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30-Minute Dumbbell Strength Training (Full Body + Abs)

Develop overall strength with a focus on core stability using just a set of dumbbells. Each circuit supersets dumbbell strength training with a core-sculpting ab exercise. Compound dumbbell exercises hit multiple muscle groups at once, making this strength training dumbbell workout challenging and efficient.

Build overall strength with an emphasis on core stability in this efficient full body dumbbell strength workout.

You’ve been asking for more Minnesota Beef Council workouts with our farmer friends. They have a reputation for being challenging, and some of your favorite full body workouts.

Today’s workout is a fusion between a full body strength training workout and functional core workout. Strengthen all the major muscle groups in the body during the first exercise of each circuit. Then, focus on building deep core strength and stability during the second exercise.

This combination improves your ability to perform everyday activities. It also strengthens your balance, coordination and stability during movements such as lifting, twisting, bending, and reaching.

*This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council.

three women performing an uneven squat with dumbbells as part of dumbbell strength workout

Dumbbell Strength Training FAQs

Can You Build Strength With Just Dumbbells?

Yes! Dumbbell exercises are an effective way to add resistance training to your workouts and build muscle. Compared to using gym machines (such as a leg press machine or lat pull down machine), dumbbells engage more of the smaller, stabilizing muscles in the lower body, upper body and core.

How Do I Start Strength Training with Dumbbells?

The key to strength training with dumbbells is choosing an appropriate weight for each exercise. You want a weight that challenges you, while still allowing you to perform reps with good form. The last two to three reps of an exercise should feel challenging to complete – that’s a good indicator that you’re using the appropriate weights.

Is It Okay to Lift Dumbbells Every Day?

When you lift weights, you create microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. The repair of these fibers is what builds muscle. Ideally, you should wait 48 hours before strength training the same muscle group again. Well-rounded training plans will alternate arm workouts, lower body workouts and full body workouts with rest days. This allows the muscle time to repair, and prevents overtraining injuries.

three women performing a single arm shoulder press as part of dumbbell strength workout

30-Minute Dumbbell Strength Workout

Build muscle and challenge your core stability with this 30-Minute Dumbbell Strength Training Workout: Full Body and Abs.

Compound strength exercises in each circuit target multiple muscle groups at once – making this workout effective, efficient and engaging.

Add full body workouts like this one to your workout routine 1-2 times a week to build muscle mass and increase endurance.

Workout Equipment:

Medium/Heavy Dumbbells. Option to use two lighter dumbbells. I suggest between 8-30 lbs. I’m using both 15 and 20 lb weights.

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woman performing shoulder press with dumbbells as part of dumbbell strength workout

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Full Body Strength and Abs video on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 6 Circuits
  • 2 Moves Per Circuit (One Full Body Strength Move and One Abs and Core Exercise)
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds work/10 seconds rest)
  • Repeat Each Strength Exercise x 2 Sets Back-to-Back, Then Perform the Ab Exercise x1 Set

Workout Outline

Circuit One: 
1. Strength: Squat and Dumbbell Transfer
2. Abs: Chop and Press (Right)

Circuit Two: 
1. Strength: Staggered Deadlift and Row
2. Abs: Chop and Press (Left)

Circuit Three: 
1. Strength: Split Lunges and Balance Bicep Curls
2. Abs: Push Up and Dumbbell Drag

Circuit Four:
1. Strength: Lateral Lunge and Balance Overhead Triceps
2. Abs: Skull Crusher and Leg Lowers

Circuit Five:
1. Strength: Deadlift, Clean and Squat
2. Abs: Push Up and Crossbody Knee Drive

Circuit Six:
1. Strength: Glute Bridge Chest Press and Dumbbell Pullover
2. Abs: Hold the World and Reverse Crunch

three women performing a lateral lunge as part of dumbbell strength workout

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Dumbbell Strength

6 Best Dumbbell Strength Exercises

Squat and Dumbbell Transfer

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, shoulders and core.

Holding a weight on one side of the body makes the load ‘uneven’ which requires additional core strength.

three women performing an uneven rack squat and dumbbell press as part of dumbbell strength workout

How To Do Squats and Dumbbell Transfers

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in both hands, resting on your right shoulder.
  2. With your weight in your heels, sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, striving for a 90-degree angle between your hips and knees.
  3. Then, drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes to stand tall. As you stand, press the weight overhead, before lowering it to your opposite (left) shoulder.
  4. Then, repeat, performing another squat this time with the dumbbell resting on your left shoulder.
  5. Continue this pattern, alternating one squat with one overhead dumbbell transfer.

Staggered Deadlift and Dumbbell Row

Targets:  Legs, hamstrings, glutes, hips, lower back, mid-back, arms, biceps, shoulders, abs and core.

Unilateral, or single-sided exercises are also great for working on muscle imbalances.

three women performing a staggered deadlift and back row as part of dumbbell strength training

How To Do Staggered Deadlifts and Bent Over Rows

  1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Stagger your feet, so your left foot is slightly in front of your right. Keep 80% of your weight in your left foot, and 20% in your right toes.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing the midline of your body.
  3. Hinge at your hips to lower the dumbbell down towards the ground, keeping your hips square to the mat. Lower the dumbbell until you feel a stretch in your left hamstring (back of your leg). Range of motion looks different for everyone.
  4. Hold this single leg deadlift position, then perform a single arm row by pulling the dumbbell back toward your right hip.
  5. Lower the dumbbell with control, returning to the bottom of the staggered deadlift position.
  6. Then press through your feet to stand tall, returning to starting position.

Split Lunge and Balance Bicep Curl

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, biceps and core.

three women performing a split lunge and balance bicep curl as part of dumbbell strength training

How To Do Split Lunges and Balance Bicep Curls

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing your body. Step your left leg back into a reverse lunge, keeping your right leg in place.
  2. Slowly lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, right thigh parallel to the floor. Shoulders remain stacked over hips throughout the entire exercise, torso upright.
  3. Press into your front right heel to slowly lift, straightening both legs. Repeat twice, performing two split lunges.
  4. Then, balance on your right foot and drive your left knee up, left thigh parallel to the ground.
  5. Hold this balance position, and perform a bicep hammer curl, curling the dumbbells up from your hips to shoulder height, palms facing in towards each other.
  6. With control, lower the dumbbells back down to your hips. Repeat, performing two balance bicep curls.
  7. Continue this pattern, alternating two split lunges with two balance bicep curls.

Lateral Lunge and Balance Overhead Tricep Extension

Targets: Legs, quads, outer glutes (gluteus medius), inner thighs (adductors), hips, triceps and core.

three women performing a lateral lunge and overhead tricep extension as part of dumbbell strength workout

How To Do Lateral Lunges and Balance Overhead Tricep Extensions

  1. Start standing, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell horizontally between both hands at your chest.
  2. Step your right leg out to the side as you push your hips back, bending your right knee while leaving your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your right leg.
  3. Then, drive off your right foot to reverse the movement, pushing back to center. As you return to center, balance on your left foot and perform a knee drive on the right leg, right thigh parallel to the ground.
  4. Hold this balance position as you press the dumbbell straight overhead.
  5. Then, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbell behind your head to perform an overhead tricep extension.
  6. Squeeze through the back of your arm to straighten your elbows, returning the dumbbell overhead.
  7. Then, lower it back to your chest with control, returning to starting position.

Deadlift, Clean and Squat

Targets: Lower body, glutes, hamstrings, hips, quads, calves, trapezius, deltoids, lower back, abs and core.

One of the best dumbbell exercises for building strength in every muscle in the lower body.

three women performing a deadlift, clean and squat with dumbbells

How To Do Deadlifts, Cleans and Squats

  1. Start standing feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell horizontally between your hands in front of your body.
  2. Hinge forward at the hips, pushing your hips back as you lower the dumbbell down along the front of your body. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs (hamstrings). Focus on keeping your back in neutral alignment with your neck and shoulders throughout the entire movement. Keep a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Then, drive through your heels to push your hips forward, squeezing your glutes as you return to a standing position.
  4. As you press your hips forward to stand up, “clean” the dumbbell up towards your shoulders. Catch the dumbbell at your chest in a front rack position.
  5. Then, bend your knees to lower down into a squat, pushing your knees out as you drop your hips parallel to your knees.
  6. Drive through the heels to stand up, returning to starting position.

Glute Bridge Chest Press and Dumbbell Pullover

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, chest, back and core.

three women performing a glute bridge and dumbbell pullover

How To Do Glute Bridge Chest Presses and Dumbbell Pullovers

  1. Start lying on your back, with legs bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell horizontally between your hands, elbows slightly bent, hands shoulder width apart, palms facing in.
  2. Press through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips into the air, performing a glute bridge. As you lift your hips, press the dumbbell straight overhead, wrists in line with shoulders, performing a chest press.
  3. Hold this position, then slowly lower the dumbbell overhead towards the ground. Keep your arms straight, with a slight bend in the elbows.
  4. Then pull the dumbbell back towards your chest, engaging the lats, bringing it forward so wrists are stacked over shoulders.
  5. Bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbell down to tap your chest as you simultaneously lower your hips, bringing them to hover above the ground and returning to starting position.

Pin this 30-Minute Dumbbell Strength Training Workout

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Beef: High-Quality Protein For Muscle Recovery

As a mom of an anemic son, beef is a staple in my house! And as a trainer, I know the importance of refueling with high-quality protein to repair muscle tissue.

A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 25 grams of high-quality protein, which is the optimal amount to help active individuals recover from exercise (Beef Council Strength Guide).

I believe a balanced diet includes high-quality protein AND other nutrient-rich foods for building and maintaining strength. Which is why I love the list of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients included in one serving of beef:

  • Zinc — supports the immune system and metabolism function.
  • Iron — supports many vital functions in the body — including energy production, immune system, and regulation of body temperature.
  • Vitamin B12 — helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy.
  • Riboflavin — is needed for overall good health. It helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy.
  • Niacin — boosts brain and skin function.
  • Vitamin B6 — helps the body turn food into energy.
  • Selenium — is important for thyroid health and boosts the immune system.

Check out the below graphic from the MN Beef Council Strength Guide.

Beef’s Top 10 Essential Nutrients

Nutrients that support strength in common protein foods

Beef is loaded with quality protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

And you can reap all the benefits beef has to offer with these heart-healthy dinner recipes.

Heart-Healthy Recipes with Beef

For a wide variety of heart-healthy and family-friendly beef recipes, visit mnbeef.org.

Or check out these quick links to my personal favorite weeknight dinner recipes with beef: 

5 Simple Dinner Ideas Using Beef

Minnesota Beef Council

The Minnesota Beef Council is dedicated to strengthening beef demand by responsibly providing a safe, wholesome, healthy and delicious eating experience. 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

This post includes affiliate links. I do make a small commission for products purchased using these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

  1. Always a fantastic workout! Love the format. Flew by! Lateral lunges with triceps, split lunge hold with bicep curls. Can’t pick a favorite set! All great!