You don’t need a gym filled with equipment in order to build some serious muscle. In fact, all you really need is a couple of dumbbells and your body. Each exercise can challenge you in a unique way.

If you’re short on time and space and have a limited budget you can easily put together your own dumbbells workout program. With this total body training program, you can exercise all of your major muscle groups through compound movements.

What’s more, you can do it in the comfort of your home.

Working out at Home

Like with every other type of workout, we recommend spending ten to fifteen minutes warming up before you begin. Some light cardio and stretches can warm up the muscles nicely and prevent serious injury from occurring as you lift.

Once you’re done warming up, grab your dumbbells and get ready. The first time you complete this routine try to go slowly and focus more on form than how many reps you’re able to complete. You’ll definitely feel a little clumsy and awkward, especially if you haven’t worked out in months.

If you have more than one pair of adjustable dumbbells to work with, you’ll probably want to decrease or increase the weight depending on the exercise. Often, people can lift heavy with chest and upper body exercises, and may use a lower weight for the core. Or, you can start off lifting with heavier bells and do a drop set. Drop sets involve dropping the amount of weight you’re lifting by a few pounds in order to complete more reps. This also helps you to continue to use the correct form. Often, people will start off using proper form, but this can quickly go out the window once they begin to feel tired.

If you don’t have a workout bench because it’s not in your budget or you don’t have the room, we recommend purchasing a yoga ball. With a yoga ball, you can perform many of the same exercises that you can when using a bench, including flyes, bench presses, and incline bench presses. For other moves, such as preacher curls or dips you can use a kitchen chair.

Once you’re finished warming up, grab your dumbbells and get ready to start. The first time you go through this routine, you’ll probably be a little clumsy, tire out easily, and have a difficult time completing the reps, but don’t get discouraged. Remember, every workout counts. After you complete each one you’ll be a little stronger.

If you have more than one set of dumbbells available, you’ll want to increase or decrease the amount of weight depending on the exercise or even how you’re feeling that day. Many fitness pros recommend including a drop set or two in each workout. As we’ve mentioned, a drop set involves reducing the weight by two to five pounds during the last set. Remember, perfect form is crucial in weight lifting. Poor form can prevent you from progressing so essentially, proper form is much more important than the number of reps or sets you complete.

Squatting for Gains

Squatting for gains

Squats are tough exercises and they can be done in a variety of ways. They’re also an important compound exercise that will work the core and lower body, leaving you sore for a couple of days after. When you add dumbbells to the mix you’re definitely increasing the intensity of this important compound exercise. To do, begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbells straight on your shoulders or placed at your sides. Flex at the hip, bending the knees as you go all the way down as if you’re about to sit in a chair. Never allow your knees to go over your feet. Instead, lean with your torso forward and avoid locking the knees at the end of the movement.

Working the Calves

Stiff leg deadlifts are another compound exercise that works the core and lower body, especially the calves. We recommend using a weight of ten to twenty pounds during your first few workouts. To begin, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the bells in your lowered arms. Bending at the waist, flex the hips. You should continue to bend down until you feel the pull in your calves. Remember to keep your head up and your back flat. Lock your knees and tighten your buttocks as you bend forward.

Lie-down Press

Begin by lying on your back in a semi-supine position. Holding the bells next to your shoulder make sure your elbows are bent and your palms are facing forward. Push the bells up and bring them together at the end of the movement. The bells should be kept in the same place during the duration of this exercise. Avoid hyperextending your body at the end of each movement.

Dumbbell Flyes

Start off lying flat on your back. Hold the bells in your hands with your arms on the ground. Bring the palms together, high above your head, with a slight bend in your elbow, moving your arms only at the shoulder joint until you feel a sharp stretch in your anterior deltoids and pecs.

Overhead Dumbbell Press

Stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart, keeping the knees slightly bent. The dumbbells should be placed above the shoulders with your palms facing forward. Begin by slowly raising the bells upward without completing the motion in order to avoid lifting the shoulder blades. You should return to the starting position using a slow controlled motion.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

This exercise will be painful the first few times you try it. Begin with your feet placed shoulder width apart, keeping the knees slightly bent. Hold the DBs with your palms facing each other in front of the body, lifting the arms laterally up until they reach shoulder height. Slowly return to the starting position.

Bent over Dumbbell Rows

Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the knees bent. Bend forward slightly, remaining at a forty-five-degree angle with the floor. Pull the DBs to the sides of your body as you flex the elbows and pull the shoulder blades towards the spine, then return to the starting position.