We hope you’re enjoying and using our No Gym Workout Series, written with busy women in mind. In case you missed it, check out Parts 1 and 2: Beginner Bodyweight Workout and Brutal Fat-Burning HIIT Cardio
While you can get great results and burn a lot of calories with bodyweight and cardio moves, strength training is another essential piece to meeting your fitness goals. The benefits of using weight resistance in your workouts are numerous, including not just burning fat, but also building strength and muscle tone, increasing bone density, reducing your risk of injury, improving your posture, and enhancing your mood (source).
If you’re not using strength training as part of your workout routine, we highly recommend you start! Just cardio is not enough if you’re serious about transforming the way you look and feel.
Strength training happens to work very well with waist training. Wearing a fitband will increase the thermal activity in your core, which in turn will cause you to sweat harder. This can be especially effective in making strength training workouts more intense, because otherwise they typically won’t get your heart rate up as much as cardio. Using a waist trainer is a way to get some of the benefits of cardio—breathing hard and sweating hard—without necessarily working any harder. What’s more, wearing a waist trainer will remind you to keep your back flat and your tummy tucked in, which is important for maintaining good and safe form in many types of strength training exercises.
You will need some dumbbells in order to execute these exercises properly. Lift heavy enough that you feel fatigued after 10–12 reps, but not so heavy that your form suffers.
Full Body Dumbbell Workout Instructions
This workout is designed to work over your whole body and activates large muscle groups. Not only will this format burn more calories, but it will continue to burn them even as your body is recovering and building muscle mass in place of fat storage.
You can do this workout once or twice a week. Do each exercise 10 times per set, and repeat the whole circuit X times. Your muscles should feel fatigued when you’re done. Be sure to do a light warm-up before you start to prevent injury (or even a longer period of light cardio), and cool down and stretch when you’re done to prevent soreness.
Hold one dumbbell in each hand, standing with your feet hip-width apart. Lower into a full squat with your knees at 90 degrees, keeping your back flat and chest out. Your hands should face inward and be at ankle-level, without touching the ground. As you push back up to standing position, hoist the dumbbells up to shoulder level, using the momentum of your body to push them up. As the momentum of the weights starts to move downward once you are standing up, lower back down into a squat and push yourself up again to standing, so you essentially do two squats with each rep. Lower the dumbbells slowly to your sides to complete the rep and then repeat. The weights should be heavy enough that your muscles feel fatigued after 10 reps.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at the front of your shoulders. Your elbows should be pointing forward. Lower into a shallow squat, keeping your back flat and your weight centered. Pressing up through your heels, drive the bar directly above your head until your arms are straight. Lower the weights down to your chest to complete a rep.
Hold your dumbbells at shoulder level, resting them lightly on top of your shoulders with your palms facing up. Keeping your chest up and core tight, lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Straighten to drive back up to the starting position.
Dumbbell crush press
This move works well on an exercise bench if you have one, but if you don’t you can do it on the floor. Lying on your back, position the dumbbells to sides of your chest with arms bent under each dumbbell. Press the dumbbells up, keeping your elbows close to your sides until your arms are extended. Lower the weights back to the sides of your chest to complete a rep.
Bent over row
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly so that your torso is bending slightly forward. Keep your back flat. Hold a dumbbell in each arm. (Alternatively, you can put one knee on an exercise bench if you want to do one arm at a time; just lift with the opposite arm and then repeat on the other side once all of your reps are complete.)
To complete a rep, pull the dumbbells up your sides until about rib level. Return until arm is extended and shoulder is stretched downward. Do this move slowly and deliberately.
Split stance hammer curl
Hold dumbbells at your sides, your palms facing each other and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step one foot forward and lower into a lunge until your front knee is bent to 90 degrees and your back knee is just above the floor. Using your biceps, curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders and then lift them directly overhead. Slowly return to the starting position. To complete a rep. Do several reps on one side and then switch.
Split shoulder press
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with one leg forward and one leg back. Lower into a lunge until the back knee is just above the floor and position the dumbbells at your shoulders. Your palms should be facing forward and your elbows should be under your wrists. Push to standing, pressing the dumbbells up until fully extended to complete a rep. Do several reps on one side and then switch.
Squat curl to press
With your feet shoulder width apart hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lower into a squat. As your press back up, curl the dumbbells to your shoulders. Continue to push the weights up over your head, with palms facing forward. Complete the rep by lowering the weights back to your waist. Remember to keep your back flat and chest up for the whole move.
Here’s to a healthier, fitter 2018! Be sure to check out our next video in the series for moves on building your butt!