Fitness

25-Minute Total-Body Dumbbell Workout

You don't need a ton of time to tackle a really solid workout. In fact, sometimes keeping it short and sweet is the best way to get it done. Sure, there's a time and place for lengthy gym sessions or a really drawn-out activity like a run or hike, but for a regular old total-body workout on your average weekday? I know my MO is usually to get in and out in the most efficient way possible.

That's exactly what this workout does. I wanted to put together something you can turn to when you're hoping to challenge your entire body but don't have an hour to do it. It's just about 25 minutes long, requires only dumbbells, and it really does hit all the major muscle groups in your upper body, lower body, and core. The not-so-secret sauce is that it's jam-packed with compound exercises. Compound exercises are just moves that work more than one muscle group at once. They're incredibly efficient, allowing you to check off multiple areas at once while sneaking in both core and cardio work—your body has to work harder in every way to coordinate this type of movement. Each circuit also includes a cardio-focused move—like plank jacks and high knees—for an extra burst of intensity.

I ran this workout by Los Angeles–based certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor Juan Hidalgo, who says it's a great choice because it not only includes compound strength moves and cardio exercises, it also involves all the major movement patterns (squatting, pushing, pulling, and more) and in multiple directions. Bodies can move in many different ways, so it's important to keep yours strong in more than just forward-to-backward movements if you want to optimize your workouts and athletic prowess, minimize your risk for injury, and simply move through life easier and more comfortably.

I tried to include exercises that I actually enjoy myself: the single-leg deadlift to reverse lunge and the glute bride with skull crusher are two of my all-time favorites. They're compound and require a lot of focus, but once you've got the movement down, they make your body feel connected and strong. I don't know about you, but that's the way I always want to feel during a workout.

Next time you're looking for a full-body workout you can do in a reasonable amount of time, try this 25-minute dumbbell workout.

The Workout

This workout is divided into four circuits. Do each circuit three times, resting 15 seconds after each, and then rest 1 minute before moving onto the next circuit. Don't forget to warm up before jumping in!

What you'll need: One set of medium to heavy dumbbells for the lower-body exercises, and one set of light to medium dumbbells for some of the upper-body exercises.

Circuit 1

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest 5 seconds between moves (just about the time it should take to transition to the next one). Rest 15 seconds at the end of the circuit. Do the circuit 3 times.

  • Dumbbell thruster
  • Skater hop
  • Lateral to forward raise

Rest 1 minute.

Circuit 2

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest 5 seconds between moves (just about the time it should take to transition to the next one). Rest 15 seconds at the end of the circuit. Do the circuit 3 times.

  • Lateral lunge
  • Plank jack
  • Hammer curl

Rest 1 minute.

Circuit 3

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest 5 seconds between moves (just about the time it should take to transition to the next one). Rest 15 seconds at the end of the circuit. Do the circuit 3 times.

  • Single-leg deadlift to reverse lunge
  • Lunge jump
  • Push-up

Rest 1 minute.

Circuit 4

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest 5 seconds between moves (just about the time it should take to transition to the next one). Rest 15 seconds at the end of the circuit. Do the circuit 3 times.

  • Renegade row to triceps kickback
  • High knees
  • Glute bridge with skull crusher

Here’s how to do each move:

Demoing the moves below are Rachel Denis, a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York state powerlifting records; Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies; Cookie Janee, a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve; and Crystal Williams, a group fitness instructor and trainer who teaches at residential and commercial gyms across New York City.

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