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The Single Dumbbell Workout

Go Solo for Strength

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There are myriad ways to work your body to exhaustion. You can perform strength moves at home using nothing but your own body, you can hop around the gym using all the latest state-of-the-art equipment, or you can pick just one tool with which you can do a killer total-body workout wherever you choose to sweat. This toning plan uses just one dumbbell to challenge every major muscle group while also zapping excess fat.

This workout is designed for all fitness levels, as you can gradually increase the weight of the dumbbell as you get stronger. For best results, be sure to do a dynamic warm-up and a cool-down like this five-minute stretching routine.

How it works: Perform 3 sets of the prescribed number of reps for each exercise.

You'll need: A 10-pound dumbbell.

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Single-Arm Snatch

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Reps: 10 per side

Grab the dumbbell with left hand and stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hips shifted back. Bring the weight in between legs.

Explosively drive hips forward as you raise left elbow up and back, bringing the weight overhead with a straight arm. Release weight back between legs to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps on each side.

Core Twist

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Reps: 8 per side

Holding one end of the dumbbell with each hand, stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, tailbone tucked. Raise dumbbell to chest height, extending arms straight out from shoulders.

Twist toward the left, keeping hips facing forward and arms straight. Return to center and slowly twist toward the left. Do 8 reps on each side.

Bulgarian Squat

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Reps: 15 per side

Get into lunge position with left foot up on a bench or step behind you and right foot directly in front of right hip. Make sure right knee is in line with right ankle and torso stays upright.

Bring the dumbbell to chest height. Slowly lower down with both legs bent, pause, then press through right foot to come back up. Do 15 reps on each side.

Step-Up with Arms Overhead

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Reps: 10 per side

Stand facing a bench or step, holding the weight overhead. Draw shoulders down away from ears. Place entire right foot on top of the bench. Step all the way up until right leg is fully extended, keeping left foot off the bench behind you and chest lifted. The weight stays directly overhead the entire time.

Lower back foot down to the ground, keeping right foot on the bench. Do 10 reps on each side.


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Reps: 30

Grab the dumbbell and lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Hold the dumbbell across your hips.

Engage glutes, press through the entire foot, and lift hips off the ground. Make sure to avoid overarching back. Lower hips back to the floor and repeat. Do 30 reps.

Single-Arm Press

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Reps: 10 per side

Holding the dumbbell in left hand, raise it up to shoulder height. Draw shoulders down away from ears, engage core, and use body as a platform from which to push off. Press the weight up, extending arm straight overhead. Lower the weight back to shoulder height and repeat. Do 10 reps on each side.


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