Dumbbells Do the Trick

A couple of inexpensive hand-weights can fill your winter with workouts

Shannon Simmons does a few of the exercises you can try at home.
Shannon Simmons does a few of the exercises you can try at home.

I don’t know why it isn’t a compliment to be called a dumbbell. Not only are these weights adaptable to multiple different indoor exercises; they also provide the extra level of challenge you need to continue to progress through the winter months with an indoor workout. They’re cheap and easy to store even in a small apartment. What more do you want?

To get started, buy a pair of 10- to 15-pound dumbbells if you’re a woman, and 20- to 25-pound dumbbells if you’re a man. Here’s the cool thing: The amount of weight is flexible because you can increase your workout with less rest and more reps if the weight is too light. Or you can go with fewer reps and more rest if the weight is too challenging.

Don’t forget to include some element of accountability in your program. Whether you invite a friend to “BYOW” — bring your own weights — for a fun-filled exercise session, take part in a weekly accountability group, keep a fitness journal or get some support with online groups, you’re more likely to keep up with your training if you make yourself accountable.

Once you’ve got your equipment and made the mental commitment to set aside the time to exercise, here’s a great routine you can do in pretty much any room of your house. You’ll mix a variety of exercises, using the dumbbells with some and just your body weight with others to get a combined effect of cardio and strength training.


1) Dumbbell Burpee: Start in a squat position, hands on the dumbbells on the floor. Kick your feet back while lowering yourself into a pushup; quickly return to the squat position while pushing up with your arms. Finish by leaping up out of the squat.

2) Dumbbell Lunge and Curl: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, and step into a lunge until your back knee nearly touches the floor; return to starting position while curling the dumbbells. Finish by rotating your arms out and pressing the dumbbells up over your head. Switch legs and repeat.

3) Dumbbell Side Plank: Hold your body in a straight line from head to feet with one hand on the floor, the other overhead holding a dumbbell. Hold your position for 10 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

4) Dumbbell Squat and Press: Start with dumbbells at shoulder height, then squat down, keeping your back arched, until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Press up out of the squat as you push the dumbbells over your head. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height and repeat.

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