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7 Full Body Resistance Training Exercises (Intense, 50-Minute Pyramid Workout)

Increase strength and maintain muscle mass with these seven full body resistance training exercises. This intense, 50-Minute Full Body Workout uses a set of dumbbells to build muscular endurance at home.


If you’re looking for an intense, total body workout at home with dumbbells — try these 7 resistance training exercises! 

This full body dumbbell workout focuses on powerful, full body strength training with dumbbells. And it’s done in our ‘stack-on’ pyramid format — so work time increases with minimal rest between exercises.

This workout has been named the most challenging on the blog. It has multiple “holy bananas” AND a new phrase: “holy banana boats!” If you’re up for a challenge, you’re going to LOVE this intense, full body workout! 

Resistance Training | Dumbbell Burpee

Resistance Training Exercises FAQs

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance training is moving your body against some form of resistance. That could be: your bodyweight, resistance bands, free weights (like dumbbells), barbells, kettlebells or medicine balls. Resistance training is strength training!

What Are The Benefits Of Resistance Training Exercises?

Resistance training exercises help you build and maintain muscle mass. These exercises will also help you lose weight, boost your resting metabolic rate (or the rate at which your body burns calories), improve bone health, enhance balance, coordination and posture, and decrease your risk of injury.

Why Are Resistance Training Exercises Important For Women?

Weight training helps women see the ‘toned’ results they often strive for. Building muscle through weight training is important for injury prevention (we start losing muscle mass at age 30). Training with resistance is also one of the few ways we can make our bones stronger — which is especially important for women who are more likely to get osteoporosis during their lifetime (TIME).

best resistance training exercises for women, squats

50-Minute Home Workout: Full Body Resistance Training Pyramid Workout

This full body workout is one that anyone can do at home with just a few sets of weights or dumbbells.

It’s an intense resistance training workout, but I’ll provide modifications for all fitness levels.

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

Workout Equipment:

Medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells.

I recommend 8-20 lb dumbbells. I’m using 15 lb dumbbells for all 7 resistance training exercises.

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woman performing a dumbbell press out in a total body HIIT workout at home

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the Full Body Pyramid Workout on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 7 Full Body Exercises
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest; complete as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval)
  • Pyramid Format (we’ll add on moves as we work “up” the pyramid, and then drop off moves as we work our way back “down” the pyramid)

A Pyramid Format Looks Like This: 

  • Set 1: Perform move 1 for 30 seconds (as many reps as you can), followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 2: Perform move 1 for 30 seconds and then move 2 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 3: Perform move 1 for 30 seconds, and then move 2 for 30 seconds, and then  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.

Trainer Tip: This is an intense, 50-minute total body workout. If you’re a beginner or short on time, you can make this a 25-minute workout by climbing up the pyramid and not coming back down (stopping halfway through).

Workout Outline

  1. Dumbbell Squat Hold, Press Out and Overhead Press
  2. Dumbbell Burpee
  3. Push Up and Kneeling Push Press
  4. Alternating Reverse Lunge Hold and Bicep Curl
  5. Lateral Jump and Dumbbell Snatch
  6. Dumbbell Deadlift and Narrow Squat
  7. Plank Launcher and Alternating Dumbbell Row
woman performing a front punch as part of full body resistance training

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Pyramid Workout

7 Resistance Training Exercises

Dumbbell Squat Hold, Press Out And Overhead Press

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, back, shoulders and core.

woman performing a squat hold and dumbbell press out in a full body workout at home

How To Do A Squat Hold, Press Out And Overhead Press

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing straight ahead or slightly angled out away from the body.
  2. Hold one dumbbell at your chest and exhale to engage your core. With your weight in your heels, sit your hips back.
  3. Lower your hips down, parallel with your knees. Hold at the bottom of your squat.
  4. While in this squat hold, press the dumbbell out away from your body.
  5. Then pull the dumbbell back towards your chest and drive through your heels to stand tall as you press the dumbbell overhead.

Modification: Drop the dumbbell and perform this squat hold and press out movement as a bodyweight exercise.

Dumbbell Burpee

Targets: Total body — legs, hip flexors, calves, arms, shoulders, back, abs and core.

This exercise is often used as a fitness test marker. Repeat this exercise weekly to lose fat, add muscle, and become more athletic.

woman performing a dumbbell burpee in a total body resistance training workout

How To Do A Dumbbell Burpee

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, or a little wider. Hold two dumbbells at your hips.
  2. Engage your core and lower your hips down to the bottom of a squat as you place the dumbbells on the ground between your feet.
  3. Step or jump both feet back to a high plank position. Make a straight line with your body from head to feet.
  4. Pause for a moment, then in one explosive movement, jump both feet forward and land just outside your hands or dumbbells.
  5. You should land in a deep squat from which you explosively stand up, pulling the dumbbells up.

Modification: Step back to plank and walk your feet back into the bottom of the low squat instead of jumping back and jumping in. You can also perform bodyweight sprawls without dumbbells.

Push Up And Kneeling Push Press

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and core muscles.

woman performing 4 push ups and 4 push presses in a full body workout at home

How To Do A Push Up To Kneeling Push Press

  1. Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly, feet hip-width apart. Option to place your hands on weights if you have wrist pain.
  2. Hold this plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides).
  4. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position. Repeat to complete four push ups.
  5. Then press back into a kneeling position with the dumbbells front racked at your shoulders. Neutral grip, palms facing in.
  6. Lower your hips slightly back towards your heels, then drive up, powerfully pressing your hips forward and pressing the dumbbells overhead. Lock out your elbows, biceps by ears. Repeat to complete four push presses.

Modification: If you’re struggling to perform the push ups with good form on your toes; modify by dropping to the knees. Or try using a chair or bench to perform an incline push up.

Alternating Reverse Lunge Hold And Bicep Curl

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

A great exercise to improve balance, hip mobility and core strength.

woman performing an alternating reverse lunge and bicep curl in a full body workout at home

How To Do A Reverse Lunge Hold And Bicep Curl

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Step your right leg back into a reverse lunge, lowering your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, front thigh parallel to the floor. Hold at the bottom of your lunge.
  3. While holding the reverse lunge, perform a bicep curl by pulling the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. Hold at the top to contract the bicep muscles. Then lower the dumbbells back down towards your sides, slow and controlled.
  4. Squeeze your front leg glute, driving your back, right leg forward as you stand up back to the starting position.

Modification: Option to omit the alternating lunge and perform standing bicep curls.

Lateral Jump And Dumbbell Snatch

Targets: Legs, hips, posterior chain, back, shoulders and core.

Lateral jumps increase coordination and improve stability in the hips, knees and feet joints.

woman performing a lateral jump and dumbbell snatch for strength and agility

How To Do A Lateral Jump And Dumbbell Snatch

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, or a little wider. Place a dumbbell horizontally on the ground in front of you.
  2. Engage your core and lower your hips down to the bottom of a squat. Maintain this loaded squat stance as you push off your right leg to jump laterally to the left.
  3. Land softly in the loaded squat position and laterally jump back to center (push off your left leg to jump laterally to the right).
  4. At the bottom of your squat reach for the dumbbell on the ground in front of you with your right hand.
  5. In one explosive movement, drive your hips forward as you lift the weight up with your arm (using the momentum created by your legs and hips).
  6. As the dumbbell reaches shoulder height, quickly flip your elbow underneath the weight and press it overhead, locking out your elbow (arm straight overhead with bicep by ear). Note, you shouldn’t struggle to press the weight overhead, it should be an easy extension of the move, with the majority of the work being done by your legs to create momentum.
  7. With control lower the dumbbell back to the ground.

Modification: If the snatch is too complex, remove it and perform side-to-side lateral jumps or steps.

Dumbbell Deadlift And Narrow Squat 

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

woman performing a dumbbell deadlift and narrow squat in a resistance training workout at home

How To Do A Dumbbell Deadlift And Narrow Squat

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing your body.
  2. Hinge at your hips with your knees slightly bent to lower the dumbbells down towards your knees/shins. Think of pushing your butt back towards the wall behind you while keeping a flat back and neutral neck. Dumbbells stay close to the body.
  3. Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand straight up; completing the dumbbell deadlift.
  4. From here, take the dumbbells to your sides and lower your hips down, parallel with your knees, performing a narrow squat.
  5. Again drive through your heels to stand tall.

Modification: If the narrow stance doesn’t feel good for your knees, simply perform dumbbell deadlifts.

Plank Launcher And Alternating Row

Targets: Middle and upper back muscles, shoulders, arms and core.

woman performing a plank and row for building strength

How To Do A Plank Launcher And Alternating Row

  1. Start in a high plank position with one hand on each dumbbell. Hold this position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  2. From this plank position, engage your core as you push your hips back towards your heels; bending at the knees. Then explosively drive your body back into plank position (nose to fingertips).
  3. Hold high plank and pull your right elbow back towards your hip, performing a plank and row.
  4. Repeat the launcher motion pressing your hips back towards your heels and explosively returning to plank. Then perform a plank and row on the left arm.

Modification: Remove the explosive launcher movement and perform a plank and row from your knees or toes.

Pin this Workout: The 7 Best Resistance Training Exercises

Full Body Resistance Training HIIT Workout

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  1. This was holy banana boat hard!! 😜😆😆 thanks for the awesome workout and motivating us to be stronger!

  2. Holy Banana Boat is right! Fantastic workout, I agree it’s the hardest on the blog. I’ve been doing your workouts for over a year now and I love them! Your calendars are great because I don’t like deciding what workout to do. Thank you so much Lindsey!

  3. This is a fantastic workout! Challenging but doable which is exactly what I was looking for. Love that you gave the list as well as the quick referral vids to properly execute each move. I had so much fun and didn’t realize I burned 572 calories and did 4 sets in 1 hour. I love it when I am having fun while breaking a sweat! Thank you!!

  4. Hi Lindsey! I discovered your blog back in June when I was struggling with my strength training. I always hated strength training which I started to help with training for the Brighton marathon. But since June I have been working out with you three times a week and actually love it now! You smashed it with this one! Hope you are feeling better.

  5. Hi Lindsey, that workout was your hardest yet. I had to take a few longer breaks towards the end to finsih it and still my legs were shaking at the end. Thanks for putting these workouts together, they keep me motivated. When I want to quit or drop to a lighter weigth I always hear you in my head saying go heavy and you can do anything for whatever time is left.

  6. I love your full-length videos! You are so encouraging, and I feel extra motivated when you’re telling me what to do and for how long. Thank you for the time you put into making these videos.

    • Tawny! Thank you so much for the feedback, always love to hear from the women doing the workouts! So glad you’re loving the full-length workout videos (they’re my favorite to film too)! Thank you so much for following along and giving the workouts a try! -Lindsey