You don’t need to hit the gym to get a workout that burns out—and builds up—your muscles. To get seriously strong and lean, all you need is a set of dumbbells—and these six creative dumbbell workouts. Each one adds a fun, challenging element to your typical free weight routine, whether that’s with exercises you’ve never tried before or a change in tempo that tests your strength.
Choose your goal, select one of these dumbbell workouts, do a proper warmup, then go hard. Your at-home strength workout just got leveled up. Note: If workout doesn’t indicate specific rest, take a breather as needed
The Most Creative Dumbbell Workouts to Build Muscle and Burn Fat at Home
1. The Compound Total-body Dumbbell Workout
“When I think of exercising with limited equipment I think How can I get more bang for my buck,” says Kelvin Gary, C.P.T., CEO and owner of Body Space Fitness in New York City. To get more out of every move, Gary combines movements to increase intensity and get different muscle groups to work together. Here’s his workout that does just that.
Instructions: Perform 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
- Staggered Stance Jump Squat: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in rigtht hand with arm extended. Step your right foot back and raise the heel off the ground, as you lower into a squat until knees are bent at 90 degrees. Drive through feet and explode off ground, jumping as high as you can. Land as softly as possible, making sure you keep the dumbbell at your side at all times, without bending or collapsing at your torso. Reset the lifted heel each time. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
- Lateral Lunge and Press: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell at shoulder level with elbow bent. Take a lateral step to the left, bending your knee and hinging at the hip, keeping your right leg straight. Push through left foot to stand, as you press the dumbbell in right hand overhead. Return the dumbbell to right shoulder and repeat for reps, then switch sides.
- Single-Leg RDL Reach and Row: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in right hand with arm extended. Slightly elevate right foot off the ground. Perform a single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL) by slightly bending left knee, hinging at left hip, and reaching the dumbbell in right hand toward left foot. Reach as far as you can while keeping chest proud and spine neutral. From here, pull right elbow toward ribcage to row the dumbbell up, then extend left knee and hip to stand. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
- Renegade Row With Leg Lift: Come into a high plank position with right hand grasping a dumbbell. Maintaining a strong plank, row dumbbell to ribcage as you lift left foot off the ground. (Try to keep hips steady by engaging core.) Place your hand and foot back down. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
- Situp to Seated Twist: Lie flat on your back, legs extended, holding a dumbbell at your chest with both hands. Perform a situp, bending at the hips and knees, lifting legs and torso off the floor. Perform one Russian twist (rotate to each side) with the dumbbell, then lower back down to the floor. Repeat.
- Low-to-High Wood Chop: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Holding one dumbbell in both hands, bring to outside of right knee, left heel off the ground and left knee facing right knee. Stand up by driving through right leg and briefly stop the dumbbell at chest. Then, pivot to the left, switching foot position so right heel raises and right knee faces left knee. At the same time, press dumbbell overhead, over left shoulder. Bring dumbbell back to center, both feet facing forward, before bringing back to right knee. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.