to the bench on either side of your head. Once you reach the fully extended position, forcefully contract the triceps to return to the starting position.

Arnold Press

Sit on the end of the bench with a pair of dumbbells resting on your thighs. Maintaining a neutral back position with a slight arch, lift the dumbbells up to shoulder level, with the palms facing in toward the body. Now press the dumbbells straight up, supinating your wrists so that the palms are facing away from your body in the top position of the movement. Lower and repeat. 

The Workout

Exercise

Sets & Reps

Dumbbell Bulgarian Squat

3 x 12 (each leg)

Dumbbell Lunges

3 x 12 (each leg)

Dumbbell Deadlift

3 x 12

Decline Dumbbell Press

3 x 12

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

3 x 12

Standing Dumbbell Curl

3 x 12 (each arm)

Decline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

3 x 12 (each arm)

Arnold Press

3 x12


Wrap Up

You now have an effective full body dumbbell workout that can be done anywhere you have access to a bench and a pair of dumbbells. This is  a very good beginner workout to carry you through your first few months of exercising with weights. 

Perform the workout twice per week, giving yourself two full days to recover between workouts. For example, you could work out on Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday. After six months on this full body dumbbell workout, you will be ready to move on to a split routine, where you train two or three body parts per workout.