The very best dumbbell exercise for weight reduction

When it comes to weight loss, free weights can go a long way. However, if you do isolation exercises, like you might do to give your arms a serious size, and get super long rest periods, you will not be able to maximize your ROI. Because of this, the best dumbbell workout for weight loss is all about intensity and efficiency.

After all, weight loss is based on two guiding principles: calorie burning and muscle growth. In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. But what use are calories if they come from muscles?

To prevent muscle wasting, exercising below loads the largest muscle groups in the body with large, compound movements and a weight that drives these muscles to fatigue. Because the more muscle fibers you recruit with each rep, the more energy – or calories – your muscles will soak up and burn through.

Plus, it is at the point of fatigue – when you run out of reps in the tank – when you trigger the endocrine responses necessary to maintain and even increase lean mass in the face of a calorie deficit.

This lean mass or muscle is your most important modifiable factor in determining your basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body burns to perform basic biological functions. In other words, building muscle will help you lose more weight through fat.

The best full body dumbbell workout for weight loss

To put these lessons into practice, do this best dumbbell workout for weight loss. Bonus: You can do these dumbbell exercises at home. Prepare your cardiovascular system and muscles for the work ahead with a 10-minute low-intensity warm-up, then do the following weight loss dumbbell exercises. (Not enough time? Try this 15 minute dumbbell workout.)

You’ll start off with some full-body reps, switch into a few supersets, and then polish things up with some high-intensity metabolic finishers. At the end of your workout, take 10 minutes to cool down and slowly lower your heart rate … because it is become be jacked up. Here are the moves:

1. Dumbbell Turkish Getup
2A. Dumbbell romanian deadlift
2 B. Dumbbell bench press
3A. Dumbbell bottom-loaded squat
3B. Bentover Row dumbbell
4. Dumbbell Side Lung
5. Dumbbell Push-Press
6. Dumbbell swing

The best dumbbell workout for weight loss

James contributor

1. Dumbbell Turkish Getup

How it goes:

Lie on your back on the floor with a medium-weight dumbbell on your right side. Roll yourself towards the weight and grasp it with both hands, then roll it onto your back. Shift the weight onto your right hand and push it straight over your right shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Bend your right knee and place your foot on the floor. This is the starting position.
With your right arm locked over your shoulder, sit in a high sitting position and prop your upper body on your left forearm and then your left hand. Push through your right foot to extend your hips so your torso is in a straight line.
Slide your left leg under your hips and behind you. Raise your torso into a half-kneeling position. Then get up. Stop and return the movement to the starting position. This is a repetition.

Do 3 sets of 4 to 6 repetitions per side, resting for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Romanian deadliftBeth Bischoff

2A. Dumbbell romanian deadlift

How it goes:

Stand up with your feet hip-width apart and hold a row of heavy dumbbells with an overhand grip in front of your thighs. Hold on to your lats and your core.
Hold a neutral spine and pivot it at your hips to lower the weights on your thighs. While doing this, bend your knees slightly. When the weights drop above your knees or you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, pause and then cycle through your heels to stand as high as possible. Squeeze your glutes together to lock your hips up in the motion. This is a repetition.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Superset with 2B, with minimal to no rest between exercises and 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Dumbbell bench pressJustin Steele

2 B. Dumbbell bench press

How it goes:

Lie over your shoulders with a pair of medium-weight dumbbells with an overhand grip. Put your feet on the floor and support your core.
Slowly lower the dumbbells towards the outside of your shoulders, keeping your elbows sticking out diagonally from your body instead of going straight to the sides. Pause, then push through your chest and triceps to push the dumbbells up and together.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Superset at 2A, with minimal to no rest between exercises and 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Squat dumbbellSquat dumbbell James Michelfelder

3A. Dumbbell Narrow-Stance Squat

How it goes:

Stand up with your feet less than hip width apart and a heavy dumbbell in each hand on your sides with a neutral grip. Engage your lats and core to maintain a strong upper body.
Keep your arms completely upright and the dumbbells in line with the outer balls of your feet. Bend at your hips and knees to lower yourself down to the floor as straight as possible without breaking your shape or lifting your heels off the floor. Stop and cycle through your feet to get back up as high as you can. This is a repetition. Note: You can also hold the dumbbells in the stacked position on your shoulders.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Superset with 3B, with minimal to no rest between exercises and 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Bentover RowBeth Bischoff

3B. Bentover Row dumbbell

How it goes:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of medium-sized dumbbells with a neutral grip by your sides. Firm up your core. Push your hips back behind you and let your knees bend slightly to lower your torso until it is almost parallel to the floor.
Pull through your back and arms to row the dumbbells all the way to your waist, driving your elbows right behind you, and keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears. Stop and slowly release the dumbbells to begin. Keep your upper body stationary throughout. This is a repetition.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Superset at 3A, with minimal to no rest between exercises and 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Press dumbbellPress dumbbell James contributor

4. Clean dumbbell to push

How it goes:

Stand up, feet hip-width apart, and two medium-sized dumbbells on the floor just outside the balls of your feet. Tense your core, then pivot it at your hips and grip the dumbbells with a neutral grip and flat back. Squeeze your lats. Go through your heels to propel the dumbbells vertically.
As you stand up, pull through your arms and tuck your elbows in so the dumbbells come to rest in a double stand position. Take a break, then quickly bend your knees and hips to lower yourself into a quarter squat. Immediately pass through your feet so you can push the dumbbells right over your head. Stop and lower the dumbbells back to the rack position and then to the floor. This is a repetition.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions, resting for 90-120 seconds between sets.

For the dumbbell overhead swing, your hamstrings should be engaged with each rep. If not, bend your knees too much.Justin Steele

5. Dumbbell swing

How it goes:

Stand on the floor with your feet hip and shoulder width apart and a heavy dumbbell a few feet in front of you. Push your hips behind you into a deadlift position and extend your arms in front of you to grab the barbell handle with both hands. Get your lats ready.
From here, “walk” the barbell behind you, immediately pushing your hips forward and getting up as high as possible to push the weight forward in line with your shoulders. (Progress: Raise it above your head as shown.) Immediately return to the deadlift position so the weight can swing back through your legs at knee level. This is a repetition. At the end of each set, swing the bar back to the walking position on the floor.

Do 4 sets of 15-20 repetitions, resting for 90-120 seconds between sets.

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