I know this site is focused on building great six pack abs, but I wanted to include this full body dumbbell workout routine for a number of reasons. The main ones being that whilst it’s important to concentrate on losing stomach fat and six pack exercises, it’s also critical to give your entire body a workout. And considering dumbbells are found in just about every gym across the world and can easily be purchased for your home, they really are ideal.
The basic program will work for anyone–even advanced guys can do these exercises and see gains. The intermediate variations (for men who’ve been working out steadily for 3 months or more) show how to take the basic exercises and make them tougher. The advanced variations (don’t try them unless you’ve been lifting for at least a year) make them as tough as possible. An advanced lifter can also do all three variations in the same workout.
For any muscle group, he can do the basic exercise to warm up, then the intermediate and advanced variations to challenge his muscles in every possible way.
No matter which level you choose, here’s how to match it to your goals:
Basic strength and muscle building
Do one set of eight to 12 reps of each exercise. Rest 1 minute between exercises.
Do the workouts in a circuit fashion–one set of eight to 12 reps of each exercise; repeat once or twice, with minimal rest between exercises.
Aggressive muscle building
Do three sets of six to 10 repetitions of each exercise. You can substitute traditional chest presses (on a bench or ball) for the pushup or T-pushup. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets.
Aggressive strength and muscle building
Do three to five sets of three to six repetitions of the first four exercises in the workouts, and one set of 10 to 12 repetitions of the others. Again, you can substitute traditional chest presses for the pushup. Rest 2 to 3 minutes between sets.
Chest/Triceps: Dumbbell Pushup
Get into a pushup position with your hands holding hexagonal dumbbells, instead of being flat on the floor. Slowly lower your body, pause, then push back up to the starting position.
1-dumbbell T-pushup Get into pushup position with your left hand on the floor and your right hand holding a dumbbell. Lower yourself to the floor, then push up, twisting your body so that you raise your right arm and the dumbbell straight up over your shoulder. Your body should form a T. Lower yourself and finish the set, then repeat the set with the dumbbell in your left hand.
2-dumbbell T-pushup Get into pushup position with both hands holding dumbbells. Do a pushup, and as you come up, twist to raise the dumbbell straight up over your shoulder. Lower yourself and repeat to the other side.
Upper back: Bent-Over Row
Stand with your feet parallel to each other and about shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips until your chest faces the floor, and hold the dumbbells at arm’s length beneath your shoulders. Pull them up to the sides of your chest, pause, then slowly lower them.
1-arm bent-over row Stand with your right foot in front of your left, a dumbbell in your left hand. Bend and let the dumbbell hang. Pull it up, pause, and lower it. Finish the set, switch sides, and repeat.
Alternating bent-over row Stand with your right foot in front of your left. Bend at the hips so the dumbbells are hanging straight down from your shoulders, palms facing in. Raise the left dumbbell to the left side of your waist, and as you lower it, raise the right dumbbell. Alternate for half the repetitions in the set, then switch legs so your left foot is in front and finish the set.
Shoulders: Alternating Shoulder Press
Stand holding dumbbells at the sides of your shoulders. Lift the left one over your head while you bend to the right. As you lower that one, raise the other, bending to your left.
Rotation press Same as the shoulder press, but twist instead of bending on each repetition.
Curl and press Stand holding the dumbbells down at your sides, palms forward. Curl them to your shoulders, then rotate your hands outward as you press them overhead.
Biceps: Alternating Biceps Curl
Stand holding the dumbbells at your sides, palms forward. Curl one to your shoulder, then slowly lower it as you raise the other.
Cross uppercut Hold the dumbbells with bent arms. Lift one as you twist, as if you were throwing an uppercut. Repeat with the other arm.
Alternating curl and press Same as the Curl and press described above, but you alternate arms instead of working them both at the same time
Abdominals: Cross Crunch
Lie with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell over your left shoulder with both hands. Curl your torso up and rotate to the right, bringing the dumbbell to your right hip. Lower yourself, finish the set, then repeat, going the opposite direction.
Speed rotation Stand holding a dumbbell with both hands in front of your midsection. Twist 90 degrees to the right, then 180 degrees to the left. Keep your abs tight and move fast.
Wood chop Stand holding a dumbbell next to your right ear. Flex your abs and rotate your torso to the left as you lower the dumbbell to the outside of your left knee. Lift it back, finish the set, and repeat on the other side.
Lower body: Squat
Stand holding the dumbbells outside your thighs. Slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, then stand up to the starting position.
Jump squat Lower yourself, then jump as high as you can. Land with your knees slightly bent, immediately squat back down, and repeat.
Split jump squat Stand with your left foot farther forward than your right, dumbbells at your sides. Jump and switch leg positions in midair, so you land with your right foot in front. Land with your knees bent, quickly lower yourself until your front knee is bent 90 degrees, and repeat.