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Total Body Strength Circuit with Dumbbells 2

This total body workout is part of my 4 Week Ramp It Up Exercise Program, and a sequel to the Total Body Strength with Dumbbells. This rendition of the workout includes new, more challenging exercises to take your body to the next level. There are a variety of compound exercises targeting all the major muscle groups - Hips, glutes, thighs, chest, back, shoulders and arms. Do this workout 2-3 non-consecutive days a week for a strong, fit body.

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed
Various weighted dumbbells, a medicine ball (optional) and a chair or bench

How To

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
  • Do each exercise for 12-16 reps, one after the other with very short rests in a circuit format
  • Complete one circuit for a shorter, less intense workout, or complete up to three circuits if you're more advanced
  • Rest about 1 minute between circuits
  • Use enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps. More about how to choose your weight

Squat w/ Overhead Press

Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold weights over the shoulders.  Keeping the abs engaged, bend the knees and lower into a squat, sending the hips back. Push into the heels as you stand up and push the weights overhead. Lower the weights back to the shoulders and repeat for 12 reps.
Suggested Weight: 5-12 lbs for women, 8-20 lbs for men.


Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and hold weights in front of the thighs. Using the hip hinge technique, tip from the hips with the back flat, shoulders back and abs in. Keeping a slight bend in the knees, lower the weights down, keeping them very close to your legs, as low as you can go. If you find your shoulders rounding forward, you may be going too low. Stop further up on the legs to avoid losing that straight back. Squeeze the glutes as you stand up and repeat for 12 reps.
Suggested Weight: 10-20 lbs for women, 15-30 lbs for men.
Alt DB Rows
alternating row
Bend at the waist, back flat and parallel to the floor with weights hanging down. Bend the right elbow and pull the weight up to the torso in a rowing motion. Lower and repeat on the other side. Alternate sides for 12 reps.
Suggested Weight: 8-15 lbs for women, 12-25 lbs for men.
Front/Rear Lunges
front rear lungeFront Reverse LungeFront Reverse Lunge
Start with feet together, holding weights. Step the left leg forward into a lunge, taking the back knee straight down towards the floor. Step back to start and then take the same leg back into a reverse lunge. Repeat, going front and back, for 12 reps and then switch sides.
Suggested Weight: 5-10 lbs for women, 8-20 lbs for men.
Overhead Press on One Leg

Stand on both legs, holding weights just above the shoulders. Lift one leg off the ground, find your balance and hold that position as you press the weights overhead and back down. Repeat for 6 reps, then switch legs and do the remaining 6 reps.
Suggested Weight: 8-12 lbs for women, 10-20 lbs for men.
Side to Side Lunge Med Ball

Stand with feet wide, toes out at about a 45-degree angle and hold the medicine ball (optional) or dumbbell at chest level. Lunge to the right, sending the hips back and sitting back on the right heel while reaching the ball towards the floor - keep the back straight here (no rounding). Push into the heel to stand up, bringing the weight back to the chest and do the move on the other side. Repeat for 12 reps. One rep is a lunge to the right and left.
Suggested Weight: 4-12 lb med ball or dumbbell for women, 10-20 lb dumbbell or med ball for men.
Wide Squat with Hammer Curls

Take the legs wide, toes out at a slight angle, weights in each hand with palms facing each other. Lower into a squat, as low as you can go, keeping knees in line with toes. Feel a stretch in the inner thighs. Press through the heels to stand up while curling the weights into a hammer curl. Lower and repeat for 12 reps
Suggested Weight: 5-15 lbs for women, 15-30 lbs for men.
Modified Pushups or Toe Pushups

On the hands and knees (modified), or toes (more advanced), bend the elbows into a pushup. Keep the head in line with the spine (don't hang it down) and lower as far as you can. Try to bring the chest all the way to the floor, if you can. Push back up without pausing or locking the elbows and repeat for 12 reps.
Sit on a chair or bench and balance on your arms, moving backside in front of the step with legs straight. Bend the elbows and lower the hips down a few inches or until the elbows are at 90 degrees. Keep the hips very close to the chair and keep the shoulders down (i.e., try not to shrug into the shoulders). Really focus on the triceps as you push back up, repeating for 12 reps.
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