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This killer full-body dumbbell workout builds strength in just six exercises.

If, like me, you’ve recently retired from the gym due to the rising cost of your membership, or you’re still exercising at home after the pandemic, finding decent workouts to complete will be few or no equipment can be difficult. Luckily, I’ve listed expert help to share a full body workout you can do with just a set of dumbbells.

If you’re looking for a dumbbell set to add to your home gym, it’s worth checking out the best adjustable dumbbells on the market. Unlike a regular dumbbell set, as the name suggests, with adjustable dumbbells you can add or remove weight with the push or turn of a button, making them ideal for strength training at home. If you don’t have dumbbells, the exercises below can be done with a kettlebell, a couple of milk cartons, or water bottles (just make sure the cap is on before you start).

Looking for more workout inspiration? Here are the best ab exercises to try, according to personal trainer Chris Hemsworth, six band exercises that let you pump up your arm muscles at home, and what happened when I added 100 dead bugs to my daily routine.

Full body dumbbell workout

For training inspiration, we turned to Studio SWEAT onDemand. (will open in a new tab) CEO and founder of Cat Com. “Oh yeah, humble dumbbell,” Kat says. “Simple, beautiful, and arguably one of the most versatile and underrated fitness equipment out there. They are weight adjustable and easy to use, which means there are plenty of dumbbell exercises for beginners. Not to mention, they take up almost no space, making them ideal for home workouts.”

For a full body home workout, do 12 reps of each of the exercises below in the order they are listed. Aim to do the circle three times.

When it comes to dumbbell weight selection, Kat says, “The dumbbells you choose should be heavy enough that the last few reps are heavy, but not so heavy that you can’t do 12 reps with good form.”

Standing dumbbell curls

illustration of a man doing curls with dumbbells

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

To do the standing dumbbell curl, grab a dumbbell in each hand. Dumbbells should not rest against your body, and your palms should be directed forward. In this exercise, bend your elbows slightly – the movement comes from the biceps, not from the elbow. Slowly pull the dumbbells towards your body, tensing your biceps at the top before lowering them back to the starting position. This is one representative.

Front squats with dumbbells

illustration of a woman doing squats with dumbbells

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

To do a dumbbell squat, start by holding a dumbbell in each hand – this is not a goblet squat, so even if you need to squat with less weight, make sure you hold two dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body (note: illustration above is incorrect). Keeping your head and torso elevated, squat down, pushing your hips down and back. Squat as low as possible, pause, then squeeze your buttocks and rise to the starting position. This is one representative.

Dumbbell bench press

illustration of woman doing chest press with dumbbells

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you don’t have a bench, you can do this exercise on a bench or on a step; just make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Begin by lying down on a bench and lifting a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended straight out—the dumbbells should be on your shoulders and your palms should be facing your feet. Slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest, pause at the bottom, then return the dumbbells to the starting position. Think about keeping your back against the bench throughout the exercise, as if you were pulling the dumbbells towards you rather than arching into them.

One arm tricep extension

illustration of a woman doing a triceps curl

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In this exercise, you will work one arm at a time so that you can place one dumbbell on the floor. Take a dumbbell in your left hand, hold it behind your head, elbow pointing up towards the ceiling. Extend your arm at the elbow until it is straight and the dumbbell is directly above you. Pause, then lower yourself back to the starting position. Complete all reps on the left side before switching to the right side.

shoulder press

illustration of a man doing shoulder press with dumbbells

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You can do this exercise seated or standing – standing is more difficult and requires you to work your core while benching. Start with a dumbbell in each hand and raise the dumbbells to your shoulders with your palms facing forward and your elbows out to the sides at a 90 degree angle. Keeping your torso still, extend your elbows and lift the dumbbells over your head so that your arms are straight above you, then bend your elbows back to the starting position. This is one representative.

Reverse lunge with dumbbells

illustration of a woman doing a reverse lunge with dumbbells

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In this exercise, you do 12 reps per leg – you can alternate legs as you go. Start holding a dumbbell in each hand, feet together. Step back with your left foot, landing on the ball of your left foot, then bend your knees to lower towards the ground – be sure to keep your front knee behind your toes at the bottom of the movement if your knee is over your toes. chances are you haven’t retreated far enough. When you finish the lunge, return your left leg to its original position and repeat with the right. Here’s more on how to do lunges and the variations you can try.

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