1-Week, 1-Dumbbell Total-Body Workout

Shana Verstegen
by Shana Verstegen
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Most of us have at least one dumbbell handy. Tried and true, these handles with two equal weights attached on the ends have been around since the early 17th century and can help you become stronger, leaner and move better. This workout requires just one dumbbell for each exercise, allowing you to train unilaterally — each side individually — utilizing your core as your body coordinates movement with this single weight.

UPPER BODY

3-POINT DUMBBELL ROW

The move: While holding a moderate-to-heavy dumbbell in the left hand, place your right hand and right knee on a bench. Establish a neutral spine, gaze forward slightly, engage behind the left shoulder blade, and pull the dumbbell to the rib cage. After the prescribed number of reps, repeat on the other side.

SINGLE-ARM BENCH PRESS

The move: Holding a moderate-weight dumbbell in your right hand, begin by laying on a flat bench with feet firmly planted on the floor. Keeping your core braced to avoid twisting and rotation, press the dumbbell directly above your shoulder. Lower it down to about 1-inch off of your chest and repeat.

SINGLE-ARM OVERHEAD PRESS WITH DUMBBELL

The move: With a strong and stable stance, begin with a moderate-weight dumbbell at ear height. Avoiding twisting, arching and shoulder shrugging, press the dumbbell straight overhead. Lower back to the start and repeat.

DUMBBELL PULLOVER

The move: Begin by lying on a flat bench with a moderate-weight dumbbell held straight above your chest. With a slight elbow bend, keep your ribcage tucked in and core braced, lower the dumbbell just past your head. Without elevating your chest, bring the dumbbell back overhead.

LOWER BODY

GOBLET SQUAT

The move: Hold a heavier dumbbell vertically by one end against your chest. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart with toes turned out slightly. Drop the hips straight down to the floor with the chest open and shoulders anchored down and back. Pretend you are separating the floor with your feet and engage your glutes as you power back up to the starting position.

DUMBBELL THRUSTERS

Dumbbell Thrusters

The move: Begin with a moderate-weight dumbbell in your right hand positioned near your right ear. Lower down into a squat, as low as you can safely go. Explosively press through the floor, stand up, and drive your arm up to the ceiling. Lower down, controlled, and repeat on the other side after the prescribed number of reps.

REVERSE LUNGE WITH OVERHEAD PRESS

The move: Begin with a moderate-weight dumbbell in your right hand, racked next to your chin. As you step back with your right leg, simultaneously press the right hand to the ceiling. Lower the right knee down to form a 90/90 angle, squeeze the glutes and return to a stand. Rerack your dumbbell and repeat for the prescribed number of reps, then repeat on the other side.

1-LEG, 1-WEIGHT ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

The move: Begin by holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand of the planted foot. Keep a neutral spine and only a slight bend in your planted leg as you hinge forward, keeping square with the ground. Once the end range of a flat torso is reached, lower that leg back to the ground.

Take care to ensure a neutral spine throughout the entire movement. Forward flexion not only takes away from the exercise but also puts excessive strain on the lumbar spine.

CORE

SINGLE-ARM FARMERS CARRY

The move: Place a dumbbell in one hand and let it hang to the side. Walk forward with a regular stride while minimizing rotation, swinging, depression or elevation of the weighted arm.

DUMBBELL SNATCH

The move: Begin by holding a dumbbell in one hand. Hinge the hips back and lower the dumbbell to just above your knee. Simultaneously unhinge your hips, pull the dumbbell up along your body, and bring it overhead with speed and power.

DUMBBELL RENEGADE ROW

Dumbbell Renegade Row

The move: Begin in a straight, tight plank position with feet wide for support. Avoiding rotation, row one dumbbell up, set it down, slide it over with the opposite hand, and row on the other side. Avoid letting your hips sag (especially during the row) to prevent low-back pain and potential injury.

DUMBBELL SIDE PLANK WITH ROTATION

The move: Line your elbow up with your shoulder and your shoulder with your hip and heel. With a very tight and braced core, push the ground away from you, staying active in the shoulder joint. Reach your top arm under your body while simultaneously raising your hips. Return to a solid and straight plank position.

Check out “Workout Routines” in the MyFitnessPal app to discover and log workouts or build your own with exercises that fit your goals. 

About the Author

Shana Verstegen
Shana Verstegen

Shana is a TRX and American Council on exercise master instructor and a six-time world champion lumberjack athlete. She holds a degree in Kinesiology
- Exercise Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is a certified personal trainer through ACE, NASM and NFPT. An energetic and personable speaker, she is also the National spokesperson for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

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