How to Do a Full Body Workout with Dumbells

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

When I think full body workout the first word that pops into my head is 'Circuit'. In the following steps, I'll outline a circuit that you can do inside of any gym, as long as that gym has dumbbells (which most do). Personally, when I go after a circuit that works me entire body, I use MuscleTech Pro Series Neurocore preworkout in order to fuel my fire. This helps me go after the circuit with fire in my eyes and a mean pump in my muscles. Anyhow, take a look below to see what I've got in store.

Step 2

The first stop on our all-dumbbell circuit will be a chest exercise: Incline dumbbell bench presses. This exercise will give your chest all the work it needs- stretching, a good angle that hits the whole muscle, and a great contraction. The reason we start with chest is because it will warm up your entire upper body, and it always feels great to push a lot of weight right at the beginning of a circuit. Jump right in and do a set of 12-15 reps.

Step 3

Stop number 2 on our circuit will be a triceps exercise: dumbbell skullcrushers. Dumbbell skullcrushers are great for working the entire tricep area. Doing these will give your triceps a gain in size and a good pump. The reason we are doing a triceps exercise second is because, after doing the incline presses, your triceps will already be slightly awakened. Adding the skullcrushers will help to put a nice cherry on top. Perform 12-15 reps.

Step 4

The third part of the circuit will be a leg exercise: dumbbell power jumps. Holding dumbbells in each hand, you will squat down and jump up to a bench. This kind of explosive movement is fun and quick, and because it involves primarily your legs, your upper body will have a chance to rest up a bit before the next few exercises in the circuit. Do 15-20 jumps.

Step 5

Our fourth stop is going to be a back exercise: bent over dumbbell rows. These are perfect for gaining size and width in your back. They also let you get off your feet for a minute or so, which will be nice after the power jumps. Bent over dumbbell rows are an excellent exercise for your back, and set up the next part of the circuit very nicely. Do a good, heavy set of 8-10 reps.

Step 6

Stop number 5 in our full-body dumbbell-only circuit is an exercise for the biceps: standing dumbbell curls. This exercise is the most common bicep exercise in the history of ever. It's a lot of fun to do, and it will give your biceps a good pump and will increase their definition and size. The reason for putting this exercise fifth is that, after doing the bent over rows, your biceps will be warmed up and ready to curl.

Step 7

The final part of the circuit will be a shoulder exercise: front/side/post raises. This exercise is fantastic for working every part of the shoulder. You don't need to go too heavy with the weight, but as long as you pay attention to good form your shoulders will reap the reward. It's the best exercise to put last because it allows the other muscles in your body a minute or so to get ready for the next run through the circuit. Besides that, your shoulders will be warmed up very much from all of the exercises above. For this reason, the front/side/post raises become the only exercise necessary in order for the shoulders to get shredded and grow. Plus it's a lot of fun to watch in the mirror, since the rest of your body will be nice and pumped by now.

Step 8

Now that you've done every muscle group, you should take a minute or so to rest or get a drink of water. After that, head back to the incline presses and start the circuit all over again. I recommend doing the circuit 3 times- but if you need more, do more. Similarly, if 2 feels like enough, then stop there. Always listen to your body.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

When you're doing a full-body dumbbell circuit, it's important to note that the weight won't be as heavy as other workouts. That's okay, because you can overcome the lack of weight by picking up the speed. Running through this circuit at a decently fast pace will put a bit of sweat in your armpits, and leave you walking out feeling like a champion.

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

I have trained a lot of clients with the circuit method. One client in particular was an older gentleman who was very obese. This guy didn't mind so much about losing weight or gaining muscle- he just wanted to feel good and have fun. A full body circuit was the perfect thing in order to get him to meet his expectations, and actually help his physique a bit along the way. He always had fun when he came in to workout, and he always left feeling great. If he can do it, any one of you can. It's a lot of fun! I promise.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I first started doing circuits when I was a sophomore in college. I got really into the idea because circuits allow you to get in and out of the gym in minimal time while doing enough work for your body to thank you. They've always been a lot of fun for me and for everyone I've trained. I hope they can be as much fun for you, and that your body will feel/show the results. Let me know! And as always, happy lifting


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