On Your Health

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Free Weight Exercises for Your Entire Body

If you’re not a fan of gyms, you’re not alone. Between membership fees, childcare, crowded workout areas and drive time, gyms are not for everyone. The good news is, you don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to stay healthy and fit. In fact, you can get an incredible full-body workout with a set of dumbbells, or even just your body weight.

If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to establish an exercise routine to stay active, move your entire body and build strength — all from the comfort and convenience of your own home. 

Full-body exercises with dumbbells 

If you’re used to working out at a gym, it can be difficult to adapt your normal exercises to the limited equipment you have at home. The following exercises will help you strengthen your entire body using a simple and affordable pair of free weights. 

Squat to press

This is an excellent full-body, low-impact exercise to get your heart pumping. It targets your quadriceps, glutes, core and upper body.  

Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and hold your dumbbells at shoulder height with palms facing each other. Engage your core to maintain proper posture while you squat down as low as is comfortable, like you’re sitting back into a chair. Then, drive into your heals and squeeze your glutes as you press back up to standing. Simultaneously press your weights overhead, shoulder-width apart with palms facing each other. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times for up to three rounds, resting in between each round. 

Plank row

A simple plank is a powerful, isometric full-body exercise, but adding a dumbbell row makes it more challenging for your core and engages your upper body. Start in a pushup plank position, engaging your core by drawing your belly button towards your spine. With your dumbbells placed on the floor, grip each dumbbell to support yourself. To complete a row, pull one dumbbell toward your side until your arm is at a 90-degree angle, maintaining your balance. Return the dumbbell back to the ground, alternating arms for 10-14 repetitions. Rest in between rounds and repeat for up to three rounds.

Lunge with bicep curl 

Combining upper and lower body exercises helps to elevate your heart rate and allows for more efficient workouts. Lunges target the quadriceps and hamstring muscles in your legs, while bicep curls engage your arms. For this exercise, start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand. With your hands at your sides and palms facing forward, step one leg back into a lunge. While stepping back into your lunge, bend both elbows to complete a bicep curl. As you lower your weights back down to your side, step your back leg up to standing. Alternate legs, completing one bicep curl with each lunge. Repeat 10-15 times for three rounds, resting in between rounds. 

Glute bridge with chest fly 

A glute bridge is an isometric exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes and core. Adding a chest press increases the core engagement and targets the chest and arms. To complete a glute bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground about hip-width apart. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you tuck your pelvic and press your hips toward the ceiling. For a full-body exercise, hold a glute bridge position while completing five to 10 chest press repetitions. To do this, start by holding your dumbbells with your arms out to your side and elbows bent 90 degrees—as if you are doing a pushup on your back. Press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling and slowly lower your elbows back to the ground. Complete five to 10 chest press repetitions for three to five rounds, resting in between rounds. 

Dumbbell burpee

Burpees are a challenging full-body exercise, engaging your legs, core and upper body. To complete a normal burpee, start in a standing position. Bend your knees and place your palms on the floor. Hop or step your feet back into a pushup position. Stay there or complete one pushup. Then, hop or step your feet back up toward your hands, return to standing, and reach both hands over your head. Then repeat. For an additional challenge, complete the entire exercise while holding your dumbbells. Set a timer for 30 seconds and complete as many repetitions as you can for three to five rounds, resting in between rounds. 

Other ways to stay active at home 

Even if you don’t own free weights at home, there are plenty of simple and effective ways to stay active and fit with no equipment. Go for a daily walk or bike ride, complete a guided yoga practice or try any of the above exercises without weights. For more tips on fitness, nutrition and healthy living, visit our On Your Health blog


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