Today I have a great total body strength workout to share with you and all you need is a set of dumbbells to get it done! I get a lot of requests for workouts that a) require little equipment and b) are not super intimidating. This workout delivers on both points and features basic dumbbell movements in performed in challenging supersets.
What is a superset?
When you work in super sets you perform two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. There are many ways to put together supersets but when I program them I like to either work opposing muscle groups or opposite movements. For example, in this workout you’ll do chest press followed by bent over rows. The chest press works the chest and shoulders and the bent over row works the upper back. Those are opposing muscle groups. In this workout you’ll also do static backward step lunges and lateral lunges. The static lunge is a sagittal plane movement (moving front to back) and the lateral lunge is a frontal plane movement (moving side-to-side).
What are the benefits of supersetting?
- Increase intensity – no rest period between the two movements results in a higher intensity workout…which results in more calories burned!
- Time efficient – supersets keep you moving and minimize rest time. You’ll get more done in a shorter period!
- Add variety – they are a great way to mix up the structure of your workout and to challenge your body in new ways.
- Strength gains – super setting overloads the muscles due to the back-to-back nature of the workout. You’ll burn out muscles and work towards new strength gains without having to lift super heavy.
Total Body Dumbbell Superset Workout
I have been using variations of this workout with classes and clients over the last week and received nothing but great feedback. They’ve dubbed it the “leave no muscle group behind” workout. Again, all you need is a set of dumbbells (and a mat and a bench if you have one). You determine the intensity by how heavy you go with your dumbbells. In this particular workout I am asking you to perform 15 reps of two or three rounds of each superset before moving to the next super set. This is extra challenging because you will totally fatigue the muscle group…but the good news is that you are done with those movements/muscle groups and on to the next. Scroll down for photo demonstrations and performance points for each movement.
I’m also giving you two options to add either cardio or core training to this workout. Option one is to add a 400 meter run (.25 miles) between each superset. Option two is to add a 1 minute plank hold between each superset. Remember, these are options and you can also just do the workout as written moving straight through. Remember to do all two or three sets of each superset before moving to the next! (For example, set one movement 1/movement two, set two movement one/movement two, set three movement one/movement two, DONE with superset)
Superset #1 is a front squat to overhead press and a sumo deadlift high pull.
In the squat begin with your feet shoulder distance apart and toes turned out slightly. Bring the dumbbells up to the shoulders. As you squat down keep the chest up, weight in the heels and the knees tracking over the toes and as you press up extend the dumbbells over your head and straighten your arms.
For the high pull, take the feet out a little bit wider and turn toes out slightly. Hold one dumbbell between the legs with arms straight as you squat down. Don’t let the knees cave in. Bring the dumbbell up to the collar bone by lifting through the elbows as you stand up. Keep the dumbbell close to the body the whole time…elbows lead the way!
Superset #2 is a chest press and a bent over row.
For the chest press, begin on the back with dumbbells up and stacked directly over the shoulders. Lower down by drawing the elbows down until they are parallel with the bench (or until they touch the floor if you’re working on the floor). Engage through the chest to press back up.
For the bent over row, begin with feet hip distance apart and knees slightly bent. Lean over, keeping your spine straight and shoulders back, and keep the neck long by looking at the floor a few feet in front of you. Start with the arms straight and the dumbbells in front of the knees. Pull the elbows back behind you like you’re trying to lift them to the ceiling. As you do this keep the core tight and squeeze through the upper back.
To perform the static lunge step one foot back behind you so that you are in a split stance. Initiate the lunge movement by lower down through the back knees. Keep the chest up and the shoulders over the hips as you press into the front heel and keep the knee over the ankle.
In the lateral lunge you begin with a wide stance with the feet and toes turned out. Bring the dumbbell into goblet position and shift weight from side to side. As you move turn the toes up in the extending leg and keep the knee over the toe in the bending leg. Try to keep the butt down and chest up throughout all of the reps (so you never straighten both knees).
For the bicep curl start with arms full extended by the sides. Curl dumbbells up to the shoulders. Keep the upper body as still as possible and isolate this movement in the biceps. Fully extend at the bottom of the movement and keep elbows squeezed in.
Hold one dumbbell overhead for the tricep extension. Start with arms straight overhead and then bend at the elbows to bring the dumbbell back behind the head. As you do this try to relax the shoulders aways from the ears and keep the elbows squeezed in.
Superset #5 is weighted crunches and reverse crunches.
To perform the weighted crunch either work from a bench with heels up and toes on the floor or work from the floor. Hold a dumbbell at the chest as you crunch up, lifting the shoulder blades and pressing the low back down.
To perform the reverse crunch either work from a bench with arms reaching overhead and anchoring yourself by holding the bench or work from the floor with hands by the sides and palms pressing into the floor. Lift your heels up so that they are off the floor and close to the butt. Keeping the heels dropped to the butt, draw knees into the chest and lift the hips off the bench/mat. Return to starting position (heels never touch all the way down).
As always, let me know if you have any questions and I would love your feedback.