Six Killer Full Body Dumbbell Exercises For All Fitness Levels

Like most fitness enthusiast, you probably incorporate dumbbell exercises in your weightlifting routine. Dumbbells can be used to improve strength, endurance, stability, range of motion, and more! Typically dumbbells are used for specific body parts. This article will review ways to use dumbbells for a full body workout.

Squat, Curl, Overhead Press



GIF made from PerfectFitUSA’s video


1. Begin standing holding dumbbells with extended arms down by your thighs. 
2. Perform a squat, maintain focus on keeping your chest tall. Squat as deep as you are comfortable, but aim to bring thighs parallel to the ground. 
3. Return to standing position. 
4. Bring the dumbbells up towards your shoulders so you perform a bicep curl, and hold the weight up near your shoulders. 
5. Press the dumbbells overhead, and then slowly bring them back down towards your thighs.

Dumbbell Thruster



GIF made from Livestrong Woman’s video


1. Start this exercise standing with elbows bent and dumbbells near your shoulders. 
2. Perform a deep squat and explosively stand back up. The dumbbells should remain near your shoulders. 
3. Using the momentum of the squat, quickly and explosively raise the dumbbells overhead. Be careful to not lock out the shoulders too hard at the top.
4. As soon as your arms are overhead, bring them back down toward your shoulders and immediately perform another squat.

Dumbbell Monster Complex

1. Begin standing and holding dumbbells by your side with straight arms.
2. Perform a full squat.
3. Perform a half squat ending at the bottom position so that you are able to place the dumbbells on the ground next to your feet.
4. Quickly jump or walk your feet back so that your body is in the upper portion of a push-up position.
5. Slightly shift your weight towards your left hand and perform a row using your right arm. Focus on bringing your elbow towards the ceiling.
6. Carefully return the right hand towards the ground, shift weight and perform tow using your left hand arm. 
7. Upon completing the movement with the left arm perform a push-up.
8. Jumper or walk your feet in and stand back up.

Alternatives: You may perform this exercise without doing a push-up, without doing a row, or without doing either one.

Farmer’s Carry



GIF made from Buff Dudes’s video


You will need a clear path in front of you to perform this exercise. 
1. Begin by lifting relatively heavy dumbbells with each hand.
2. Stand tall and look forward. Hold the dumbbells down by your sides, and begin walking forward. 
3. Continue walking as quickly as possible while maintaining an upright posture and feeling safe. Attempt to walk 15-30 meters. 
4. Pick a weight that is challenging for you to walk with but allows you to maintain a grip on the dumbbells for the entire exercise.

Alternatives: Instead of walking forward attempt walking up and down a set of stairs. Be extremely careful as stairs will add in increased element of danger if the weight falls or if you slip. If no stairs are available, set up a bench or step at the end of your walking path so you can step up/down on it.

Suitcase Lift



GIF made from AFPTnorge’s video


1. Place one dumbbell on the ground by your right side, on the outside of the right leg.
2. Squat down until you can grasp the dumbbell with your right hand. 
3. Stand up. Squat back down until the dumbbell touches the ground. 
4. Repeat movement with the other side. Alternatives: Combine the suitcase lift with an overhead press and/or a bicep curl and overhead press. At the top of your squat, curl the dumbbell before returning it to the ground, or curl and lift the dumbbell overhead before bringing it down.

Alternative: Combine with Farmer Carry, or with Turkish Get Up

Turkish Get Up



GIF made from Hien coach’s video


1. Start standing while holding one dumbbell overhead with your right hand.
2. Step back with the left leg into a rear lunge position, while keeping the right arm extended overhead.
3. Drop your left hand down to the ground.
4. Support your weight on your left hand and swing your left leg under your body so that you come to a sitting position. Remember to keep the right arm extended overhead.
5. Lay down face up with legs extended and right arm now pointed up towards the ceiling.
6. Carefully roll on the left arm and bring yourself to a seated position. Right arm is now once again overhead.
7. Support your weight on your left arm and swing your left leg under your body until you are in a low lunge with the right knee bent, and right foot on the floor. Your left knee will be bent and touching the floor.
8. Stand up, while keeping your right arm overhead. Repeat movement on other side.

How do you incorporate these exercises into a routine?

The easiest way to incorporate these is exercises is to simply chose one or two of the above exercises and put them in with your current program. Another option is to have a full body weightlifting day. On this day you can include all of the aforementioned exercises. Finally consider doing 2-5 minutes of cardio, 10-20 reps of an exercise mentioned above (or a few of them), and then back to cardio. Do these weight/cardio intervals for 20-40 minutes. Because these exercises are not isolated to focus on one muscle group, you may have a hard time lifting heavy weight. These workouts are great to work on muscle endurance, as a cardio interval, for fat loss, and general conditioning/toning.

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