Dumbbell only full body workout
Page last updated: 18th January 2023
If you’re looking for a full body blast, then this is the workout for you. This dumbbell- only workout is designed to challenge your upper body, lower body and your abs too. It’s packed full of compound movements and also has a couple of unilateral movements – such as the single arm snatch – to help develop coordination and muscular balance.
Check out the full workout below or keep reading to the end of this guide to learn more about the benefits of dumbbell-only workouts.
Dumbbell only full body workout
Don’t forget to complete a dynamic warm up before getting started with any workout, even if you’re simply using dumbbells. And cool down with some static stretches at the end. This will help to prevent any potential injuries or post-workout aches.
This is an accumulator so you will start at 2 reps of each exercise and work your way up to 10 reps, adding 2 reps every time for a total of 5 rounds (2,4,6,8,10).
1. Single Arm Snatch To Reverse Lunge
- Start with your legs hip-width apart with the dumbbell in between
- Take the dumbbell from the floor and snatch it up the front of the body, driving to the top of the overhead extension position
- Once you’ve completed the snatch drive the leg back into that lunge position whilst keeping the dumbbell overhead
- Place the opposite arm out to the side to help stabilise yourself and counterbalance the weight
- Repeat and keep your core engaged throughout
2. Pulsing Goblet Squats – 20 reps x 3 sets
- Start by positioning your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, rotated to approximately a 45-degree angle
- Hold one dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest
- Complete one squat by pushing down through your hips while bending at the knee, before driving back up
- Follow up with four squat pulses by squatting down and squatting up halfway before repeating
- Keep the dumbbell close to your midline, tuck the elbows in and avoid bringing it away from your body
- Keep your abs braced and sit nice and tall throughout
3. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift – 12 reps on each leg x 3 sets
- Stagger your legs and place the weight in the front foot, with your back leg acting as a stabiliser throughout the movement
- Hinge at the hip and slowly move the dumbbells down your thighs
- Stop when you feel the stretch in your hamstring and then return back to standing by pushing your hips forward and chest upwards
- Keep the weight close to the centre throughout and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement
4A. Dumbbell Ski Swings – 10 reps x 3 sets
- Start with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand
- Push the hips back and swing the dumbbells behind you
- Explosively thrust forward your hips whilst swinging the dumbbells to the front
- Remember to squeeze your glutes in the drive for power generation
4B. Push Press – 10 reps x 3 sets
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and front rack the dumbbells up to your shoulders
- Dip into a shallow squat keeping your core engaged
- Explosively push up through your legs and shoulders and drive the dumbbells up above your head
- Lock out safely, and keep the weight directly above the shoulder joint
Frequently Asked Questions About Dumbbell-Only Workouts
Can you do a full body workout with just dumbbells?
You can absolutely give your whole body a full workout with dumbbells. You don't actually need a lot of equipment to build strength - even a bodyweight workout can be great for improving your health, fitness and strength.
Dumbbells are a great way to add resistance to make exercises more challenging and create tension on the muscles, which will help with strength and size gains. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight of the dumbbells to continue to progress.
Is it better to do a full body dumbbell workout or split workouts?
How you split your dumbbell workouts depends on a few factors. If you’re a beginner or are restarting after a break, a total body approach can be a good way to ease your body into a routine and getting your muscles used to the movements. Working out your full body in each session is also a convenient way to target most muscle groups in a short amount of time, so is perfect if you can only exercise once or twice a week.
Once you get used to regularly working out or are able to commit to more sessions a week, then you could consider moving on to split workouts, where you focus on different muscle groups each time you exercise. Examples include this dumbbell upper body workout, dumbbell core exercises or a session that focuses solely on your lower body.
How do you know which weight to use for a dumbell-only workout?
The amount of weight you can lift will vary for each exercise you do during a workout. For example, you'll most likely be able to squat heavier than you can bicep curl. Ideally, you would have a range of weights, from lighter to heavier dumbbells.
When picking the amount of weight to use, start with a lighter dumbbell and make sure you’re happy that you can complete the movement with good form for the desired reps, but be close to failure by your last rep.
This can mean the weight you use for a single exercise might vary between workouts, depending on the type of workout you are doing. For example, a strength training workout aimed at muscle hypertrophy will usually include 3-4 rounds of 8-12 reps, whereas a circuit style workout may only involve four rounds of four reps.
You may need to trial different weights when starting a new exercise or workout, but you'll quickly learn the right weight to use. Just remember to increase it when the weight no longer feels challenging.
Looking for more dumbbell only workouts to try? We've shared a full body dumbbell only workout for beginners here. You can also find more workouts you can try over on our workout exercise and routines hub.