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Short on Time? Tackle This Smart, 4-Move Dumbbell Circuit Workout

·2-min read
Photo credit: Pekic - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pekic - Getty Images

You’ve heard of circuits before and, no doubt, know how devastatingly effective they can be at melting away calories and packing on muscle. The dumbbell ‘complex’ below takes this a step further by stringing a series of moves together seamlessly, all with the same single piece of kit. The result? A session with absolutely no reprieve that cranks up the effort.

After a thorough warm-up, work your way through the following ladder, completing all reps of each exercise in a round before moving onto the next (ie. 10 of each in the first round, nine of each in the second, eight in the third, so on).

Rest as necessary to maintain good form. But, once you begin a round, try not to drop your dumbbells until that round is complete. Your forearms won’t know what's hit them. Rest minimally between rounds and, if you can make it through any rounds back to back, I salute you.

1. Push Press x 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

Clean your dumbbells onto your shoulders, palms facing in. Take a breath and brace your core. (A) Dip at the knees and use your legs to help (B) press your dumbbells overhead. Lower under control to the ground.

2. Front Squat x 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

Once you’ve completed your presses perform your squats by dropping the bells back down onto front of your shoulders (A). From here, drop into a front squat, until your thighs pass parallel to the ground (B), before driving back up. By this point, your grip and upper back may be tiring but don’t relax. Keeping your core tight throughout is crucial.

3. Renegade row x 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

After your final squat, drop into a strong plank with both hands on your dumbbells (A). Shifting your weight onto your left hand, row the right dumbbell towards your hip (B). Pause briefly, then lower the weight under control. Repeat on your left side (left+right equals one rep)

4. Push-up x 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

Remain in your plank position, with your core tight and hands on your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.

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