Grab One Set of Heavy Dumbbells and Get Stronger

We have a lot of bodyweight workouts to choose from on aSweatLife. These workouts are an amazing resource when you’re in a pinch, traveling or if you just don’t have access to equipment.

But when you have specific strength goals, like increasing lean muscles mass, the fastest way to reach that goal is by picking up something heavy. So for today’s 30-minute workout, you’ll need a little bit of equipment.

Remember, lifting weights can help improve bone density, increase your metabolic rate (or how quickly your body burns calories) and leave you feeling happier. Exercise sounds like a miracle cure, right? It is, According to a study by Medical Royal Colleges reported by The New York Times – or at least it’s the closest thing we have to a miracle cure.

And so we ask you, “Which way to the weight room?”


For this workout, you’ll need a set or two of heavy dumbbells. You’ll be working different muscles groups and you’ll want different weights for these movements to be effective.

Here’s your workout:

This workout has two sets meant to be a pretty complete workout. You’re going to work for 1 minute as and rest and transition to your next exercise for :15. 

Focus on moving slowly as you complete each movement. Lower down for three counts and go up for one count. With that timing, aim to complete about 12-15 reps.  There are two sets. You’ll do each set from beginning to end three total times before you move on.

Before you get started, be sure to do a 5-minute dynamic warm-up, like this one from Greatist.

Set 1: Do this set three times and then move onto the second set.

  • Biceps curls
  • Right lunge
  • Left lunge
  • Skull crusher 

Set 2: Do this set three times and then you’re done!

  • Squat
  • Single arm overhead press (right)
  • Single arm overhead press (left)
  • Deadlift

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Here are your moves:

Biceps curls: In an athletic stance – feet hip-width distance – and a slight bend in your knees, hold your dumbbells in your hands. Keeping your elbows close to your sides and your palms facing up, lift up for one count and lower down for three.

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Weighted stationary lunge: With your weights in your hands to add a challenge to the lunge, step your left foot back about 2 feet (depending on how tall you are). Be sure to position yourself so that you can drop your back knee to 90 degrees and keep your front knee bent at 90 degrees. Your front heel will stay firmly on the floor while you back heel will lift as you lower down. Lower down for three counts and drive up for one.

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Skull crusher: With one weight in each hand and your hands directly above your shoulders, bend your elbows to lower your weights towards your face. Your elbows will stay directly above your shoulder, allowing you to use your triceps to work here. Lower down for three and lift back up for one.

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Squat: With your feet about hip-width distance and your dumbbells racked at your shoulders, sit down and back, keeping your knees behind your toes and your weight in your heels. Lower down for three and explode up for one.

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Single arm overhead press: With a weight in each hand, keep one hand at your side and the working arm with come up to your shoulder. Press up for one and lower down for three.

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Deadlift: With weight in the mid-sole of your feet and a slight bend in your knees to avoid locking your knees out, hold your heaviest set of dumbbells with your palms facing your body. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back flat and core pulled in as you slide your weights down the front of your body. Lower down for three and stand back up for one count.



(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)

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About Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of a premiere wellness media destination that creates content and community to help womxn live better lives and achieve their goals. Before founding health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison - and fresh out of college she worked on the '08 Obama campaign in Michigan. From there, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience in building community and her passion for wellness. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, trying to join a book club, and walking her dog Maverick.