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11 Home Dumbbell Workouts For The Isolation Era

I’ve been getting into dumbbell workouts in lockdown.

They’re versatile which means you can attack your fitness in a range of ways,  and take up very little room so you can use them inside or on a deck or balcony. They’re also pretty easy to carry so a trip to the park is simple enough.

Kel and I have been hammering are range of different workouts and managed to keep any boredom that might come with repetition at bay. 

Here are some that have been on rotation.

1. 50 Man Makers For Time

Sooooo….this is a burpee with a renegade row combined with a thruster.

And you want me to do 50 of them. For time.


I had no idea how hard these are when I came up with the idea of doing 50.

Here’s an instructional video if you’ve ever seen one before. [Pro-tip: I would attempt a few of the other workouts before jumping into this one – it will take you to school…properly.]

2. Dumbbell Complex Ladder

Holding your dumbbells you do one rep each of the following exercises, one after the other:

  • Deadlift
  • Hang clean
  • Shoulder press
  • Squat (with DBs in the rack position)
  • Bicep curl

That’s one rep.

You then (ideally) walk 15-20m holding your dumbbells and do all of the above but this time for 2 reps of each exercise. [Don’t worry if you don’t have space to do the walk. It’s just a nice little breather before getting back to work.]

And then walk back and do it x 3.

And so on, all the way up to 10. Or for 12 minutes.

Ain’t gonna lie. This really sucks.


3. Jason Khalipa

I stole this one from CrossFit legend, Jason Khalipa’s instagram page.

It’s a 20 minute EMOM (every minute, on the minute) but really, I wasn’t counting any reps. I was simply surviving.

On the even minutes:  do 30 seconds of burpee deadlifts (with the DBs) into 30 seconds suitcase hold (just stand there holding the dumbbells). Burpee deadlift video HERE

On the odd minutes: 30 seconds of half-burpees into 30 seconds of dumbbell front-rack holds.

Don’t be fooled, just standing around holding dumbbells while fatigued is no fun.


4. 21-15-9 Burpees & Thrusters

Two of the worst exercises ever invented. 

Together. With no rest. In a classic CrossFit rep scheme.

Set the timer and off you go. Tip: pace yourself and breathe – this gets gassy.

[A thruster is a squat into a shoulder press. Not pleasant].


5.100 Dumbbell Snatches 

This is a good old-fashioned burn-out.

Do them in sets of 10 and then switch hands.

If you’re a sucker for punishment switch hands every rep.

Dumbbell snatch explainer video is HERE


6. Dumbbell Complex

5 rounds of 10 reps every 2 minutes:

  • Deadlift
  • Hang clean – explainer video HERE
  • Shoulder press
  • Squat (with DBs in the rack position)
  • Bicep curl

One round should take you about 1:20, giving you 40 seconds rest before going again.


7. 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, 3

Dumbbell snatches (alternating hands)

Burpees over dumbbells

Renegade rows


21 reps of each exercise one after the other. Then straight into 18 of each. Then 15. And so on. Down to 3.

On the burpees, perform your rep and then hop laterally (sideways) over the bell to do the next rep. Demo video HERE


8. The Gun Show

10 reps of:


Shoulder Press

Bicep curls

Rest 45 seconds. 

Then repeat for a total of 5 rounds.


9. 40 / 20 x 10

Absolute doozy of a 10 minuter. 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest per minute of the following:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Shoulder press
  3. Hang cleans
  4. Bicep curls
  5. Squats
  6. Bent-over rows
  7. Tricep extension (drop to a single DB if you need to. I did)
  8. Drag (or Hammer) curls
  9. Good mornings
  10. Push-press

If that’s too much to remember (or write down), just do two rounds of the first five exercises.

If you’re feeling good, rest for 1 minute after the last exercise and then repeat.


10. 10-20-30-40-50 Swings, Squats, Snatches

You’ll need a kettlebell as well as the dumbbells for this one.

10 reps of KB swings, air-squats, dumbbell snatches (alternating hands).

Then 20 of each, then 30 and so on.

This took us 17 minutes with 15kg DBs and a 20kg KB.

If you don’t have a kettlebell, do half the number of burpees.

Get ready to sell your soul on this one, it’s a cracker.


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