Strength training can be a wonderful tool for boosting metabolism, increasing lean mass, stimulating production of endorphins and increasing energy – all are especially important to endure the hard winter weather. As the season approaches, I find it essential to have a few efficient workouts on hand so that even after a long day of bearing the ice, snow and sleet, I am motivated to keep myself moving. Dumbbell exercises are among the easiest exercises to do quickly, while also targeting multiple muscles at once. Here is an example workout that could be done at home or in the gym and should take no more than 30 minutes.
1. OVERHEAD WALKING LUNGE
Beginner: Resting the dumbells on your shoulders, complete walking lunges. Make sure that both your front and back legs make 90-degree angles when in the lunge, and keep your body upright, making sure to use your core and hip strength to keep your posture. Two sets, 10 repetitions
Advanced: Hold the dumbbells overhead while completing the exercise. Three sets, 12 repetitions
2. PLANK ROW WITH SPIDERMAN PUSHUP
Beginner: In high plank, row the dumbbell upward so that your elbows point toward the ceiling, then set it back down between your hands, then do a push up with one leg lifted. Lift the leg from the glute muscle and repeat on the other side, alternating the leg.
Two sets, 10 repetitions
Advanced: In high plank, put each hand on dumbbells spaced shoulder-width apart, row the dumbbell upward, set it back down, then do a Spiderman pushup – bend one leg and pull it up the side of your body, keeping it parallel to the ground and reaching it towards your armpit using the abdominal and oblique muscles. Repeat on the other side, making sure to alternate legs each time.
Three sets, 12 repetitions
3. DUMBBELL JUMP SQUAT
Beginner: Squat with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing slightly out, making sure to sit your weight onto your heels, keeping your knees behind your toes. From the squatted position, propel your body up, springing off of your feet. Pushing hard from your legs and pulling up with your abs, land back in your squat. Hold dumbbells at your sides or hold one in front of the chest, to help with balance. Two sets, 10 repetitions
Advanced: Rest the dumbbells on your shoulders while completing the exercise. Three sets, 12 repetitions
Beginner: Keeping your back flat, fold your torso forward, trying to make a 90-degree angle with the forward bend at your hips. Lift one leg behind you as straight as possible, keeping the supporting knee slightly bent. While holding this position, raise the dumbbells out to the sides of the body with your arms straight, creating a T at the top of the raise. Do half the repetitions with one leg up and half with the other. Two sets, 10 repetitions
Advanced: Between each reverse fly, return to the standing position by lowering the back leg, then perform the exercise each time that you bend forward. Do half the repetitions with one leg up and half with the other. Three sets, 12 repetitions
5. RUSSIAN SIT-UP
Beginner: Resting on your butt, raise your legs so that your knees are bent and your calves are parallel to the floor. Holding the dumbbell with both hands at the center of your body, twist your torso to touch your elbow to the ground, keeping your legs still, then twist to the other side. Then recline so your legs and upper back float off of the ground, creating a slight U-shape with the body, and sit back up to the starting position. Two sets, 12 repetitions
Advanced: When reclining your body to the U-shape position, your arms should be straight and parallel to the ground. Pulling the weight back overhead, sit up with arms overhead and then lower them back into the starting position. Three sets, 15 repetitions