The Best Total Body Workout With Dumbbells

The Best Total Body Workout With Dumbbells

Total body workouts and dumbbells are a match made in heaven and the experts agree. Working your whole body in every workout is the best training method for fat loss, as you work more muscles and burn more calories, says Marc Perry, strength coach for Built Lean. The American Council on Exercise notes that adding free weights, such as dumbbells, recruits more muscle fibers and gives greater muscle and strength gains than machine training. While there isn't one best total body dumbbell workout, there are a number of different methods that deliver results.

Fat Loss Circuits
Rather than relying on cardio for your fat loss training, put your trust in dumbbells. Total-body circuits, also known as complexes, are a highly effective way of burning fat, according to Perry. Pick four to six exercises that, together, work your whole body; perform six to 12 repetitions of each, only putting the dumbbells down when you've completed every exercise. For your lower-body moves, choose two: dumbbell squats, deadlifts, forward lunges, reverse lunges or step-ups. For your upper body, do shoulder presses, push presses, floor presses, dumbbell pushups, two-arm rows or alternating rows. Start with three circuits and aim to add more or use heavier dumbbells over time.

Strength and Size Workout
Dumbbells and total body workouts aren't just for fat loss -- you can build muscle and strength with them too. Strength coach Steve Cotter, writing for Men's Health, recommends an eight-exercise session, encompassing floor presses, renegade rows, goblet squats, single-leg deadlifts, one-arm push presses, bent over rows, single-arm swings and dumbbell get-up situps. Stick to sets of six to 10 reps using dumbbells that you can just about meet the required reps with while still using good form. Complete three sets of an exercise before moving on to the next.

Time-Saving Workouts
Lack of time needn't be an issue or an excuse when you've got access to dumbbells. Perform clean and presses first, which work most of your major muscle groups on their own. Do six to eight of these then move on to dumbbell squats and Romanian deadlifts for 12 to 15 reps each, bent over rows for four to six reps and finally pushups with your hands on the dumbbells for as many reps as you can. Rest for just a minute, then aim to get another two circuits in the remaining time.

Considerations
For the strength and size workout, you'll need to use dumbbells with various weights as you'll be stronger on some moves than others. For the complex and time-saving sessions, stick with the same dumbbells throughout. If you're not sure about some exercises, ask a qualified trainer for assistance and always consult your health care provider before starting a new routine. You can either switch completely to total body dumbbell workouts for all your training, or incorporate one or two sessions per week alongside your current strength and cardio training.