Do you have a dumbbell lying around your house that guilt-trips you every time you walk past it? If you’re wondering how to make the best of it during your next full-body workout, you’ve come to the right place.
If you thought dumbbells can only be used for arm workouts targeting biceps and triceps, you’ve been misled. You don’t even need two dumbbells! Just grab one and head right into our pick of six single dumbbell workouts that are sure to hit every muscle in your body. What to do with the other dumbbell, you ask? Bring along a workout partner.
A dynamic warm-up or stretching should be included in every workout regardless of the goal, ability, or sport. A dynamic warm-up is a series of movements performed with the purpose of preparing the joints and muscles for the workout. Dynamic warmups are done in the early stages of a workout to prevent muscle spasms and injuries.
Dynamic warm-ups are the key to performance and training longevity.
There are fewer risks compared to the workouts done without dynamic warm-ups.
Suggested dynamic warm-ups:
- Hand rotations.
- Leg swings.
- Dynamic pigeon stretch.
- Fire hydrant circles.
- Leg crossover.
- Page turns.
Goblet Squats – Single Dumbbell Workout #1
Goblet squats are air squats performed with a dumbbell or a kettlebell. A full-body workout, goblet squats work your quads, calves, glutes, core, and arms, as well as, increase grip strength.
For basic squat form watch this video.
How to do a Goblet Squat?
- Hold the dumbbell at your chest with both hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Engage your core, keeping your chest up, and then lower into a squat, butt first.
Pro tip: Try to go down as deep as you comfortably can and squeeze your butt as you come up for glute activation.
- Warm up with two sets of 10 to 12 reps with very low or body weight and increase the weight gradually as you go.
Dumbbell Tricep Extension – Single Dumbbell Workout #2
Dumbbell tricep extensions are a wonderful exercise for targeting the triceps since most upper body movements engage the tricep. If you haven’t introduced dumbbell tricep extensions into your strength training routine, add a few sets right now!
The standing dumbbell extension also helps strengthen core stability.
How to do a Dumbbell Tricep Extension?
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- While engaging your core, keep your knees soft and shoulders down.
- Hold the dumbbell with both hands and place the dumbbell vertically on your shoulder.
- Cup the head of the dumbbell with your hands, your palms facing the ceiling, holding the handle of the dumbbell between your thumb and index fingers(refer to the above picture for reference).
- Then bring the dumbbell behind your head while your elbows are bent, pointing up toward the ceiling.
- Extend your arms straight up toward the ceiling, exhaling as you lift, then inhaling on the way down until the elbows reach a 90-degree angle behind the head. Ensure that your elbows are staying close to the head/ears as you extend your arms, instead of winging them out to the sides.
Dumbbell tricep workout variations:
- Seated dumbbell tricep extensions.
- Incline dumbbell tricep extensions
Dumbbell Snatch – Single Dumbbell Workout #3
The dumbbell snatch is very similar to the kettlebell snatch but uses a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell. The dumbbell snatch is a multistep move that activates numerous muscle groups.
The first part of the exercise activates your lower body, like your glutes and hamstrings, while the second part focuses on your upper body, including your back and triceps. Your core muscles are activated throughout the entire movement.
How to do a Dumbbell Snatch?
- Stand shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell between your feet on the floor
- Keep your shoulders back, chest out, and eyes facing straight.
- Hinge your hips back and bend your knees into a squat position, with a straight arm, grab the dumbbell with an overhand grip.
- Avoid hunching your back and looking down.
- To lower your body, hinge at your hips and bend with your knees.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift(RDL) – Single Dumbbell Workout #4
The most obvious area of focus when doing a Single Leg Romanian Deadlift is the back of your legs, hips, hamstrings, and glutes.
Single leg training is more “functional” as training in a single leg allows us to work on any strength or mobility imbalances the body might have.
How to do Single-leg RDL?
- Stand, grounding your right leg, and hold the dumbbell with your left hand in front of your thighs.
- Hinge your hips back and allow your left leg to swing back and right knee to bend slightly. Your left leg should be straight and in line with your body throughout the rep.
- Keeping your back flat, continue to bend at the waist until the dumbbell is at about mid-shin height.
- Push your hips forward to stand up to the starting position.
Dumbbell Crunch-Up – Single Dumbbell Workout #5
Dumbbell crunch-up is one of the most effective abs exercises you can perform. It targets your abdominal muscles, lower back, and obliques.
How to do a Dumbbell Crunch-Up?
- Start by laying flat on your back with your knees bent, shoulders, and feet flat on the ground.
- Hold a dumbbell with 2 hands, palms facing in, elbows bent, and your arms extended above your chest.
- Your shoulders should come a few inches up off the ground, and you should feel your abs engaged during the movement. If your range of motion does not allow you to come off the ground, that’s ok. Just come off the ground to whatever height is comfortable for you.
- Once you have reached the top of the movement, lower the weight back down to the starting position, keeping the same angle at the elbows.
- Your motion should be slow and controlled, exhaling as you raise the dumbbell, and inhaling as you return the weight to the starting position.
Glute Bridges – Single Dumbbell Workout #6
The glute bridge is one of the most effective workouts to strengthen the glutes. The glutes are one of the most powerful muscles in the human body. Doing glute bridges not only strengthens the glutes but also the hamstrings while engaging the core.
How to do a Glute Bridge?
- Grab a dumbbell and place it on your lower abdominal/pelvic region.
- Contract your glutes to raise your hips off the floor as high as you can.
- Squeeze your glutes hard at the top, then slowly return to the starting position.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it bad to only do single dumbbell workouts?
There is nothing wrong with doing bodyweight workouts at home, you’ll get even better results if you add a single dumbbell to your workout routine. The addition of just one dumbbell will not only add variety to your workouts but can also make training more productive.
How do I perform a dumbbell row?
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your arm by your side. With your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips, push your butt back, and keep a soft bend in both knees, making sure you don’t round your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lead the row with your elbow. Once you have reached the top position, maximally contract the back muscles to increase muscle engagement.
Can you build muscle with just dumbbells?
Using just a pair of dumbbells you’ll be able to hit all the major muscle groups in your body and build a stronger body. Single dumbbell training allows you to work one side of your body at a time, which is great for any strength imbalances you’ve developed through time.
One dumbbell Is All You Need. No Second Thoughts or Dumbbells Are Required.
If you’ve been putting off working out solely because you don’t have the right equipment, we have you covered with 6 Effective single dumbbell workouts.
A dumbbell is a versatile gym staple that can be put to great use with the right exercises. As we’ve highlighted in our list, it can be used to tone your entire body.
Just pull out that dumbbell, dust it off, and work your way into a fit and toned body.
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