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25-Minute Single Dumbbell Workout (Full Body Strength)

Build total body strength with this efficient single dumbbell workout. I love this workout for days I’m feeling sluggish or unmotivated – it’s a fun and effective way to workout at home without access to tons of space or equipment. Compound, single dumbbell exercises target multiple muscles at once, hitting every major muscle group in the body in under 30 minutes.

On days I’m feeling unmotivated to workout, I gravitate towards single dumbbell workouts.

Something about one dumbbell workouts just feel more achievable to me when I’m struggling to get in the right headspace to workout. That’s part of the reason many of my pregnancy workouts (such as this one dumbbell HIIT workout) only use one weight.

In addition to being mentally motivating, one dumbbell workouts have many physical benefits.

Single dumbbell exercises allow us to focus on unilateral (single-sided) movements. In my opinion, this is the best way to both functionally train the core and address any muscle imbalances that may exist between a dominant and weaker side.

This type of workout is a form of functional strength training, as it also mimics many of our real-life motions, such as reaching with one arm, carrying a load of groceries, or holding a baby on one hip.

two women demonstrating a single dumbbell workout snatch exercise

25-Minute Single Dumbbell Workout

Build total body strength and definition with these eight single dumbbell exercises.

A complete strength workout targeting every muscle group: the upper body (arms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and chest), lower body (quads, thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and calves) and core.

Add full body workouts like this one to your home strength training program 1-2 times per week to build and maintain strength.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Single Dumbbell Workout Routine on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 8 Single Dumbbell Exercises
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds work per exercise, followed by 20 seconds rest)
  • Repeat All 8 Exercises x 2 Sets

Workout Equipment:

One Dumbbell. I recommend between 5-25 lbs depending on your fitness level. We used 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in today’s workout.

two women performing a lateral lunge with a single dumbbell

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Full Body Workout

Workout Outline

  1. Kang Squat
  2. Single Arm Snatch and Shoulder Press
  3. Uneven Front Squat and Reverse Lunge
  4. Lateral Lunge and Single Arm Row
  5. Squat, Bicep Curl, Shoulder Press and Overhead Tricep Extension
  6. Plank, Dumbbell Drag and Knee Crunch
  7. Dumbbell Pullover and Single Arm Chest Press
  8. Seated Twist and Leg Extension

4 Single Dumbbell Exercises

Kang Squat

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, erector spinae, lower back and core muscles.

The Kang squat is a deadlift and squat combination that provides a great way to improve your hip-hinge form while also challenging the posterior chain.

two women demonstrating a kang squat as part of a single dumbbell workout

How To Do Kang Squats

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider, core engaged. Place one dumbbell horizontally on your upper back, holding one head of the dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the ground (this is a good morning). Core is engaged and spine is neutral (back flat). You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings (back of the legs) at the bottom of the movement.
  3. Then lower down into a squat, pushing your hips back and down until your hips align with your knees (making a 90-degree angle with your hips and knees). Knees push out towards your outer three toes.
  4. Reverse the movement, driving through your heels to stand halfway, returning to the bottom of the good morning position (back flat), then fully stand tall, returning to the starting position (torso upright).

Modification: hold a dumbbell between your legs if placing the dumbbell on your upper back is uncomfortable.

Lateral Lunge and Back Row

Targets: Gluteus medius (the outer part of your butt used for side-to-side movements), quads, hamstrings, hip adductors and abductors, hip flexors, calves, back, biceps and core.

two women performing a lateral lunge and single arm back row

How To Do Lateral Lunges and Single Arm Dumbbell Rows

  1. Stand with your feet under hips, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Step your left leg out to the side as you push your hips back, bending your left knee while leaving your right leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your left leg. Knees and toes are pointing forward.
  3. Hold at the bottom of the lateral lunge, then pull your right elbow back towards your right hip, performing a single arm row. With control, lower the dumbbell back to starting position. Repeat, performing three single arm dumbbell rows.
  4. Then, drive off your right foot to reverse the movement, stepping back to center.

Squat, Bicep Curl, Shoulder Press and Overhead Tricep Extension

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, arms, biceps, shoulders and core.

One of the best compound exercises, targeting every muscle in the body using just one dumbbell.

two women performing a compund single dumbbell exercise - a squat, bicep curl, shoulder press and tricep extension

How To Do Squats, Bicep Curls, Shoulder Presses and Tricep Extensions

  1. Start in a standing position, feet shoulder width apart, knees bent. Hold one dumbbell horizontally between your hands.
  2. Sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, striving for a 90-degree angle between your hips and knees. Lower the dumbbell to the ground between your legs.
  3. Then, press through your heels to stand tall, curling the dumbbell up to your chest as you stand. Think of powering the movement with your legs rather than your upper body.
  4. Then, brace your core as you press the dumbbell straight overhead, wrists stacked over shoulders, elbows by your ears.
  5. Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head, then squeeze through the backs of your arms to straighten the elbows, performing an overhead tricep extension.
  6. Slowly and with control, reverse the movement, first lowering the dumbbell to your chest, then between your legs as you squat, returning to starting position.

Dumbbell Pullover and Single Arm Chest Press

Targets: The lats (latissimus dorsi), chest (pectorals), shoulders (deltoids) and core.

The dumbbell pullover is one of the only dumbbell exercises that targets the same muscles as pull ups. This is a great exercise to include if you don’t have access to a pull up bar or while you’re building upper body strength to do pull ups.

two women performing dumbbell pullovers and single arm chest presses with one dumbbell

How To Do Dumbbell Pullovers and Single Arm Chest Presses

  1. Lay flat on your back with legs bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand (palm facing knees), right elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Exhale as you push the dumbbell overhead; dumbbell stacked over your right shoulder at the top of the press. Make sure your wrist is strong and in line with your shoulder.
  3. Lower the dumbbell back towards your chest with control, completing a single arm chest press. Repeat twice more, performing three single arm chest presses.
  4. Then, hold the dumbbell at the top of the press, stacked over your right shoulder. Bring your left hand to meet your right, grasping the dumbbell with both hands.
  5. Keeping your arms straight with a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the weight behind your head until your arms are parallel to the floor.
  6. Exhale to slowly lift the weight back up to the starting position by squeezing your chest muscles and pulling the weight back up over your chest. Keep your arms straight as you lift the weight.

Single Dumbbell Workout FAQs

Can I Workout With Only 1 Dumbbell?

Single dumbbell workouts are a convenient way to exercise at home without the need for expensive equipment or a lot of space. Additionally, single dumbbell workouts improve balance, coordination and core stability. That makes One Dumbbell Ab Workouts especially effective.

What Exercises Can I Do With One Dumbbell?

Some of the most popular single dumbbell exercises include squats, single arm back rows, overhead presses, lunges, single arm bicep curls, and tricep extensions. You can also slightly modify traditional gym exercises to work with just one dumbbell (for example, substituting a goblet squat for a barbell back squat).

Pin This Workout: Single Dumbbell Workout (Full Body Strength)

woman performing single arm back row

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  1. Great Workout! One of my favs! Thank you Lindsey and Rachel! You’re my girls! Hope you’re having a great day!