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10 moves to train your body with 1 piece of equipment

Sometimes it can be hard to get to the gym, or you might be training at a gym with minimal equipment (hotel gyms anyone?). But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of what you have. Here’s 10 ways you can work out your whole body with minimum equipment i.e. with only dumbbells for company. [caption id="attachment_3644" align="aligncenter" width="650"]The dumbbell is a highly versatile piece of fitness equipment The dumbbell is a highly versatile piece of fitness equipment[/caption]

1. Calfs

Let’s start from the bottom. Take 2 dumbbells and hold them by your side. Lift your heels off the floor and lower them (if you can find a step to do this on even better) find a weight that you can just manage 20 reps before you feel that calf burn. Repeat 3 times.

2. Hamstrings

Lie on the floor or a bench and place a dumbbell on its end between your feet. Pull your heels towards your glutes and lower again. Choose a weight that you can manage between 12-15 reps but no more. Repeat x 3

3. Quads

Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells. The only other ‘equipment’ you need here is a chair or bench. Rest the top of one foot on a chair or bench behind you. Holding the dumbbells by your side bend your standing leg as low as you can. Hold and then return to the starting position. Get the right weight that ensures you’re struggling to hit the 15 rep count. Rest and repeat x 3 per leg

4. Abs

Dumbbell mousetraps. Lie down on your back with your hands stretched out behind your head holding a dumbbell. Lift your feet a few inches off the floor. Raise your arms and legs to meet in the middle. Repeat to failure. Rest and repeat x 3.

5. Chest

Dumbbell bench press. Lie on a bench on your back with your dumbbells held level with your chest and press up to extend your arms. Lower again and repeat. Choose a dumbbell heavy enough to manage no more than 8-10 reps. Rest and repeat x 3.

6. Shoulders

Dumbbell shoulder press. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet should width apart. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height and extend your arms upwards. Lower and repeat in a controlled manner. Aim for 6-8 reps. If you can do more, choose a heavier weight.

7. Traps

Shrugs. Choose a couple of pretty heavy dumbbells. Hold each one by your side. Keeping your arms straight lift the weights by ‘shrugging’ your shoulders. The rest of your body should remain as still as possible (avoid head nodding etc.). Aim for 8-10 reps, rest and repeat for 3 sets.

8. Back

Renegade rows. Lie in a press up position with a dumbbell in each hand supporting your weight. Lift a dumbbell from to this point to where your elbow is bent and you have pulled your arm up as far as your can. Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10 to 12 per side x 3 sets.

9. Arms

Dumbbell 21’s. Try this to really blast your arms. You may need a slightly lighter weight than you’d expect as you’ll need to manage 21 reps a set with control. This movement is split into 3 parts and you’ll perform 7 reps for each section before resting. Part 1. With arms down by you sides lift the dumbbells to the halfway point so your forearms are parallel with the ground x 7. Part 2. On the 8th rep bring the dumbbell up towards your shoulder and perform the next 7 lowering until your forearm is parallel to the ground and raising again. Part 3. For the final 7 perform the full range of movement, this is where it gets tough.

10. Triceps

Overhead dumbbell extension. Sit on a chair or bench and hold a single dumbbell in both hands behind your head. Raise the weight above your head until your arms are in a straight position. Lower and repeat. Aim for a weight where you can manage no more than 8-10 reps per set for. 3 sets. There are clearly more uses of the humble dumbbell but the point is not to get too fixated on the biggest and best equipment. You can see here you can get a pretty thorough head to toe workout. Sometimes this kind of session is a necessity but of course sometimes it’s good just to mix things up a bit, both to keep things interesting but also to provide a slightly different stimulus or range of motion to keep your body guessing. As ever, make sure you follow up every workout with a protein shake to help with recovery.
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