The humble dumbbell is one of the most effective pieces of kit you can use to build strength, and there’s a dumbbell exercise to target almost every muscle in your body. Plus, if you perform compound moves at pace you’ll add a conditioning element to a dumbbell workout that will improve your cardio fitness too.
It’s designed to challenge muscular endurance and strength, as well as your cardiovascular fitness. If you own a WHOOP fitness tracker Britton says it's a great opportunity to try one of WHOOP’s latest features called Strength Trainer, which will “quantify the muscular and cardiovascular load of your workout based on its volume and intensity,” says Britton.
The aim is to complete 10 rounds as fast as you can. Move quickly but don’t rush—it’s important to maintain good form to minimise the risk of injury and you also won't get the hypertrophy benefits if you cheat and skip parts of the movement.
“Rest for 60 seconds in between each round and try to bring your heart rate down before going again,” says Britton.
1 Dumbbell cluster
A cluster is a clean followed by a thruster. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells by your sides. Push your hips back and bend your knee slightly to touch the dumbbells to the floor just outside of your feet. Push through your heels, drive your hips forward and shrug your shoulders to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders, keeping your upper arms close to your body as you do. Push your hips back and bend your knees to squat down until your hips are below your knees, then push through your heels to stand up and extend your arms to press the dumbbells overhead. Lower the dumbbells to your shoulders, then to your sides.
2 Front rack dumbbell lunge
Reps 5 each side
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding dumbbells by your shoulders with your elbows pointing forward and one end of each dumbbell pointing up. Brace your core and take a big step forward. Bend both knees until your rear knee taps the floor. Push through your front foot to return to standing. Repeat on the other side. Alternate sides with each rep.
Get into a high plank position, with your body in a straight line from head to heels, holding dumbbells. Brace your core, then lift one of the dumbbells to your torso. Lower it under control. Repeat on the other side. Alternate sides with each rep.
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Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.