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Working out with a single dumbbell may sound foolish, but imagine the following scenarios. You walk into the gym, ready to roll, and it is packed, and most of the equipment is taken. This makes completing your current program an annoying challenge. Or the will to train is strong, but time is short, or you could be looking for some variety in your workout for whatever reason.
What do you do?
Here’s a suggestion. Grab a dumbbell and do the following exercises and workouts below. These single dumbbell workouts will have you sweating—perhaps even smiling—in no time and able to quickly hit the showers while others are still wrapping finish up their day.
Here we’ll dive into the advantages of using dumbbells, the best single dumbbell exercises, and a couple of single dumbbell workout examples to get your sweat on.
There are a few ways to hold a single dumbbell to increase the training effect, particularly on the squats, lunges, and carries. Holding one dumbbell by your side, like with a suitcase carry, provides an offset load that challenges your balance and core stability.
Holding the dumbbell goblet style provides more anterior core action and is more difficult because the weight is further from your legs. Plus, holding a single dumbbell in the front rack position will challenge your upper back, balance, and glutes more. And having one dumbbell overhead is the most challenging position for a reason already listed.
There is no right or wrong way to hold a dumbbell. Use a position that challenges you and aligns with your fitness goals.
Theoretically, for most exercises where you use two dumbbells, you can use one, but some exercises IMO work better with one dumbbell. Here is a selection of exercises you can use in any single dumbbell workout.
Note: You can sub in a similar exercise of your choosing. The following suggestions are not written in stone.
Take these single dumbbell workouts for a spin when you’re short on time or equipment. You’ll strengthen imbalances between sides while burning calories and hitting the showers early. You can thank me later. Or not.