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Total body workout with 1 dumbbell

This is a workout you can do with a single dumbbell! It’s perfect for those times when you can only find one dumbbell, but still want to get a great sweat. 

Hi friends! How are ya? Liv graduates from kindergarten today, so I’ll probably be a weepy emotional mess. They say it happens fast. They don’t lie. After her ceremony, I’m excited to spend the morning celebrating with her. I’m also enjoying a much-needed off day after crushing this week’s Lean Machine workouts in addition to 2 Heart Rize fitness classes. I’d love to hear what you have going on!

For today, I have an all-new workout for ya! This is for a problem that I commonly have…so I’m interested to hear if this ever happens to you, too. We have quite a few pairs of dumbbells around the house, but I feel like very often, I can only find one in a set. This is also probably because I have rogue dumbbells rolling around the trunk of my car from shooting workout pics with Lindsay. Sometimes when I can only find one dumbbell, it inspires me to think out of the box. It also encourages me to do more unilateral strength training work!

Why is unilateral training important? When we do both sides of an exercise at once, either using a machine, dumbbells, TRX, or barbell, it’s much easier for us to *cheat* and let the dominant side take over. For this reason, it can encourage muscle imbalances and altered movement patterns from depending on the stronger muscle. By training each side, one at a time, it enables us to really focus on that side, using proper form, and encourage balance on both sides.

Here’s a workout I put together using only 1 dumbbell!

It’s a total body workout you can do anywhere. 

working out with one dumbbell

(Tank // leggings // sneakers)

one dumbbell total body workoutHere’s what it looks like:

 

Exercises and form cues:

-Weighted lunge: Take one huge step forward, and keep your feet in line with your hips. Try to keep your torso perpendicular to the floor as you sink down into your lunge. As you lunge, watch the front knee to make sure it stays stacked above the front ankle. As you rise, actively think about trying to squeeze your legs together.

-Low lunge pass: Take one huge step forward, and keep your feet in line with your hips. Try to keep your torso perpendicular to the floor as you sink down into your lunge. As you lunge, watch the front knee to make sure it stays stacked above the front ankle. Hold this low lunge as you pass the weight around your front leg (either at the thigh or down towards the shin, but watch your chest and core). Pass the weight under 10 times. As you rise, actively think about trying to squeeze your legs together.

-Curtsy lunge to plie squat: Cross one leg back and behind the other, and come down into a curtsy lunge. The front foot stays flat on the ground and the back foot has the heel raised off the floor. Then step the back foot forward and out wide for a plié squat. As you sink down, keep your chest lifted and endeavor to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees extend towards your toes but not past your toes.

-Double plie squat jump: Get into a plie squat position (feet wide and booty LOW), and pulse twice. Touch the floor. Keep your abs engaged and chest lifted. Powering through your heels, spring up, reaching your arms towards the ceiling. Land with a soft knee. Repeat. For even more intensity: hold a dumbbell at your chest. 

-1-leg dumbbell reach: Hold one dumbbell in both hands, and stand with one leg behind the opposite leg. Tilt forward and lift the back leg off the floor, reaching the dumbbell overhead (slight bend in the elbows). Try to keep your hips parallel to the floor. Return to standing. 

-Squat with knee twist: Make sure your feet are underneath your shoulders (hip width or slightly wider is good) and toes slightly turned out. Focus on sitting back, while keeping your chest lifted and a tight core. Inhale to lower, exhale to rise. Make sure that your knees go towards your toes, but not far past your toes. Push into your heels as you rise, then bend one knee to lift the leg and twist towards it. Lower leg and repeat.

-Hamstring curls: Lie on your stomach and place one dumbbell in between your feet. Place your head on your hands, and keep your spine straight. Exhale to squeeze your glutes and bend your knees, lifting the dumbbell. Lower down with control to repeat. 

-Woodchop: Start with you legs hip width apart, knees bent. Hold the dumbbell to the outside of your left leg. Lift the dumbbell diagonally across your body, pivoting on your left foot and twisting your torso, ending with arms raised to the right. Control the movement as you go back to start and repeat 10x on each side.

-Overhead side bend: Hold one dumbbell in both hands, and stand with your feet a little farther than hip-distance apart. Keep your chest lifted and core tight as you tilt your torso to one side. Exhale to use your obliques and return to upright position. Repeat on the opposite side. 

Please let me know if you give it a try!

See ya soon.

xo

Gina

In the photos above, I’m wearing my fave new leggings + this super lightweight tank from Zella. They’re both amazing for strength training, cardio, barre, running, and yoga.

supported handstand

(with these sneakers)

Photos: Lindsay Colson

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