Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Dumbbell Only Workout!

Since yesterday I gave the Barbell Only Workout, today I'm going to design a training session just using the SECOND most basic piece of equipment that should be in everyone home gym...a pair of adjustable dumbbells! Dumbbells are easy to store, great for building intermuscular coordination and stability, and in some cases can make our favorite BARBELL movements even MORE challenging! Most standard sized dumbbell handles can be loaded to at least 75-85lb., and depending on the movements that you choose, that will be PLENTY of weight. For any beasts out there, you can get longer handles welded or dish out some extra cash for a 20 or 24" pre made handle from new york barbell or ironmind. Either way, this small investment will keep repaying you over and over again with kick ass, take no prisoners workouts.

To begin the session, you'll want to once again warm up - this time we are going to use a dumbbell complex - moving from one movement to the next without putting the weights down. The complex is as follows:

1. RDL x 8
2. Bent Over Row x 8
3. High Pull x 8
4. Thruster x 8
5. Reverse Lunge x 8 (each leg)

You'll want to use a pair of 15-30lb. dumbbells to for this, depending on your current strength levels. Do this for 3-4 sets, resting a minute or less in between each complex.

Next, you can add some plates and get to the real work...

a) one arm clean and press 5x5 (left and right). Our first movement is going to be a single arm clean and press, making sure you get a full clean (squat the weight down w/chest up) and either strict or push press on every rep. You're going to 5 sets of 5reps with no rest when switching arms, and only 30-60 seconds between each set. Make sure you use a weight thats challenging!

b1) Push Up Variation 3xmax reps. Any variation!

b2) Bent Over Dumbbell Rows 3x8-12. You have 3 options here...you can do one arm rows, two arm rows, or two arm ALTERNATING rows. All variations are good choices, but maybe switch things up every few workouts to avoid boredom. Oh, and once your form is good (maintain a neutral spine, not too much hitching), make sure to add some WEIGHT!

c) Dumbbell Reverse Lunges 2-3x8-12 (each side)...alternate legs and rest 60-90 seconds TOPS. Try get as close as you can to handling bodyweight (between the two dumbbells) in this movement once you have your base established. I hate seeing guys who bench w/100lb. dumbbells using 25's for lunges!

d) Dumbbell Swings (one arm) 2-3x12-20 each side. Dumbbell swings are a killer posterior chain movement and an awesome conditioner. Finish the workout on a strong note!

Once again, you don't need to get complicated to get a kick ass workout hitting your entire body from head to toe! Get to it!

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