If you’re looking for a low-kit session that will hit every muscle, grab a pair of medium-weight dumbbells and give this full-body dumbbell workout for women a go!
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Want to get fit on next-to-no kit? Dumbbell exercises can provide a great full-body workout that you can do from home without the need for oodles of equipment. Whether you’re moving in your lounge or outside in the garden sunshine, this full-body dumbbell workout for women will challenge your body from head to toe.
Each move in this workout has a purpose, to target every muscle in the body using just one set of dumbbells. We’ll start by working the upper-body muscles and move towards working those at the bottom of the body, before finishing off with exercises that work the larger muscles – these won’t fatigue as quickly as your triceps and the smaller muscles in your arms.
All the moves are compound (multi-muscle) moves, which means they will recruit more than one muscle group. The net result is you’ll end up building more metabolically active, lean muscle tissue. This is great news for fat burning because the more muscle mass you have, the more effective your body is at burning calories – even at rest!
How to do this full-body dumbbell workout:
Spend 45 seconds on each of the following six moves, switching quickly from one to the other keeping at least one dumbbell in your hand. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times, resting for two minutes between each round.
Full-body dumbbell workout for women
- Dumbbell swing
- Upright row
- Reverse fly
- Dumbbell shoulder press
- Dumbbell overhead side bend
- Front squat
Keep reading for full instructions on how to perform each exercise in this full-body dumbbell workout.
1. Dumbbell swing
Targets your whole body, raises your heart rate and prepares your body for the workout ahead.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding one end of a dumbbell with both hands in front of you.
- Swing the dumbbell back between your legs (A).
- Thrust your hips forwards to move the dumbbell up and out to about shoulder height (B). Lower with control, then repeat.
2. Upright row
A great upper-body move that works the biceps, shoulders and upper back.
- Stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees, feet shoulder-width apart and holding the dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing your body (A). Maintain a neutral spine and keep your chest up.
- Keeping your arms straight, pull the dumbbells up towards the top of your chest, close to your body, and elbows slightly higher than wrists (B).
- Lower with control and repeat.
3. Reverse fly
Works deep into the upper back and is great for posture, helping you stand tall.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold a pair of dumbbells, arms at sides, palms facing in.
- Bend forward at your hips so your torso is almost parallel to the floor, allowing the dumbbells to hang down naturally (A).
- With elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells out to the sides so that your elbows extend above your shoulders (B). Return to the starting position, then repeat.
4. Dumbbell shoulder press
This move not only gets your heart rate up, but also works your co-ordination and shoulders.
- Hold a dumbbell horizontally in each hand, with elbows bent at shoulder-height and wrists stacked above elbows (A).
- Press the dumbbells straight up overhead (B), then lower your arms back to the starting position with control. Repeat immediately.
5. Dumbbell overhead side bend
Targets the external and internal obliques; strengthens and tightens the entire core, including the lower back.
- Hold a dumbbell horizontally overhead with both hands (A).
- Without twisting your upper body, bend towards your left side until you feel a good stretch on your right side (B).
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side, continue alternating.
6. Front squat
Targets the quadriceps and glute max. This is a great version that reduces lower backpressure during the squat.
- Start with feet hip-width apart, holding both dumbbells on your shoulders with a neutral grip (palms upwards) and elbows to the sides (A).
- Hinge back, keeping your back straight, like you’re sitting on an imaginary bench (B).
- Lower your body until your hips are levels with or below your knees. Complete the move by driving through your hips as you come back up to the standing position, then repeat.
Photography: Eddie Macdonald | Words & Model: Lucy Miller | Clothing: Pour Moi Energy Eyelet Legging and Energy Empress High Neck Padded Non-Wired Sports Bra