Beginner Dumbbell Total Body Workout

It’s January… still.. which means there’s a lot of you out there looking for a new workout plan. If you’re new to hitting the weights, it’s easy to get discouraged when the majority of options out there aren’t ideal for newbies. Although you can find results from these programs, it’s going to be hard to start if you’re feeling lost before you even pick up a set of dumbbells. Doing too much too quickly can also result in injury. And then what? You’re back to square zero.

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Just because you’re new to strength training doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout in! I designed this Beginner Dumbbell Total Body Workout with step-by-step instructions for any fitness level. I’ve also included both modification and more challenging options for beginner to intermediate levels. Want to make this harder? Just pick up heavier weights! The heavier you lift, the more energy you’ll expend (aka calories burned) and the more you’ll need to engage your core (hello defined abs!).

This workout is great for weight room newbies because, one, you can do it in the comfort of your own home, two, they are basic exercises that require less coordination and agility, and three, we’re targeting all your major muscle groups so you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck. If you’re a weight room veteran, they’re also fantastic staples to add to any routine. In fact, I still incorporate the majority of these exercises into my own workouts!

Complete 8 to 15 reps of each exercise. You can take a 15-30 second break in between each exercise or do them back-to-back. Once you’ve completed all the exercise, rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat the sequence (circuit) another one to two times if you can. It’s okay if nothing feels “right” from the start. Practice makes progress in any part of our life. Don’t give up! See it as a challenge you can conquer. I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself :).

Beginner Dumbbell Workout

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Check in with me once you’ve completed the workout on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or in the comment box below! Make sure you tag @life_in_spandex on Instagram or Twitter and @lifeinspandex on Facebook in the photo so I will see it. 🙂 You can also use the hashtag #lifeinspandex in the description!

Health and happiness,


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Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
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  5. Great workout! Thanks for sharing!

  6. This a such a great workout!

  7. This is a great post because when you are a beginner, some of the exercises can be intimidating. I like that this is easy to follow and straight forward. To keep this as part of a long term routine, I just increase the weights as I get stronger, right? Thx much!

    1. Yes, exactly Marie! You want the last two to three reps of each exercise to be challenging.

  8. I’m so happy you shared this great, step-by-step strength training workout! I’ve been wanting to add free weights to my exercise routine, and this one is a great place to start!

    1. This made my day Cait!!! I’m so happy I could help you!

  9. Great exercises. Thanks for the workout.

    1. You’re welcome Bev 🙂

  10. Great tips ! This is a great workout for a starter and even people looking to take it up a notch

  11. This is great beginner workout and I love that you can make it harder with modification or heavier weights as you get stronger 🙂

  12. I’ve been looking for simple workout ideas, thanks for a great post!

    1. You’re so welcome! I’m glad you like it!

  13. Hi Honey, it’s Mom! Very nice motivation from you, and fabulous descriptions of movements. I think I get most of this from Barre, right? I hope so ?

    1. Yes, you get a lot of the same benefits from barre. However, it’s important to lift heavier weights at lower reps some days, too!

  14. Such good stuff for all those people getting in to the healthy fitness groove for the first time in years!!

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