Workout Routines

2 One-Dumbbell Workouts That Take Less Than 30 Minutes

Grab a weight and pick one of two workouts to boost functional strength, build muscle, and burn calories. Both in 30 minutes or less.

2 One-Dumbbell Workouts That Take Less Than 30 Minutes
Steve Smith
Steve Smith
Duration 15 or 30 min.
Exercises 5-6
Equipment Yes

If you've got a dumbbell, even just a rusty old 25-pounder without a match, you’ve got a gym. That’s because building muscle and getting crazy fit isn’t about a vast array of modern equipment. It’s about desire.

How badly do you want it? Enough to do an entire workout with nothing more than a single dumbbell? If the answer is yes (as it should be), then Jim Ryno, a personal trainer and the owner of Iron House Gym in Alpine, NJ (iron-house.co), has two down-and-dirty workouts for you to try. Even better? One lasts 30 minutes and the other lasts 15. (We’re assuming you’re as pressed for time as you are for fitness equipment.) The routines may run short, but they go long on gains.

“Being limited to only one dumbbell can actually be a blessing in disguise,” Ryno says. “It’s a great excuse to work on unilateral training and asymmetric loads to help fix muscle imbalances and improve core stabilization. Most of the exercises in the two workouts train one side at a time, which is great for functional strength.”

Collectively, the workouts incorporate compound bodybuilding-style movements to spark muscle gains, power movements like snatches to enhance explosiveness, and isolation moves for the biceps, triceps, and abs to address the finer points of the physique. “There are also some nice combo moves in there like squats to shoulder presses,” Ryno says. “These will enhance your overall conditioning and core strength.”

All of this can be achieved in 30 minutes or less with nothing more than a moderately weighted dumbbell and some open floor space at home. And by home, we mean your gym.

The following workouts can be performed with any size dumbbell, though Ryno programmed the workouts with a moderate weight in mind—20 to 40 pounds. Choose a weight that corresponds to your current strength level and that allows you to execute all movements with the proper form. Begin each workout with a brief dynamic warmup that hits your entire body.

30-minute Dumbbell Workout Set a timer for 30 minutes and do as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the below circuit in that time. Rest only as needed.

Exercise 1

One-Arm Squat To Shoulder Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One-Arm Squat To Shoulder Press  thumbnail
-- sets
10 per side reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

One-Arm Floor Chest Flye You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One-Arm Floor Chest Flye  thumbnail
-- sets
8 Per Side reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Turkish Getup You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Turkish Getup thumbnail
-- sets
4 Per Side reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Sumo Squat To Upright Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
 Sumo Squat To Upright Row  thumbnail
-- sets
8 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

One-Arm Plank To Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One-Arm Plank To Row  thumbnail
-- sets
6 Per Side reps
-- rest

Exercise 6

Weighted Crunch You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Weighted Crunch  thumbnail
-- sets
12 reps
-- rest

15-minute Dumbbell Workout For each exercise, complete as many reps as you can in 60 seconds, resting 15 to 20 seconds between exercises. Complete two rounds of the workout, which, with a short warmup, will take about 15 minutes. If you have more time, complete a third round.

Exercise 1

Overhead Two-Arm Triceps Extension You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Overhead Two-Arm Triceps Extension  thumbnail
-- sets
60 sec. reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Alternating Snatch You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Alternating Snatch  thumbnail
-- sets
60 sec. reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Two-Arm Upward Chop You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Two Arm Upward Chop  thumbnail
-- sets
60 sec. reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

One-Arm Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One Arm Romanian Deadlift  thumbnail
-- sets
60 sec. reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Goblet Squat You'll need: Dumbbells, Kettlebells How to
Goblet Squat thumbnail
-- sets
60 sec. reps
-- rest
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