35-Minute Dumbbell Workout Routine (Video)


Build muscle, improve athletic performance, and get fit at home with this full body dumbbell workout routine. We love this time-drop format. The work time decreases with each additional set, meaning you can continue to reach for your heavy weights even as your muscles fatigue. A complete workout targeting every muscle in the body, using just a set of dumbbells.

 

I have been a personal trainer for over a decade, and still find myself the most challenged and sore after effective dumbbell workout routines like this one.

We love this time-drop format for so many reasons. This method of training is an effective way to build strength and grow muscle at home, while still feeling fun and mentally engaging.

This is one of my personal favorite formats because I find it encourages selecting and maintaining heavier weights throughout the workout.

Your work time will decrease with each additional set. The first set is the most intense, with the longest work period. The goal is to reach failure by the end of each set, then repeat, this time for a shorter period.

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Three women posing after completing dumbbell workout rinte

three women performing a dumbbell clean as part of dumbbell workout routine

35-Minute Dumbbell Workout Routine

Build strength and muscle tone with this 35-Minute Full Body Dumbbell Workout Routine.

A complete workout targeting every muscle group in the body: the lower body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and thighs), upper body (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, and chest) and core.

Add full body dumbbell workouts like this one to your home workout plan 1-2 times per week to build and maintain strength.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Full Body Dumbbell Workout Routine on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 2 Circuits
  • 4 Exercises Per Circuit
  • Time Drop Format (set one is 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds rest; set two is 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds rest; set three is 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x3 Sets

Workout Equipment:

Medium Pair of Dumbbells. I recommend between 5-25 lbs depending on your fitness level. We used 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in today’s workout.

three women performing a squat as part of dumbbell workout routine

Workout Outline

CIRCUIT ONE: 

  1. 1.5 Squat, Dumbbell Clean and Overhead Press
  2. 1.5 Alternating Reverse Lunge
  3. Dumbbell Chest Press and Glute Bridge Hold
  4. Wide Squat Dumbbell Burpee and Bicep Curl

CIRCUIT TWO:

  1. Staggered Stance Back Rows
  2. Deadlift, Dumbbell Clean and Lateral Lunge
  3. Overhead Tricep Extension and Calf Raises
  4. Alternating Dumbbell Snatch and Two Lateral Step Single Arm Squat Thrusters

4 Best Dumbbell Exercises

Dumbbell Squat, Clean and Overhead Press

Targets: Legs, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, adductors (inner thighs), shoulders and core.

three women performing a dumbbell squat, clean and press as part of dumbbell workout routine

How To Do Dumbbell Squats, Dumbbell Cleans and Overhead Presses

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Inhale as you bend your knees and sit your hips back (as if sitting down in a chair). Aim for 90 degree bends at each knee, focusing on pushing your knees out (not letting them cave in). Keep your torso in an upright position.
  3. Hold a low squat position, then pulse your hips up and down two to three inches, performing an additional half-squat.
  4. Exhale as you press through your heels to stand tall, driving your hips forward to return to standing position.
  5. As you stand, ‘clean’ the dumbbell up towards your shoulders. Think about “getting under” the dumbbells to catch them at shoulder level — this is a dumbbell clean.
  6. Hold the dumbbells at your shoulders, then press the weights overhead, performing a dumbbell shoulder press.
  7. Slowly and with control, lower the dumbbells first to your shoulders, then to your hips, returning to starting position.

Alternating Reverse Lunge

Targets: The glutes, quads and core.

three women performing alternating reverse lunges as part of dumbbell workout routine

How To Do Alternating Reverse Lunges with Pulses

  1. Begin in neutral standing position, feet shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Step your left foot back into a reverse lunge, lowering down so both knees form 90-degree angles.
  3. Hold a low lunge position, then perform a lunge pulse by lifting and lowering your hips two to three inches.
  4. Press through your front right heel to drive forward, returning to standing position.
  5. Then alternate, this time stepping your right foot back into a reverse lunge, before driving through your front heel to return to starting position.

Dumbbell Chest Press and Glute Bridge Hold

Targets: Legs, glutes, thighs, hips, hamstrings and chest (pecs, or pectoralis major) muscles.

three women performing dumbbell glute bridge hold with a chest press

How To Do Dumbbell Chest Presses and Glute Bridge Holds

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees (heels on the ground).
  2. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, fully extend your arms so the dumbbells are stacked over your shoulders, palms facing away from your body.
  3. Drive through your heels, squeezing your butt to lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Perform an isometric hold at the top of your glute bridge.
  4. Then, bending at the elbows slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest (chest puffed out and weights in line with nipples). I recommend thinking about lowering your elbows at a 45-degree angle rather than “goal-posting” your arms to protect your shoulder joints.
  5. Then exhale, pushing the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.

Wide Squat Dumbbell Burpee and Bicep Curl

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, hips, calves, low back, shoulders, abs and core.

The burpee is one of the most famous compound exercises, or exercises that target multiple muscles at once.

three women performing dumbbell burpees with a wide bicep curl

How To Do Wide Squat Dumbbell Burpees and Bicep Curls

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a set of dumbbells between your legs, palms facing in towards each other.
  2. Bend your knees as you lower your hips towards the ground, performing a wide squat. As you lower your hips, lower the dumbbells towards the floor, placing them on the ground between your feet.
  3. Then, keep your hands on your dumbbells as you step or jump your feet back, finding a high plank position. Shoulders are stacked over wrists, core engaged.
  4. Jump your feet in, landing softly outside the dumbbells in a low squat position.
  5. Then, press through your heels to stand tall, pulling the dumbbells up your body as you stand.
  6. Bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, performing a bicep curl.
  7. Then, slowly and with control, lower the dumbbells to your hips, returning to starting position.

Modification: Perform a dumbbell squat, clean and alternating knee drive.

Dumbbell Workout Routine FAQs

Can I Build Muscle With Only Dumbbells?

Yes! Dumbbell exercises are an effective way to add resistance training to your workouts and build muscle. Compared to using gym machines (such as a leg press machine or lat pull down machine), dumbbells engage more of the smaller, stabilizing muscles in the lower body, upper body and core. They also allow you to strength train in multiple planes of motion, mimicking real life movement patterns.

What Is A Good Dumbbell Workout Routine?

The best dumbbell workout routines include a combination of upper body workouts, lower body workouts, full body workouts, core workouts, and mobility workouts. Beginner workout routines may focus on three days of training a week, while more advanced split training workout plans tend to be structured in five-day workout splits, or training five days per week.

Can You Get A Complete Workout With Just Dumbbells?

You can build strength and burn fat exclusively with dumbbell workouts. Dumbbell workouts are also a great way to increase core strength as your body naturally has to stabilize during movements rather than relying on a machine for stability. Examples of the best dumbbell exercises include the dumbbell curl, dumbbell row, dumbbell bench press, goblet squat, deadlift, renegade row and tricep extension.

Pin This Workout: Time-Drop Dumbbell Workout Routine

woman performing overhead tricep extensions

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