How to Do a One Dumbbell Workout – LifeSavvy

Woman doing russian twists with a dumbbell.
Karl Tafra

So you only have one dumbbell? Great you have enough to break your workout. Even just one dumbbell can challenge your usual exercises just enough for you to feel it the next day.

The most important thing about dumbbells is to hold them properly so as not to injure yourself or strain your back. And since most dumbbells look similar, you can use the same technique with any type you find at your local gym or online.

Dumbbell squats

Grab a dumbbell with both hands and bring it in front of your chest. Take a deep breath and slowly begin to lower your hips down and back as if trying to sit in an imaginary seat behind you. Keep your spine straight, core tight, and chest lifted, but lift your belly button and pull your hips in so you don’t create too much of a curve in your lower back.

Once you reach your maximum depth (aim to be as close parallel to the floor as possible), start exhaling and straighten your legs. Push the floor away from you through your legs, keeping your spine straight. At the end of the exhale, squeeze your glutes. Repeat 12-15 times.

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift with Dumbbells

Start standing and place your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and lift your right leg back. Place your left hand on your left hip, inhale and gently bend over your left leg, bring your right hand down, the dumbbell close to the floor.

Exhale and use the strength of your left leg to bring your body back to a standing position. Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise as your balance will be challenged and maintain a straight back. Repeat 12-15 times and do the same over your right leg. Try squeezing your hamstrings and feeling them stretch and contract, and avoid letting the movement come solely from your lower back.

grab dumbbell

Come to a standing position and separate your stances slightly more than hip width. Place the dumbbell on the floor between your legs and squat down. Grab the dumbbell with your left hand and on the exhale raise the dumbbell and in one full motion straighten your body and bring the dumbbell overhead.

Slowly come back into your squat and explosively raise. Squeeze your glutes at the top and keep your core engaged. Repeat 10-12 times and do the same with your right hand.

Adjustable dumbbells

Don’t have room for a complete dumbbell rack? These adjustable dumbbells will help you with that!

Back pulls with dumbbells

Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and lean over a bench, chair, or other stable surface. Straighten your back and let your right arm reach all the way to the floor to isolate your back muscles. Inhale and bend your right elbow, lifting the dumbbell close to your body. Exhale and relax, extending your arm to the floor. Inhale and squeeze, exhale and expand.

Keep your elbows close to your body as you lift and fully engage your core. Repeat 12-15 times and do the same on the other side.

Plank pulls with dumbbells

Start in a plank position with a dumbbell just below your chest. Inhale and push the dumbbell to the left with your left hand. Raise your right hand and grab the dumbbell to push it to the right. Repeat this movement 10-12 times and feel your abs and obliques burn each time you reach over them.

If you want to take this exercise to the next level, instead of shifting, lift the dumbbell and carry it to the side. Lifting the heavy dumbbell off the floor requires core strength and stability and will really challenge your workout.

Dumbbell triceps

Come to a standing position, grab the dumbbell with both hands and bring it over your head so it hangs over the space between your shoulder blades. Inhale and on the exhale stretch your arms overhead and stretch your triceps. Inhale and bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Keep your elbows as parallel as possible and engage your core muscles to really isolate the triceps. If you feel like your back is taking control and your form is affected, sit down. Repeat 12-15 times.

Dumbbell Russian Twist

Sit on the floor and bring your legs together and bend your knees. Take the dumbbell with both hands and bring it in front of your chest. Lean your body back slightly to engage your core and begin rotating the dumbbell from your left hip to your right, feeling your abs and obliques burn.

You can keep your feet on the ground or go to the next level and raise your legs. When you do this, squeeze your legs together to make them feel like one big limb and isolate your core as much as possible to reap the benefits. Go for 20-30 twists.

If you’re more of a kettlebell person than a dumbbell, try this workout instead!

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