Total Body Dumbbell Workout

One of the most common workout video requests that I get from my online followers is for basic dumbbell workouts. And for good reason, most folks (myself included) got our humble start working out at a home gym with nothing more than a set of adjustable dumbbells.

When I was a kid my dad had a York Barbell & Dumbbell set down in our basement. You know that set with those big clunky cement filled weight plates. That’s how I got started with weight training, and I’m sure you can probably relate to this as well.

Now these days I do most of my weight training in a well equipped commercial gym. But every once in a while I’ll find myself stuck in a situation with only very basic equipment and I have to make due. And that’s exactly what happened in the video clip below…

This total body dumbbell workout was performed at a small hotel gym. They never had any barbells, bench presses, or squat racks. The only free weights they had was dumbbells. But this didn’t stop us from getting in a good workout. Just watch the video below to check out this fast paced total body circuit routine.


Click PLAY to watch the video clip below…

Note: if you can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here

The full workout includes:
– Dumbbell Shoulder Press
– Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
– Bent Over Dumbbell Row
– Dumbbell Bicep Curls
– Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
– V-up (aka frog kicks)
– Body Weight Squats

For each exercise do 15-25 reps. Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets (or just go set for set if you are working out with a partner). Do 3-4 circuits. For the first circuit keep the weight light and use it as a warm up. Then for the other circuits you can increase the weight and push yourself.

Feel free to add or substitute different exercises based on your personal preference and the equipment you have available. This workout is just a template to go by, it’s not some rigid routine that must be followed exactly as is or it won’t work. So if you want to do more or less exercises, etc. it’t totally up to you.

Give this workout a try for yourself and leave me a comment below letting me know how you like it!

About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you... lee@leehayward.com

31 Comments

  • Mikeyt

    Hi, I have been following your workout routines for about 2 years now and I really enjoy your real world weightlifting advice and routines. I have introduced several of your workouts into my own routines in order to mix it up a little and try to hit muscle groups that I tend to leave out due to bad/informal training.

    Well done and keep it up.

    Mikeyt from the UK

  • Rick Veteto

    Hey Lee!
    Just how old are you anyway???? The York Barbell story is one my wife and I use when we make presentations on our Home-based personal training business model to students at the Univ of FL and other places…I had those in my garage in the ’60’s way before I think you were born and I wondered if you inherited yours from your father’s storage area or what???….everyone it seems likes to use this story to tell how they started out — resurrect Vince Gironda and other old timer stuff as well, …but by the time you came along their were a lot more options than York sets…right????

  • Great Video Lee, I workout at home and have minimun space for heavy weights. I have a straight bar, EZ-Curl bar, Dumbells and elastic bands. I like dumbless for isolation exercise and to make sure each arm is working out to it’s full potential. When working the larger muscle groups I use the straight bar with heavey weights. I ” liked ” the post, shared it and send it out to family and friends…letting them know there are NO excuses when health and fitness is at stake… Stay Strong and Happy Birthday…Herc.

  • Charlie

    Great workout as long as you keep rest to about a minute between sets you’ll get an unbelievable pump.

  • Hi Lee and Trish, Well I think you both did a great job in explaining and demonstrating how to get a good work out without the expense of a gym, and yes I am old enough to have used york bells, in fact to day I still use home made D bells from different size water bottles , no excuse for not working out Im still fairly strong as you know (from my beating 5 stacks video) and a belated thank you for your comments on it.
    Johnny (Spain)

  • jsus martinez

    your routine is fabulous tanks lee

  • HULKSTER

    HI LEE,
    WAS THE GYM IN THIS VIDEO LOCATED IN THE ORLEANS HOTEL IN VEGAS.
    IF SO I’VE TRAINED THERE MANY TIMES, NOT TO SHABBY FOR A HOTEL SETUP!
    HULKSTER.

  • great work out great team

  • Lee,
    This is really helpful. I travel just about every week for work and the hotel gyms are sub-par at best. Do you have any other circuits like this one that’d you’d recommend for the constant traveler?

  • Stephen C.Wilde

    Trish looks so good demonstrating exercises! she’s a VERY good advert for weight training for women!

  • Rick Veteto,

    I just turned 34 yesterday. So I’m not an old man yet, but old enough to remember the York Cement filled weight sets 😉

  • Vinny,

    Another great workout you can do while traveling is my “Jungle Muscle Workout” at:

  • Franky goes to Hollywood

    nice! looks like one of those places that doesn’t allow grunting and moaning?

  • Tazio

    Hey Lee!

    Fantastic, just what I needed as it puts into order most of what I’ve been doing for years at home! Works like a charm and the other advantage is, for guys and gals who have very little time for fitness due to work schedules, a set of dumbbells is the BEST friend you have! You may want to add 10 push ups on the dumbbells between exercises…. its awesome! Especially when you free roll the dumbells and keep changing the hand positions….. tricky but fun!

    You and Trish are the best!

  • Geoff Tapson

    Lee you by far have the best workout routines which I have been following.
    You make the time in the gym (or in my case at home) interesting as I work
    through it. Your regime is varied and I have been doing weights for sometime
    but since I have followed your utube programmes I have seen results.
    Thank you.

  • Ramiro Dominguez jr

    Love all your tips and workouts. Keepem coming

  • David

    Hello Lee,
    I have been a follower of yours for some time but as of late I have been unable to listen to your videos. I am able to listen other videos so could you advise me how to overcome this problem.
    David from Derbyshire UK.

  • Derek

    Awesome workout! Just wondering how often should i do this workout before switching up?

  • David:
    Hello Lee,
    I have been a follower of yours for some time but as of late I have been unable to listen to your videos. I am able to listen other videos so could you advise me how to overcome this problem.
    David from Derbyshire UK.

    ====================

    Have you tried watching them directly on YouTube?
    Right below each embedded video I have the direct link to watch them on my YouTube channel as well.

  • Derek:
    Awesome workout! Just wondering how often should i do this workout before switching up?

    ==================

    You can usually get at least 4 weeks out of a workout routine before needing to switch it up. That’s why I include a “Workout Of The Month” as part of the Total Fitness Bodybuilding Inner Circle Coaching Club at:
    http://www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com

  • akinyemi Sunday

    This is so encouraging, that I can start a gym right in my basement or bedroom. Thanks coach.

  • Amriteeshwar Rai

    Hi Lee,

    I am from India and have been following your videos and have been getting your mails regularly. I find your workout routines very helpful for getting a toned body.

    Thank you for your dumbbell total body workout routine. Its fantastic and can be performed any where and with less effort one can get into good shape.

    Warm Regards
    Amriteeshwar Rai

  • Christian Rodriguez

    Hey Lee, I’ve being following you for a while, love your vids and how you explain weight lifting. Right now I’m a 29 year old man who is married, full time worker as security guard and studying. Cause my time is limited at this moment I’m doing my workouts in the early morning before going to college. I’m working one muscle per day. Will it be a good idea to add a full body workout once a week? How many set per muscle group should I do or the full circuit counts a sets? My main goal is to burn fat and lower my BF%. Thank you for your time and sharing with us your knowlegde.

  • Christian Rodriguez,

    What you are doing is good, but I would suggest that you vary your workouts every 4-6 weeks in order to provide unique muscle stimulation and avoid plateaus in your training. As part of the Total Fitness Bodybuilding Coaching Club you get a brand new workout of the month so you’ll never run out of new training methods. This will help you make steady progress towards your personal fitness goals.
    http://www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com

  • yehuda

    Hello. Can I add this workout to your other workouts or other workouts in general? Can I add it to the workout programs? How often should I do this workout?

  • yehuda,

    There are a lot of ways you can use these exercises. You could do the individual body part moves when ever you are training that particular body part. For example, shoulder press on shoulder day, incline bench press on chest day, dumbbell row on back day, etc. Or you could follow a total body workout like this 3 days per week.

  • LEE- IM A 53YEAR OLD AND I THINK THE TOTAL BODY DUMBELL WORKOUT JUST MIGHT BE THE WORKOUT IM LOOKING FOR DOES IT MATTER IF I DO CARDIO BEFORE OR AFTER THE WORK OUT THANK YOU

  • BRYAN BLACK:
    LEE- IM A 53YEAR OLDANDI THINKTHE TOTAL BODY DUMBELL WORKOUTJUSTMIGHT BE THE WORKOUT IM LOOKING FORDOES IT MATTER IF I DO CARDIO BEFORE OR AFTER THE WORK OUT THANK YOU

    I’d recommend doing 5-10 minutes of cardio before your workout as a general warm up. Then afterwards you can do more cardio if you wish to aid with fat loss. Save the majority of your cardio for after you finish weight training, this way it will not tire you out and hinder your strength during your weight training workout.

  • Fred Gonzalez

    Going to start using some of our workouts with my son , I like the way you make it easy to understand and set up a great workout plan .

  • Prash

    Many Thanks for this workout. Please let me know if I can alternate this workout with The Back to Basics workout on alternate months.