Wednesday 18 December 2013

Dumbbell-Only Home Gym Training Routine

Some people for a variety of reasons choose to do all their training at home. Others prefer to train in a regular gym, but find themselves stuck without access to a full training facility from time to time. While I'm a huge fan of barbells, a fantastic, cost-effective, space-efficient option for home training is a set of adjustable dumbbells (note: I would still encourage the purchase of a barbell set if at all possible). To help maximize your home-training results, here is a complete sample athletic-based training program that you can do in the privacy and convenience of your own home with a pair of adjustable dumbbells.
While no replacement for the barbell, adjustable dumbbells
can provide you with a solid training session
Warning: this is a sample program and may not be appropriate for you. Adapt as needed. Consult your physician before starting this or any exercise program. Those with injuries, medical conditions or movement dysfunctions will likely need this program modified for their individual needs. 

A few notes on the program:
  • DB = dumbbell
  • Training variables: sets x reps (e.g. 3x8 = 3 sets of 8 reps)
  • Same number with different letter = exercise pairing (e.g. 3a, 3b = do a set of 3a exercise, rest as indicated, do a set of 3b, rest, repeat for desired number of sets)
  • Having a pair of PowerBlocks or a similar product allows for faster weight changes. This program was designed for those with your basic adjustable dumbbells so that you did not have to change weights within the same exercise pairing.
  • Adjust sets and reps within the range:
    • Pressed for time - lower sets
    • Gain muscle easy or want just strength - low range of sets and reps
    • Trying to lose fat - middle range of sets & reps, higher range of conditioning sets at the end and proper eating (for more information on fat loss, check out my new ebook Athletic Training for Fat Loss)
    • Trying to gain muscle: use higher range of sets and reps, minimal to no conditioning at the end and eat big!
Start with a dynamic warm-up. I have several examples and ideas on my YouTube Channel for you to choose from. 

1) Body Weight or DB Squat Jumps: 3x5, 60 sec rest

2) DB 11/4 Split Squat: 2-4x6-8, rest 30 sec between legs

3a) 1-Arm DB Press: 2-4x6-8, rest 10-20 sec between arms and between rows

3b) 1-Arm DB Row (elbow in with supination): 2-4x8-10, rest 10-20 sec between arms and between presses. If you have a chin-up bar, you can replace this with neutral grip pull-upspull-ups or chin-ups.

4a) DB Romanian Deadlift (single leg or double leg): 2-4x7-9, rest 30 seconds (20 sec between legs if doing the single leg version)

4b) Push-Ups: 2-4xmax reps, rest 30 sec (elevate feet if needed), press off of dumbbells for wrist comfort

5a) DB Ab Wheel Rollouts: 2-3x8-10, 20-30sec rest

5b) 1-Arm DB Row (elbow out): 2-3x(do at least as many total row reps as you did push-up reps previously), 10sec rest between each arm and 5a 

6) Optional Conditioning Ideas: 
  • Bin Pushes: 4-6 room lengths = 1 set. Do 5-10 sets with 1-2min rest between sets
  • Outdoor Sprints: (if weather & neighborhood are suitable). Do 5-10 x 20-40meter sprints
  • Jump Rope Skipping: 10 min total time. Do 20-30 sec on, 20-30 sec off or just try to do as many skips as you can in 30 seconds.
Here is a video of all the exercises in the program:


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