Build Lean Muscle With Two Dumbbells And These Six Exercises

Man performs dumbbell snatch
(Image credit: Srdjanns74 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

What are you looking for in your next workout? How about something that will “‘get you in shape, build lean muscle and also increase your anaerobic endurance”? That’s what Level 4 strength and conditioning coach Will Duru promises with this full-body workout.

All you need is a set of heavy dumbbells, a weights bench and a determined attitude.

Workout Overview

  1. Goblet squat 4 x 12
  2. Snatch 4 x 12 each side
  3. Single-arm row 4 x 10 each side
  4. Clean and press 4 x 10
  5. Reverse lunge 4 x 10 each side
  6. Farmers walk 4 x 15m

Rest 30 seconds between sets.

Form Guides

1 Goblet squat

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 30sec

Stand holding the end of one heavy dumbbell in both hands, close to your chest. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your elbows are between your knees. Drive through your heels to stand. Keep your back straight and chest facing forward throughout.

2 Dumbbell snatch 

Sets 4 Reps 12 each side Rest 30sec

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place a dumbbell on the floor just in front of you. Keeping your back straight throughout, push your hips back, bend your knees and reach down to pick up the dumbbell in one hand. Drive through your feet to extend your knees and hips to lift the dumbbell off the floor. As the dumbbell rises, pull with your arm, raising the dumbbell directly overhead. Lower the dumbbell, under control. Keep the dumbbell close to your body throughout. Do all your reps on one side then switch sides.

3 Dumbbell single-arm row

Sets 4 Reps 10 each side Rest 30sec

Place your right knee on a bench and hold the far side of the bench with your right hand. Bend over the bench with your left leg out straight to the side and a dumbbell in your left hand, with your arm straight. Lift the dumbbell up to your ribcage, keeping your elbow close to your body and your back flat. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top, then lower the dumbbell, under control.

4 Dumbbell hang clean and press

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 30sec

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells  in each hand with an overhand grip, palms facing towards you. Bend your knees slightly then straighten up explosively to generate the momentum to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Then extend your arms to press the dumbbells overhead. Reverse the move to the start, under control.

5 Dumbbell reverse lunge

Sets 4 Reps 10 each side Rest 30sec

Stand holding dumbbells by your sides. Keeping your back flat, take a big step back with your left foot, bending both knees until your left knee touches the floor. Your right knee should remain directly above your right ankle throughout. Push through your right heel to return to standing. Repeat on the other side, alternating sides with each rep.

6 Farmer's walk

Sets 4 Distance 15m Rest 30sec

Stand holding heavy dumbbells by your sides. Engage your core and, keeping a flat back throughout, walk 15 meters with the dumbbells.

More Workouts To Try

Did that hit the spot? Then Coach has plenty more challenging dumbbell workouts for you to try. CrossFit is a great place to turn for tough dumbbell sweats, and we have this dumbbell CrossFit workout and CrossFit AMRAP to try. More of a HIIT fan? Check out this dumbbell HIIT workout instead.

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.