Add strength and shape to your frame with these moves that use just a set of dumbbells
Typical trouble zones: No curves
Solution: Muscle-building strength routine and cardio
If you have a thin, straight frame, you're probably the envy of your girlfriends, but thanks to the grass-is-always-greener principle, you long for more curves. And while you may not need to lose weight, there's serious risk attached to the term "skinny fat" (having a high body-fat percentage despite a low or normal scale weight). In fact, studies show this condition can pose just as much risk to your health as obesity or even smoking!
This strength-building workout is designed to help improve body composition and add definition to a straight figure. Calorie burning doesn't need to be your main focus, but it's still a good idea to throw in a few cardio sessions per week to help improve overall endurance, stamina, and health.
How it works: Three days per week, do each exercise for the recommended number of sets and reps, resting 45 to 60 seconds between sets. Alternate this routine with two days of stamina-building cardio for 10 to 30 minutes.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Deadlift Overhead Press
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, knees soft, palms facing thighs. Engage abs and push hips back to lower torso until it's almost parallel to the floor (avoid reaching dumbbells below shin level).
Maintaining flat back, engage glutes to bring body back up and immediately curl weights into body and press arms overhead, palms facing in. Try to press the weights up as body returns to upright position in one smooth motion. Return to starting position and repeat.
2. 1.5 Lunges
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet together, arms by sides. Take a wide step back with right foot and lower into a lunge, bending both knees about 90 degrees (aim to lower front thigh parallel to the floor).
Press halfway up (knees bent at about 45 degrees) then lower back down into a full lunge before pushing off right foot to return to starting position; repeat. Do all reps on the right, then repeat on the left to complete one set.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, arms by sides. Brace abs in tight.
Keeping shoulder blades down and back, raise arms to a wide 'V' position at shoulder height, palms facing in (avoid leaning back as arms lift). Slowly return to starting position and repeat.
4. Fencer's Lunge Extension
Stand with right foot forward and left foot a stride's length behind, holding one dumbbell with both hands. Lunge forward, bending front knee over ankle, hinging slightly at the hips. Hold the dumbbell behind head with elbows bent in close to ears.
Extend arms overhead (body should make a diagonal line from heels to hands). Bend elbows and lower weight behind head to complete one rep; repeat. Switch legs in between sets.
5. Side-to-Side Plank Pushups
Begin in a full plank with feet together. Your body should form a straight line from heels to head.
Step right foot and right hand out to side so that hands are slightly wider than shoulder width and lower into a pushup. Press body up as right arm and leg return to starting position. Do the prescribed number of reps, alternating sides each time. Too tough? Modify the pushup on knees and 'step' with hands only.
6. Diagonal Lunge and Curl
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet together, arms by sides, palms facing in. Do a hammer curl, bending elbows and curling weights up (palms still facing in).
Take a wide step out with right foot and lower into a diagonal lunge, allowing back foot to pivot. (Imagine you're standing inside a square and step to the top right corner, reaching back foot to the bottom left corner.) Reach dumbbells to the floor on either side of front knee. Push off front leg to return to starting position, curling arms up as feet step together; repeat. Do 1 full set on the right leg, then switch sides for the second set.