Blast your entire body with just two dumbbells

Training with just one set of dumbbells can sometimes seem limiting. Pick a pair that’s too light and you’ll have trouble stimulating the hard-hitting muscles of the legs and back, but go too heavy and you risk not being able to perform less mechanically favored moves like overhead presses perform, you’ll miss entire body parts in the process.

If you don’t have access to a variety of weights but are still looking for a balanced way to train your whole body, our “ladder of descent” is for you. You start with a pre-fatigue bodyweight primer, hitting your pecs and getting the blood pumping, before picking up your dumbbells and working your way up from the heavy lifting muscles of the legs to the back before finishing with a shoulder thrust. The reps of each movement are tactically lowered throughout the circuit, meaning you’re pushing each muscle group to the limit.

Perform 8-10 rounds of the following four-move throwdown, resting 60-120 seconds between rounds. Keep the pauses between movements to the bare minimum, but hold on to your form. If you have to pause mid-sentence, pick up where you left off as quickly as possible.

1. Push-ups on dumbbells x 12

Assume a strong plank position, with your core tight and your hands grasping your dumbbells just below your shoulders (A). Bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (b). Keep your elbows close to your body as you explosively push yourself up.

2. Front squat x 9

Jump to your feet and place both dumbbells on the front of your shoulders (A). From here, front squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (B) before booting up again. Keep your torso upright and maintain core tension.

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3rd row bent over x 6

After your final squat, lower your dumbbells to your sides and swing them at your hips until your chest is parallel to the floor (A). Maintaining a flat back, pull your elbows back and row both dumbbells toward your hips (B). Squeeze your shoulder blades and lower them in a controlled manner to the start before repeating the exercise.

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4. Press Press 3x

Finally, place your dumbbells back on your shoulders, palms facing in. Inhale and tighten your core. (A) Bend your knees and use your legs to help (B) Press your dumbbells overhead. Lower to the ground in a controlled manner. To repeat.

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