Burn Fat and Build Muscle with a Pair of Dumbbells

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No excuses! You don't need a gym or a two hour time block to get your exercise in. Burn fat and build muscles now with nothing more than a pair of dumbbells.

Falling into the trap of needing perfect circumstances to work out is an easy mistake to make. I hear it all the time from my clients, and I even find myself making those excuses sometimes. You may find yourself thinking things like I don’t have the right shoes, I won’t have time to shower afterwards, or I don’t have the exact equipment I wanted to use for this workout. You feel that these are valid reasons for putting your training off for another time, but if you step back and consider them they are exactly that: Excuses. There is a popular saying that floats around the internet about finding a way if you want something badly enough, and finding an excuse if you don’t. This is absolutely true and is something each of us need to be reminded of at times. Don’t fall into the trap of dropping out when the situation isn’t ideal, or you’ll never make the progress you’re after.

So now you’re at home, you’re restless, and you’d love to work out but getting to the gym is more than you can stomach. Many of us have been there. The next question is, how can you get in an effective workout now without having to leave the house? You probably already have everything you need at home to get to work and can complete a great workout in under 30 minutes! Grab that dusty pair of dumbbells from the closet and you’re ready to begin.

The exercise program that fits perfectly in this situation is called a Complex, and once you have that set amount of weight you have everything you’ll need. A Complex is a workout in which you perform a series of exercises using the same weight, preferably without putting it down. A Complex can use any exercises and any set weight you like, but to keep it as effective as possible I recommend sticking to full body compound exercises such as squats, lunges, rows and presses. And you can also mix in calisthenics like pushups and pull ups as well. A great way to format a complex is by choosing 5 exercises you can complete at home with the weight you have available, set challenging yet reasonable rep targets for each exercise, then complete the exercise circuit as many times as possible in a set amount of time. For example, if I had a pair of 25 pound dumbbells I would design my complex as follows:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

  • DB Lunges (10 reps)
  • DB Overhead Press (10 reps)
  • Bent Over DB Row (15 reps)
  • DB Front Squat (20 Reps)
  • DB Hammer Curls (10 Reps)

Since the weight is fixed, you’ll need to select exercises you can realistically perform with that load, and set your rep targets based upon how hard each exercise will be at the given weight. Repetitions should generally be between 5 and 20, so if you find you can’t keep to that range it may not be the best exercise choice for the weight you have. After a quick warm up such as 50 jumping jacks and some dynamic stretching, go through your circuit, resting as needed, and record how many sets completed before the time elapses so you can try to improve next time. This style of exercise is incredibly versatile because you can adjust the exercise choices, rep targets, and total time based on your weights and fitness level, so don’t be afraid to give it a try even as a beginner! By performing strength training in this time constrained fashion you will not only work your muscles hard, but you’ll also get an intense interval-style cardio workout at the same time, all with minimal equipment and in record time!

Work your calves too!

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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