Dumbbell circuit home workout muscle man biceps curl training

The home dumbbell circuit for a lean, strong and athletic body

Use my new home dumbbell circuit workout to torch stubborn belly fat and pack on lean muscle to transform your soft and out-of-shape body into a lean, hard and athletic physique in says New Body Plan fitness director Joe Warner

Some good news. To burn fat from where you want it least (moobs, beer belly and love handles) and build lean muscle where you want it most (defined chest, bigger arms, broader shoulders) doesn’t require hours and hours of hard training.

You can get the fat-loss and muscle-gain results you want far faster than you think. But there’s one big caveat: you have to train smart.

Smart training is exactly what I had in mind when designing this new home dumbbell circuit. I’ve created a session that was simple to follow and doesn’t take long to do. So it’s small in terms of time, energy and effort it requires from you to get it done. But huge in terms of the impact it will have towards you achieving your better-body goal!

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What does this all mean for you? It’s simple. You’re just 15 to 20 minutes away from a flood of feel-good endorphin hormones from getting this dumbbell circuit done and knowing you’ve taken a big step closer towards building a leaner, stronger and fitter body.

It’s a clever combo of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but uses just a pair of dumbbells and your own bodyweight to get your heart rate sky high. The end result? You’ll burn a load of calories to get leaner. You’ll work your heart and lungs to get fitter. And and hit all your major muscle groups to add genuine size, strength and definition.

All the instructions for how to do this dumbbell circuit session are below. So, what are you waiting for?

Not got dumbbells? Try my home bodyweight workout instead!

Fancy a weight-lifting gym session? Do my favourite chest and back gym workout, or give my tried-and-tested biceps and triceps workout a go!

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How to do this dumbbell circuit workout

This dumbbell circuit comprises six different exercises. To make it as beneficial to your body as possible, the six moves are divided into two trisets (or two mini-circuits of three moves each).

The first three moves are labelled 1A, 1B and 1C, and you’ll do circuits of these three moves first. After that, you’ll do circuits of the second group of three exercises, moves 2A, 2B and 2C.

Do the three moves in order – A, B, then C – performing 8 reps of each exercise. To work your heart, lungs and muscles harder, you don’t get any rest after the first or second moves (A and B), but you do get a rest after the third move (C).

How many circuits you do and for how long you get to rest between circuits is down to you!


How many dumbbell circuits should I do?

Rookie: 1-2 circuits
Intermediate: 2-3 circuits
Advanced: 3-4 circuits
Elite: 4+ circuits


How long should I rest at the end of each dumbbell circuit?

Rookie: 2-4 minutes
Intermediate: 2-3 minutes
Advanced: 1-2 minutes
Elite: 1 minute

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The dumbbell circuit for an athletic physique: part 1

1A Dumbbell shoulder press

How to do the dumbbell shoulder press

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your back straight and abs engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with palms facing forward. With your chest and chip up, press the weights directly overhead until your arms are straight. Slowly lower them back down to the start position. That’s one rep. Go straight into the next rep. Do 8 reps then immediately begin move 1B.

1B Dumbbell thruster

How to do the dumbbell thruster

From the start position of the dumbbell shoulder press, bend your knees and push your bum backwards to go down into a quarter-squat. Stand back up powerfully, using the momentum generated to help press the weights up directly overhead. Slowly lower the weights back down. That’s one rep. Without pausing go straight into the next rep. Do 8 reps then immediately begin move 1C.

1C Dumbbell front squat

How to do the dumbbell front squat

Start in the start position of the dumbbell shoulder press, but turn your wrists so your palms face each other and tuck your elbows into your sides. With your chin and chest up, bend at the knees and push your bum back to squat down as low as you can (ideally so your thighs are lower than parallel to the ground). Push down through your heels to stand back up and return to the start position. That’s one rep. Go straight into the next rep. Do 8 reps to complete a circuit. Rest for the desired time then repeat the circuit as many times as you want.

Scroll down for the second mini-circuit!

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The dumbbell circuit for an athletic physique: part 2

2A Dumbbell biceps hammer curl

How to do the dumbbell biceps hammer curl row

Stand proud holding a dumbbell in each hand with straight arms by your sides with a palms-facing grip. Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the weights up to shoulder height the squeeze your biceps muscles hard. Slowly the weights back down to the start. That’s one rep. Go straight into the next rep and do 8 reps in total. Then immediately begin move 2B.

2B Dumbbell bent-over row

How to do the dumbbell bent-over row

Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms straight and by your sides. Keeping your chest up, core engaged and back straight, hinge forwards from your hips so your torso is as close as possible to parallel to the floor. Allow your arms to hang straight down then row the weights up to your sides, leading with your elbows. Hold and pause this top position when the weights are closest to your body, then slowly lower them back down until your arms are fully straight. That’s one rep. Go straight into the next rep. Do 8 reps then immediately begin move 2C.

2C Press-up burpee

How to do the press-up burpee

For this final move of the dumbbell circuit you don’t need dumbbells – just your own bodyweight! Move the dumbbells safely out of the way. Stand tall then jump down to the ground so your palms are on the floor and your feet are underneath your body. Kick your feet backwards to get into the press-up position with your body in a straight line from head to heels. Perform a press-up by bending your elbows to lower your chest to the ground, then straighten your arms to push back up powerfully. Then bring your feet back under your body and immediately jump up in to the air as high as you can.

That’s one rep. As soon as your feet land back on the floor go immediately into the next rep. Do 8 reps to complete a circuit. If you can’t do a full set of press-up burpees, do as many as you can until you can’t do another press-up and finish the set with normal burpees. Rest for the desired time then repeat the circuit as many times as you want.

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