You don’t need to spend hours and hours at the gym to get in a good workout. And I’m living proof of that. Over the past few weeks, the time that I’ve had available to squeeze in a decent sweat session has dwindled significantly, as I’ve transitioned from working in a gym to a full-time role behind a desk each day. What that means is I’ve had to be creative and efficient with how I train — compound movements targeting the whole body are the way to go in my book.
Before I go to the gym for a weights workout, I always take a few minutes to write out a plan in my phone. And I’ve come up with a few routines lately that are absolutely worth sharing. In fact, I even put my husband, Dave, through this particular workout, and he was one sweaty mess of a fan. Here’s what you need:
- 1 set of heavy dumbbells. (I did this workout once using a set of 15 lbs. and once using a set of 20 lbs. but even just one set of 10 lbs. will do.)
- Optional: A bench. (But all of these moves can be done on the floor)
A busy girl’s 3-move total-body workout
Before you begin this workout, or any workout, you should warm up your body a little bit. In order to get warm, you can do some incline walking on the treadmill without holding on and pumping your arms (maybe 5 percent incline at 4.0 mph), or you can do some jumping jacks or dynamic warm-ups, like arm circles, high-knee runs and bodyweight lunges. It’s good to spend about five minutes getting warm and also doing a little foam rolling to get the blood flowing nicely to your muscles. Once warm, here’s the plan …
The moves explained with links to form demonstrations …
- Dumbbell chest press with legs extended at a 45-degree angle: Lay on your back on a bench or on the floor. Extend your legs out and up to a 45-degree angle. Keep them super straight. Before you begin the upper-body work, brace your core and keep your lower back down on the ground/bench. If you feel your lower back arching and raising, then you should bring your legs up a little higher or bend your knees. To initiate the upper-body work, bend your elbows out at 90-degree angles and lower the dumbbells, keeping even with the the mid-line of your chest. Your elbows should stop at the level of the bench or the floor. Squeeze your chest in as you raise your arms back up. Repeat. Legs stay in the air in place until you finish the set.
- Burpee with a plank jack to bicep curl to shoulder press: Squat down, put your dumbbells on the ground. Jump your legs back into a plank. Brace your core so your body stays long and strong during the plank. Jump your legs out wide in a jack, then back into the set position, and don’t let your butt or hips raise into the air. After completing two plank jacks, jump your feet up and wide back into a squat. Stand up. Do a bicep curl lifting dumbbells up in front of your shoulders, then push dumbbells up to the sky for a shoulder press. Return dumbbells to set and repeat. Make sure you keep your elbows close to your sides in the bicep curl, and brace your core in the burpee and plank jack.
- Deadlift to upright row: Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs. Feet are hip width. Keeping your back straight and shoulders pulled back, tip from the hip and take the dumbbells down the shins, brushing closely along the front of the leg and stopping just above your shoes. As you stand up, squeeze your glutes and keep your back straight as you return to the set position. Then let the elbows lead for the upright row, bringing the dumbbells to lower chest. Make sure your shoulders stay back and down. Repeat the entire sequence. Feet remain hip width and still throughout.
That’s it! Complete 10 reps, shoot for three sets, and you’re done. Once finished, be sure to stretch, revisit the foam roller, and then you can go on about your day.
And don’t let the amount of moves fool you. With the addition of having your legs in the air for the chest work and upping the cardio factor with the plank jacks, this combination of moves is killer.
*Disclaimer: While I’m a certified personal trainer, I’m not your trainer. This workout works for me, but it may not be right for you. Please proceed with caution, and consult your doctor before beginning a new training program. Safety first, friends!No time? Try this 3-move full-body workout with weights #FitFluential #fitness #workouts Click To Tweet
For more fitness inspo, find other short routines on my Workouts page.
Questions of the day
What’s your favorite dumbbell exercise?
Do you work out in the mornings or evenings?