Muscle-Balancing Home Workout Featuring Alternate Dumbbell Moves

Alternate dumb-bell roll-out
(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

This home workout is very one-sided – in that all the moves only work one side of your body at a time. That’s useful because each side has to do the same amount of work, so you get balanced muscle growth.

Most people have some level of strength imbalance, which can’t be addressed when you do two-sided moves, such as the barbell overhead presses, because it’s difficult to tell whether or not one side is working harder than the other. These moves are also good for your core muscles because your midsection has to be switched on to prevent you from rocking.

If you have access to a gym, add this unilateral workout to your training as well.

Muscle-Balancing Home Workout

Days: Do this workout three times a week for four weeks. 

Timing: This workout should take about 30 minutes, including a quick warm-up

Warm-up: Spend five minutes doing bodyweight exercises such as press-ups, squats and lunges. 

Equipment: You will need a gym ball and pair of dumbbells. If you need to buy weights, browse our selection of the best dumbbells.

Weight selection: Choose a weight that allows you to complete all your reps but no more.  

Tempo: Take one second to lift the weight, pause then take three seconds to lower. 

Rest: Rest for 30-45 seconds between sets and for one minute between exercises.

1 Anterior leg reach

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side

Raise your arm and arch your back slightly. Bend at the hips to bring your hand down to your opposite foot.

2 Gym ball dumbbell alternating chest-press

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side

Lie with your shoulders on the gym ball and press one dumbbell. As you lower the weight, start to press the other dumbbell.

3 Gym ball dumbbell one-arm row

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side

Kneel on a gym ball, supporting yourself on one hand with a dumbbell hanging down in the other. Pull the dumbbell up to your chest, keeping your elbow high.

4 Single-leg squat

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side

Stand on one leg with your other foot off the ground. Sink down into a squat, keeping your torso upright and your knees in line with your toes.

5 Standing alternate shoulder press

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side

Press one dumbbell overhead. As you lower it, press the dumbbell in your other hand.

6 Hammer curl

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side

Perform a biceps curl without rotating your wrists outwards as you lift the weight.

7 Standing overhead triceps extension

Start with your upper arm vertical and the dumbbell behind your head. Straighten at the elbow.

8 Alternate dumbbell roll-out

Sets 1 Reps 10

Roll both dumbbells out together. Draw one back into your body and roll it out again. Repeat that on the other side for one rep.

Jon Lipsey

Jon Lipsey worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Jon was deputy editor and editor from 2007 to 2013. He returned as editor-in-chief from 2016 to 2019. He also co-founded IronLife Media and the New Body Plan