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How to Get a Complete Workout With One Set of Dumbbells

We’ll show you how to work your whole body with just two weights -- seriously.

Strength training builds muscle, burns calories and speeds up your metabolism -- so why isn’t everyone doing it? Many people are intimidated by all the weight machines at the gym or don’t want to spend the money to hire a trainer or join a gym. But we’re here to tell you that you can get the same results using just two dumbbells. Just incorporate these total-body moves into your regular cardio routine and a slimmer, stronger you is just around the corner.

Tip: Most people are a lot stronger than they think, so when you buy your weights, go up a level. So if you think five-pound weights are about right, go up to eight pounds. You’ll get better results by challenging your muscles more. Eventually you can build up to more reps and/or heavier weights.

1. Butt/Calf/Bicep/Shoulder Blaster
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, your body weight in your heels. Hold the dumbbells down by your sides. Bend your knees and squat down. Then as you straighten back up, do a bicep curl with the weights. Finish by standing all the way up onto your tiptoes as you lift the weights straight up over your head. Do three sets of ten repetitions each.

2. Weighted Sit-Ups (Works Both Abs and Arms)
Sit down on the floor with your knees together in front of you and feet flat on the ground. Hold one of the weights (with one hand on each end) straight out in front of you. Lower yourself down into a sit-up, then come back up, holding the weight aloft the entire time. Do three sets of fifteen repetitions each.

Bonus Move: Every other time you come back up into a sit-up, twist to either the right or left side, working your obliques.

3. Weighted Dips
Find a bench and stand in front of it with your feet flat on the ground, knees slightly bent and one of the weights in your lap. Place your hands behind you on the bench, with your elbows close together, so they point straight back. Bend your arms, lowering yourself down and straightening back up. Do three sets of fifteen repetitions each.

Bonus Move: When you’re finished doing dips, step up and down on the bench at a brisk pace, holding the weights by your side. Alternate leading with each leg for a minute, then resting for a minute and leading with the other leg.

4. Deadlifts With Tricep Burn
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders back (no hunching!), holding the weights in front of your thighs. Your knees should be bent slightly so as to avoid strain. Bend at the waist lowering your chest toward the ground until the weights almost touch the ground in front of you. Then slowly lift yourself up, stopping halfway up to do a tricep kickback (extend both your arms straight behind you). Do three sets of ten repetitions each.

5. Wood-Chopper
Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, with your left toes pivoted in toward your body and your right foot pivoted slightly out toward the right, holding one dumbbell in your right hand and nothing in your left. Reach up and twist to the right with both hands, so you’re holding the weight with both hands now. Pivot and bend down to touch the weights to the ground on the outside of your left foot. Repeat ten times. Switch to the opposite side. Repeat ten times.

Nestpert: Leanne Shear is a writer, personal trainer and life coach. You can read more about her at LeanneShear.com.

-- Samantha Leal