A 4-Week Dumbbell Challenge for Full-Body Strength

Whether you’re working out at the gym or at home, dumbbells are one of the best ways to level up your fitness routine, target specific muscle groups, and build full-body strength and balance. They’re incredibly versatile, allowing for a range of exercises that can be adjusted to suit any fitness level and goal.

“Dumbbells are an excellent training tool because they allow for maximum customization,” says Izzi Lynn, strength coach and instructor at Barry’s.

“While no-equipment exercises or workouts are great for on the go, often training certain muscle groups for someone just starting their fitness journey can be extremely difficult (think about push-ups). Dumbbells allow for us to go both below and above our body weight to meet you wherever you are.”

From biceps curls and shoulder presses to reverse lunges and front squats, incorporating dumbbells into your workouts can provide a full-body challenge that promotes muscle growth, improves balance, and boosts your metabolic rate.

Below, Lynn has outlined a month-long dumbbell challenge as part of our Movement of the Month Club for July 2024.

Why you need to be training with dumbbells

Working out with dumbbells offers benefits for just about everyone, whether you’re a yogi, weekend hiker, or marathon runner, by significantly enhancing strength, coordination, and metabolic health.

“In general, weight training improves overall stability, muscle gain and injury prevention. You’ll also see an increase in your cardiovascular health!” Lynn says.

That’s because dumbbells activate a variety of muscle groups, including stabilizing muscles, giving you a more functional workout that translates to everyday activities. Plus, dumbbell exercises can help correct muscle imbalances, as each limb works independently. This can lead to better body mechanics and reduced injury risk.

How the dumbbell challenge works

Starting Monday, July 8, 2024, you’ll have one dumbbell exercise to do each day Monday through Saturday. The goal is to really get your form down for each of these moves. Then, you’ll finish the week with a workout combining all the moves on Sunday.

Each week features different exercises in a unique workout format, helping you find new ways to build full-body strength all month long. Here’s what you can expect:

Week 1

  1. Reverse lunge to knee drive
  2. Overhead march
  3. Lateral lunge
  4. Weighted drag
  5. Rainbow lunge
  6. Plank shoulder tap with hold
  7. Dumbbell workout for balance

Week 2

  1. Hammer curl
  2. Front loaded squat
  3. Arnold press
  4. Close-grip biceps curl
  5. Reverse lunge
  6. Upright row
  7. Full-body dumbbell workout

Week 3

  1. Chest press
  2. Hammer press
  3. Tabletop crunch + reverse crunch
  4. Bent-over row
  5. Lat pullover
  6. Forearm plank
  7. Chest, back, and abs workout

Week 4

  1. Deadlift
  2. Split squat
  3. Curtsy lunge
  4. Bear plank to pike
  5. Single-leg deadlift
  6. Snatch
  7. Lower-body dumbbell workout

“If you’re just starting out, feel free to grab something light (10 pounds and below) and run through the workouts as you familiarize yourself with the exercises,” Lynn says. “As you become more comfortable with the moves, you can increase your weight, or increase your speed if you don’t have multiple weights at home. I encourage you to come back to these videos over time and progress your strength!”

Calendar for the dumbbell challenge

‌Get a printer-friendly version of the calendar here.‌

How to join the Movement of the Month Club

1. Print and/or save your calendar

Print out the calendar above or save it to your phone and use it each day to help you stay on track. Do each day’s exercise (or workout), then check off that box when you’re finished.

2. Join the club on Facebook

Our community of nearly 60,000 members (and growing!) is here to support and motivate you through the month. Tell the group how the day’s routine went, post photos or videos of your workouts or share your favorite ab-related meme or motivational quote.

3. Start the exercises

On Day 1, start with a reverse lunge with knee drive. Check out the links below for details on each week’s moves:

4. Celebrate your success!

You made it to the end! Take some time to appreciate that accomplishment—and let us know how it went in our Facebook group.


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