The Ultimate Dumbbell Workout for Women


fit woman with dumbbells in the gym
fit woman with toned flat abs

Everyone's been there....

you get to the gym after work and there's 3 large men camped out at the squat racks with enough weight on the barbell to lift 5 of you, a squad of ladies doing what seems like 30 sets of glute kickbacks at the cable station, and a slew of pooped gym goers on the machines checking their phone between sets. 

What's a girl gotta do to get a workout in when everything's taken?!

Friend, I got you. Sometimes, it's just too dang hard to stake a claim to the equipment you wanted. But it doesn't mean you can't get a fabulous workout in anyway. 

I present to you...... drumroll please.... the ultimate dumbbell workout!

Buckle up, princess! Just because you only need a set of weights for this workout, does NOT mean it's going to be easy. You're about to get a great sweat.

But before we get started, let's find out why dumbbell workouts are great:

The Benefits of Dumbbells for Your Workouts

1. Dumbbells help you remedy muscle imbalances 

Many people have one side that's weaker than their other. If you're left handed (aaaay, that's me! Where my lefties at?!) your left side is probably stronger and visa versa.

Think about it, you probably use whatever arm you right with to do a lot more. And your muscles grow in response to the demands placed on them. Bigger muscles = more strength. So your dominant side does more work overall and, therefore, is required to be stronger. 

When you use a barbell or a machine, both sides of your body have to cooperate to lift the same weight. Think about a barbell overhead press.

Your body's number 1 goal is to find the easiest way to get that bar over your head. If one side is stronger than the other, then your dominant side is going to do most of the work to reach that goal as efficiently as possible. 

On the other hand, if you were using dumbbells, your weaker side would be FORCED to do half the work because each hand alone has half the weight.

2. Dumbbell exercises are less stable, requiring more activation of stabilizer muscles (such as the core.)

These movements are less stable than using machines, for example. When you're using a machine, you usually have support for your back and the rest of your body not being used for the movement. While this helps you isolate the muscle you're exercising, it means less use of your stabilizing muscles.

When you're using weights, your stabilizer muscles have to work harder to keep you moving in the right direction.

Stabilizers are dependent on what exercise you're performing but, in general, you can usually expect to use your abs and lower back to keep your body upright.

If you want to strengthen your whole body, less stable movements are important.

3. Dumbbells are versatile and can be used anywhere. 

You have a better range of motion with dumbbells than you do with machines or a barbell. This makes dumbbells a lot more versatile and easy to work with for targeting your entire body.

It is quite easy to target any and every muscle on your body using a pair of free weights. 

Dumbbells are also versatile in the sense that you can use them anywhere. If you have a pair of weights, you can workout at home or when you're traveling quite easily.

If you have weights available at home, there's truly never a reason you can't get a workout in! If it's raining, snowing, traffic is crazy, or you just straight up don't feel like hitting the gym, you have the equipment to get it done anyway without leaving your house!

And now... onto the workout!

*Rep ranges: for all exercises that incorporate one side at a time (lunges, single arm dumbbell rows) the movement should be performed with the prescribed number of reps for EACH side. So if it's 4x15, it's 15 reps with the left side, and then 15 reps with the right right.

*Rest time: keep rest between 30-60 seconds.

*Tri sets and super sets: When performing a tri set or super set, you must perform all included movements back to back without rest in between them. Once you've completed 1 set of each included movement in the tri set or super set, you may take a short rest break. Then, repeat.

1. Tri Set: Dumbbell Walking Lunges, Bodyweight Squats, and Leg Pull Ins (4x15 each) 

A) Dumbbell Walking Lunges

1. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Stand up straight and step forward with your left foot.

2. Bend your back right knee towards the floor as you bend the left knee to lower the rest of your body.

3. Drive back upward and step forward with your right foot. Repeat with the right foot forward.

B) Bodyweight Squats 

1. Stand with feet hip width apart and toes pointing forward.

2. Clasp your hands in front of your body and bend your knees to lower your hips toward the floor as though you're going to sit in a chair.

3. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, drive through your heels and extend your hips forward to stand back up.

C) Leg Pull Ins 

1. Lie on a mat with hands under your bottom. 

2. Keep legs together and pull them towards you. At the same time, move your upper body towards your knees. 

3. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position without dropping your feet to the floor.

2. Plank to Push-Up (3x10 each side)

1. Get in plank position with elbows shoulder width apart.

2. Press yourself up into pushup position one arm at a time while keeping your upper and lower body in line with each other.

3. Return to the starting position the same way (one arm lowered at a time.)

3. Surrenders (4x10 each side)

1. Kneel on an exercise mat with hands behind your head.

2. Lift your right knee up by placing your right foot out in front of you. 

3. Bring your left foot forward so that you're in a squat position.

4. Lower your right leg to bring your knee back to the mat and then follow with your left leg.

5. Alternate to your left knee forward first.

4. Super Set: Lateral Raise with Single Arm Dumbbell Row (3x15 each)

A) Lateral Raise

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.

2. Extend your arms out to your sides (without completely locking out your elbows). 

3. When your arms are parallel to the floor, pause, and slowly return to the starting position.

B) Single Arm Dumbbell Row

1. Hold onto a bench, dumbbell rack, or other flat surface with one hand for support. If using a bench, rest your inside knee on the bench. Bend at your torso and keep your back flat.

2. With your outside hand, pick up the dumbbell with your palm facing your body.

3. Use your back muscles to pull the weight up, keeping your upper arm close to your side.

4. Hold the contraction, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 

5. Super Set: Dumbbell Flyes with Dumbbell Hammer Curls (3x15 each)

A) Dumbbell Flyes

1. Hold dumbbells in each hand while sitting on a flat bench or an exercise mat. Slowly lower yourself onto your back.

2. Push the dumbbells above your chest so that your palms are facing one another and the weights are held together.

3. With elbows slightly bent, lower the dumbbells out to your sides.

4. When your arms are parallel to the ground, pause, and then return to the starting position. 

B) Dumbbell Hammer Curls

1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing each other. Arms should be fully extended.

2. With your upper arms stationary, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.

3. When the dumbbells are at shoulder level, pause, and then slowly lower them back to the starting position.

Want to reach your fitness goals faster and easier? With the right game plan and extra accountability?

I've been helping women just like you build muscle, lose fat, and improve their metabolism with an easy to follow flexible diet and FUN training routine. 

If you're ready to say HECK YES to changing your health, your body, and your life, APPLY HERE for 1 on 1 coaching. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, lasting results. 

Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU. If you're sitting there telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, or too tired, STOP RIGHT NOW.

You can do this no matter where you're at in life. Don't hold yourself back from the quality of life you CAN and WILL have if you take the leap. 

No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! Let me show you what you can do. 

To Your Good Health & Success,

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fit woman performing dumbbell lunges