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!
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).
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.
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).
Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, back, shoulders and core.
How To Do A Squat Hold, Press Out And Overhead Press
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing straight ahead or slightly angled out away from the body.
Hold one dumbbell at your chest and exhale to engage your core. With your weight in your heels, sit your hips back.
Lower your hips down, parallel with your knees. Hold at the bottom of your squat.
While in this squat hold, press the dumbbell out away from your body.
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.
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.
How To Do A Dumbbell Burpee
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, or a little wider. Hold two dumbbells at your hips.
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.
Step or jump both feet back to a high plank position. Make a straight line with your body from head to feet.
Pause for a moment, then in one explosive movement, jump both feet forward and land just outside your hands or dumbbells.
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.
How To Do A Push Up To Kneeling Push Press
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.
Hold this plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides).
Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position. Repeat to complete four push ups.
Then press back into a kneeling position with the dumbbells front racked at your shoulders. Neutral grip, palms facing in.
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.
How To Do A Reverse Lunge Hold And Bicep Curl
Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
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.
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.
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.
How To Do A Lateral Jump And Dumbbell Snatch
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, or a little wider. Place a dumbbell horizontally on the ground in front of you.
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.
Land softly in the loaded squat position and laterally jump back to center (push off your left leg to jump laterally to the right).
At the bottom of your squat reach for the dumbbell on the ground in front of you with your right hand.
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).
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.
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.
How To Do A Dumbbell Deadlift And Narrow Squat
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing your body.
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.
Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand straight up; completing the dumbbell deadlift.
From here, take the dumbbells to your sides and lower your hips down, parallel with your knees, performing a narrow squat.
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.
How To Do A Plank Launcher And Alternating Row
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.
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).
Hold high plank and pull your right elbow back towards your hip, performing a plank and row.
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
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