Pyramid Workout: 7 Best Free Weight Exercises for Women

Strength train at home with 7 powerful, free weight exercises done in a pyramid workout format! This dumbbell workout combines strength, power and endurance for a 20-40 minute total body workout.

*If you’re having trouble seeing the 7 Free Weight Exercises for Women video above, try turning off or pausing your ad-blocker. If you prefer, you can also view this Full Body Dumbbell Workout video on YouTube here.

Another Pyramid Workout! You love them, so I’m back with 7 new, free weight exercises you can combine into a total body pyramid workout.

These 7 dumbbell exercises have been on repeat in my group fitness classes because they are POWERFUL compound exercises.

‘Compound Exercises’ engage multiple muscle groups at once. For example, the reverse lunge, curl and upright row exercise targets the hamstrings, glutes and quads during the lunge portion. Additionally, it engages the biceps for the curl, and then uses shoulder muscles and upper back for the upright row. Plus, your core is engaged as a stabilizing force.

Talk about total body burn! Dumbbells strength training that will raise your heart rate in 20 minutes if you do this pyramid workout one way, or 40 minutes if you go up and down the pyramid.

I hope you love all 7 of these free weight exercises as much as I do.

Full Body. Free Weight Exercises. Pyramid Workout.

lateral lunge | free weights workout

Free Weights FAQs

A free weight is any kind of weight that isn’t attached to an apparatus {think dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells}. I mentioned this in a previous Dumbbell Pyramid Workout post, but I love using free weights — mostly in the form of dumbbells and kettlebells.

  • Free weights are perfect for home gyms. Dumbbells are affordable and don’t take up much space. If you frequently workout at home, I suggest having a lighter and heavier set of dumbbells or free weights available. With the goal of always striving to increase weight.
  • According to The American Council on Exercise, free weights have an advantage over machine-based exercises. That’s because they mimic natural movement patterns and require you to also engage stabilizing muscle in your core. Hello abs while performing a front squat.
  • Free weights are versatile. The list of dumbbell exercises is endless. You can build muscle simply using a set of dumbbells. This pyramid workout includes 7 of my current favorite compound dumbbell exercises for a full body dumbbell workout. I also love that you can choose a lighter set of dumbbells and move at a faster pace if you want more cardio. Or you can grab heavier dumbbells and move slower, with extra emphasis on proper form, to make the workout more strength-focused.
  • Free weights are accessible. Almost every gym has a set, or multiple sets, of dumbbells available. Even most hotel gyms have free weights these days.

Which means dumbbell workouts are great for traveling too. Summer is our busiest travel season, and thanks to these free weight exercises I was able to keep up with my fitness routine at our recent Best Western Hotel stays.

We stayed at the Best Western Plus Redondo Beach, California in July and the Best Western Plus Manhattan Beach, California this past weekend. I was impressed with both locations gym facilities {and post-workout breakfast as well}!

In fact, you can see one of my pregnancy-friendly, hotel gym workouts from this past weekend’s stay at the Best Western Plus Manhattan Beach on my Instagram feed here.

Free Weight Exercises | Clean and Press

The Workout: 7 Best Free Weight Exercises for Women

This total body workout uses free weights to strengthen the upper body, lower body and core muscles.

It’s approximately a 20-minute workout if you go up the pyramid, and a 40-minute workout if you come back down the pyramid. Note, this workout is performed in timed intervals. I personally love using the Tabata Pro Timer App on my iPhone.

Equipment: Medium-to-Heavy Pair of Dumbbells. I suggest 8-20 lb dumbbells. I’m pictured using 10 lb dumbbells for this workout.

Instructions: This workout is performed in a stack-on pyramid format. That means you’ll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, adding on moves as you climb up the pyramid.

So it will look like this: 

  • Set 1: Perform Move 1 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 2: Perform Move 1 for 30 seconds + Move 2 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 3: Perform Move 1 for 30 seconds + Move 2 for 30 seconds + Move 3 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.

Continue this stack-on, pyramid format until you complete moves 1 through 7. Then you have the option to go back down the pyramid in reverse order, dropping off Move 1, then Move 2, then Move 3 and so on.

7 Total Body Dumbbell Exercises

Warm Up — I suggest this 5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts.

Workout —  you can see a short video demonstration of each exercise at the top of this post.

  1. Clean and Press 
  2. 2 Pulse Squat + 2 Press Jacks 
  3. Reverse Lunge + Curl + Upright Row
  4. Alternating Lunge Drops 
  5. Push Up + Pass
  6. Lateral Lunge + Balance Press {alternate sides, right and left, each time you perform this exercises}
  7. Glute Bridge + Skull Crusher

Cool Down — I suggest flowing through these 8 Mobility Exercises or this 10 Minute Recovery Flow Yoga.

Clean and Press

clean and press exercise with free weights

2 Pulse Squat + 2 Press Jacks

squat and press jack exercise with dumbbells

Reverse Lunge + Curl + Upright Row

reverse lunge and bicep curl exercise

Alternating Lunge Drops

lunge jumps with dumbbell

Push Up + Pass

push up and dumbbell pass exercise

Lateral Lunge + Balance Press

Lateral Lunge free weight exercise

Glute Bridge + Skull Crusher

Glute Bridge with dumbbells

See the 7 Best Free Weight Exercises for Women workout video at the top of this post for a demonstration of each of these exercises.

If you loved this workout, you should also try my 7 Best Strength Training Exercises for Women, which is one of the most popular posts on the blog {and a workout I filmed during my first pregnancy}! It includes different exercises, but still uses dumbbells for an efficient, total body workout!

You might also enjoy these Pyramid Workouts on the blog:

What I’m Wearing:

Activewear for Pregnancy

This post does include an affiliate links, and I do receive a small commission for items purchased using the above links. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible. 

Pin this Full Body Dumbbell Workout with Free Weights

7 Free Weight Exercises for Women

7 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Women

2 comments
    • Vanessa! I’m so glad you loved this workout, thanks for giving it a try. And there are plenty more ‘killer’ workouts on the blog for you to keep up with. Nice work getting it done and thanks for following along! -Lindsey