4 Muscle Building Exercises You Can Do With A Single Dumbbell

I love simple, effective workouts. Perhaps it’s the fact that I want my workouts to be an opportunity to rest my mind and get more in tune with my body. The less equipment, the better. Easier set up? I’m in! A super effective, challenging total body workout with a single dumbbell? Yessss, please.

But of course, I still want my workouts to help me build muscle. If you’re like me and more likely to get into your workout gear when you know your workout will be quick, effective and easy in terms of set up and execution, then the following exercises are for you.

Here are 4 of my favourite muscle building exercises using only one single dumbbell:


Paused Goblet Squat

Strengthens quads, glutes, core.

Equipment: Dumbbell

Cues: Hold dumbbell in goblet position at collarbone with elbows tucked in and torso in a stacked (ribs over hips) position. Position feet slightly wider than hips, toes turned out slightly. Sit down into a squat allowing knees to track in the direction of middle toes. Pause at the bottom of the squat, allowing more tension to build up in the legs and core muscles. Press feet firmly into ground and return to initial standing position.

Watch video HERE.



One Arm Row

Strengthens rhomboids (mid-back muscles), posterior deltoids (back of shoulders), biceps, core.

Equipment: Dumbbell

Cues:  Set up your stance first, this is at least half the work of this move. Stagger feet with one in front of the other, about hip width distance apart. Hinge at hips with a neutral spine. Use your free hand to rest on your front knee. Imagine your feet and free hand are like a tripod, giving your body tons of support. Pull the dumbbell up towards your torso, keeping your elbow close to your ribcage. This move is half about maintaining the strong position of your body and half about rowing the dumbbell up to your torso.

Watch video HERE.



Side Lunge + Raise

Strengthens quads, glutes, adductors (inner thigh muscles), anterior deltoids (muscles at the front of shoulder), core.

Equipment: Dumbbell

Cues: Begin by taking a large lateral step out to the side. Transfer weight to the outside leg in a lateral lunge. Don’t be afraid to stick your butt out here! Imagine your hips are being pulled to the back. Bring the dumbbell down towards the inside of your knee. Keep the inside leg quite straight. Press off the outside leg and raise the dumbbell up overhead with straight arms, being aware of not popping up through the ribcage.

Watch video HERE.



Weighted Hip Lift

Strengthens glutes and hamstrings.

Equipment: Dumbbell and mat.

Cues: Rest dumbbell on the front of your hips and low belly. Engage glutes and press heels into the ground to lift hips up towards ceiling. Think of lifting up from the pelvis rather than from your belly button. Keep ribs tacked down, pointing towards hip bones rather than popping upwards.

Watch video HERE.



Add the exercises above into your workouts by starting with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions. When paired with consistent strength training and balanced, healthy eating habits you’ll be seeing more muscle definition in no time.



A great way to get consistent with your fitness goals is to have a little help! Join my best-selling home strength training program, the 8 Week Muscle Makeover.

The 8 Week Muscle Makeover is a structured, effective workout plan that can be done at home. The program includes coaching videos of every exercise, printable workout sheets, a private Facebook community and much more.


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