Women’s Beginning Dumbbell Workout

Women’s Dumbbell Workout

This is a great 30 minute beginning workout for women that can be done at home. Let me emphasize again however that there is no such thing as a “woman’s workout”, there are just workouts that are more likely to meet woman’s goals than mens. A man might just as likely find a “woman’s workout” more appropriate for their goals as a woman finding a “man’s workout” more appropriate. Despite advances in the last five decades and the demise of the “wife as homemaker” model, the average woman still spends more hours a week doing chores and child care than her husband. Because of that, typically time efficiency is more important to a woman so women are more likely to be drawn to quick whole body workouts like this than men are. Men are typically more interested in “bulking up” which holds little interest for most women.

Nuff said, this workout combines cardio and resistance training into one non-stop great workout that will help you lose fat and get stronger. The only thing required is a pair of cheap dumbbells, about $10 at a big box retailer.   Please make sure to get cleared by your physician before starting this, or any, workout program.  Crank your favorite tunes during this workout, it helps to make it fun!

Burpees for cardio, 10 minutes

You will do 10 minutes of these non-stop for a cardio workout. Do these as fast as you are able. You heartrate should be between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate. The below photo sequence shows the four positions of the burpee:
Modified burpee (starting position)Modified burpee (mid position)Modified burpee (end position)Modified burpee (mid position)

You start in a standing position with your hands over head (photo 1). Now bend down and put your hands on the floor in front of you (photo2). Now jump back with your feet which puts you in a pushup like position (photo 3). Now while keeping your hands on the ground, walk forward till your feet are behind your hands again (photo 4). Now stand up and put your hands over your head again which puts you back to the starting position (photo 1). If you have limited flexibility or find that this exercise is painful to your joints then just substitute step-ups onto a sturdy stepstool for this exercise.

Pushups for chest, 5 minutes

Womans knee pushup (down position)Knee pushup (up position)

Do the knee pushup on a carpet or cushion to protect your knees. If you have pushup stands, it makes these pushups much easier on your wrists.  If you find knee pushups too difficult, then you can do counter pushups.  Do these for five minutes and take breaks as needed during the five minutes.
starting position: Hands are about shoulder width apart. Your spine and thighs make a perfect line, dont let your butt sag and dont let it point up in the air. Keep your abs flexed tight to support your lower back. Keep your shoulder blades back like you are trying to hold a tennis ball between them.
ending position: Now slowly lower yourself over a one or two second count. When you are lowering, keep your head aligned with your spine – dont bob your head up and down. Then slowly raise yourself back up to the starting position.

Full Body Dumbbell Combo, 10 minutes

For this ten minutes you will be doing this great whole body workout combo.  There are three dumbbell exercises that flow perfectly into one another and you just keep doing this sequence of three exercises over and over till your ten minutes is up.  Remember to crank your favorite music, not only does it make it more fun but it keeps you at a constant pace the whole time and prevents you from slacking off.  Its always fine to take a quick break if you need to, just continue from where you left off.

Dumbbell squat (starting position)Dumbbell squat (ending position)

starting position: Plant your feet about shoulder width apart.   In the up position, the legs are nearly straight but not locked out.  The abs are flexed to support the lower back.
ending position: Now slowly squat scissoring your butt backward like you are going to sit on a chair.  The weight should be much more on your heels than your toes.  If you have done both these things correctly then your knees will not extent past your toes and knee strain will be minimized.  Your back should not be arched like a cat nor humped like a camel but rather in the neutral position.  Continue slowly downward.  If you have knee issues, stop when your knee is at 90 degrees.  If you have good knees, continue downward till your thighs are parallel to the ground or even lower as the above picture indicates.  Now slowly raise back up which puts you into perfect position to do the dumbbell curl below.

Dumbbell curl (starting position)Dumbbell curl (ending position)

starting position:  Knees slightly bent but stationary.  The abs are contracted to support the lower back.  The shoulders are held down and back with your chest thrust out.  Your elbows are pinned at your side.
ending position: Now slowly bend your elbow while keeping them pinned to your sides.  There should be no motion in your body at all except your forearms slowly rotating upward.  When up as far as you can go, hold that position for a moment before getting into the starting position for the dumbbell shoulder press below.

Shoulder dumbbell press (starting position)Shoulder dumbbell press (ending position)

The last dumbbell exercise in the full body dumbbell workout sequence is the dumbbell shoulder press.  When transitioning from the top of the dumbbell curl above to the starting position for the dumbbell press, make sure to pause momentarily in the starting position shown.  Its easy to get a bit sloppy when you are tired, dont let that happen

starting position: Your upper arms are horizontal and they are inline with each other, dont let your elbows point forward but rather keep them out to the side.  Hold your shoulders down and back like you are trying to hold a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. Your thumbs are pointing at the top of your head.
ending position: Slowly raise the dumbbells up while keeping your shoulders down and back.  Y0ur thumbs point toward each other during the whole lift.  Now lower the dumbbells and let them hang at your sides and you are in position to start the sequence all over starting with the dumbbell squats.


Front Planks, 5 Minutes

Front planksFront planks

The front plank is deceptively difficult, how hard can just laying there be?  Your forearms and feet should be on the floor with your body held perfectly straight.  Dont let your butt sag like a donkey or arch like a hissing cat.  Hold this position as long as you can, then take a little break and then do it again.  Hold the plank for as much of the 5 minutes as you can.

Weekly Schedule

There you have it!  A complete 30 minute whole body workout that you can do at home.  Now lets look at how to put this into a weekly workout:

  • Monday: 30 minute dumbbell workout
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes brisk walking, swimming, biking, or jogging
  • Wednesday: 30 minute dumbbell workout
  • Thursday: 30 minutes brisk walking, swimming, biking, or jogging
  • Friday: 30 minute dumbbell workout
  • Saturday – rest day
  • Sunday – rest day


If you are trying to lose some bodyfat, you need to make some nutritional changes as well as starting an exercise program.  Many beginners make the mistake of thinking they can eat whatever they want now that they have started exercising – wrong!  Its very easy to out-eat your exercise.  Please read about ways to eat less, many of them are much easier than you think!