Image by: markus spiske
By MacKenzie Nelson-Greene
Ladies, you went out and bought that dumbbell set. It is so cute with its pinks and greens. It matches your style. Now it is time for that dumbbell set to match your workout.
Dumbbells are great tools to help you enhance any workout you do. They don’t just strengthen your arms. They can also help you work other areas of your body by putting more attention on the areas you want to work on.
So, dust off that old dumbbell set, or just open the one you recently purchased and get sweating with these three different workouts you can do to get in shape for bikini season.
Let’s start by working the core. We want our tummies toned and flat, and the best way to do that is to focus our exercises on our core.
It is best to keep your weights smaller when you start, because you don’t want to strain any muscles including those in your back and legs (which you can do if you overwork with weight sets.
So, start your core workout with the weighted foot reach. This one looks simple, but it burns (oh yes, it burns!). Lay on your back, and lift your legs as high as you can. Use one dumbbell and hold it in both hands. Extend your arms (but don’t lock your elbows), and reach the weight toward your toes. Try three sets of ten, resting for fifteen seconds between sets.
Next, try the weighted bench kick outs. Sit on a weight bench, a sturdy chair, or at the end of the couch. Hold the sides of your bench, lean back, and place a single dumbbell between your feet. Bring your knees to your chest, and then extend your legs as far as you can. This is going to work your tummy like you have never worked your tummy before. Again, do three sets of ten of these with a lower weighted dumbbell to start (you can always up your sets or weights later on).
Next, try some weighted cross punches. Lay in crunch position, and use one dumbbell at a time. First reach your left arm across to your right knee. After three sets of ten of those, switch to your right arm crossing to your left knee. This is really going to work the sides of your abs. For these exercises, you don’t have to sit all the way up.
Check out this instructional video for technique and a visual of these workouts:
#2) Butt & Legs
Toning your butt and thighs can be very difficult. Using a dumbbell can help you tone these areas faster with better results than simple squats.
It’s best to warm up by doing some backward lunges. Stand in place and kick one leg back, stepping into it. This is going to warm up your glutes and thighs while it loosens your knees and ankles.
Begin your exercises using smaller dumbbells with your standard lunges. Stand straight, and hold the dumbbells in relaxed arms. As you pull back into the lunge, keep your arms and the dumbbells straight. Remember that you are just trying to add tension to your workouts. Try three sets of twenty of these alternating legs.
Rest for twenty seconds, then begin your side step lunges. Hold your dumbbells in the same manner as the standard lunges. However, for this exercise, as you step from one side to the other, bring the dumbbells down and then back up. Think of it as though you are picking something up and putting it back down. Make sure you keep your back straight so you don’t twist anything important. Additionally, make sure that you do the same amount of lunges in each direction to ensure that you are keeping your muscle strengthening even.
The next one is a little tough, especially after you have tried the last two. Use a bench, a step stool, or a stepper to do weighted steps. For this exercise, it is best to begin with smaller steps. You don’t want to step up onto a chair if you have never done these before. Hold the dumbbells at your sides and step up with one foot, bring your second foot up, and step back down. Do three sets of ten of this exercise with each foot as the stepper. This is a great way to tone your butt. As you use more advanced stepping, the higher you step the more you will lift your glutes.
For technique and inspiration, check out the first four exercises on this instructional video:
I don’t know about you, ladies, but arm fat is the most difficult thing for me to lose. Dumbbells are great for this, because they strengthen your arm muscles and burn fat where it is most difficult to burn.
Start by warming up your shoulders by pulling your dumbbells straight out from your waist. Next, hold the dumbbells so they are over your head, your elbows should be parallel with your shoulders; push the dumbbells straight up.
Next, it is time to work the triceps. These muscles are the hardest to get rid of the fat. I lovingly call my triceps my “wings” because they can get a little flappy if I don’t spend time on them.
Bend your knees, bend a little at the waist, and keep your weights at your hips. Pull the weights back and up. Next, grab one weight, and hold it over your head with both hands. Bend your elbows back and pull the weight up straight over your head. You will feel the burn with this one.
Next, work your biceps by doing standard curls. Hold the weights in front of you, and bend your elbow up toward you. Switch it up with inside curls. Keep your elbows close to your waist for this one. Try fifteen of these on each arm with a three-pound weight.
To see what these exercises look like, check out the first half of this instructional video (you may even want to try all of the exercises on this video, as Kelsey has a lot of energy to get you motivated):
Dumbbells are a great way to boost your workout and burn fat. It takes much less time to work out with dumbbells, because the extra weight helps add to your burn. What are some of your favorite workouts with dumbbells? Share with us in the comments below!