5 Movements to Keep in Your Workout Arsenal

woman doing squats

With unnecessary fitness tools and of-the-moment classes constantly popping up and promising to be the next quick fix, navigating the fitness world can be overwhelming. Add this list of basic movements to your workout routine to clear out unnecessary noise and stick to what’s tried and true. The best part? They can be down with just a pair of dumbbells.

Stiff-Legged Deadlift

You don’t need a platform and plates to make the most of a deadlift. Target your hamstrings and hit your glutes with the dumbbell variation of this lower-body movement.


  1. With dumbbells at your sides, stand straight. Your legs should be about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your knees slightly bent but still, slowly lower the dumbbells by bending at the waist.
  3. Maintain a straight back as you lower the weights down to the floor. Your hamstrings should feel loaded.
  4. Return to your starting position until your hips are fully extended and the weights are at your waist. Repeat for reps.

Plie Dumbbell Squat

Take air squats to the next level by using a dumbbell. The weight will provide an added challenge and help you feel the burn.


  1. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart. Hold one dumbbell by one end at its base. Make sure your toes are pointed slightly outward.
  2. Keeping your arms still, hold the weight as your squat down. Hinge at the hips and lower your legs until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Press up back to starting position. Repeat for reps.

Overhead Press

Strong shoulders are always in style. Reach for the sky with this movement, which can be done standing or while seated.


  1. Standing or seated, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Raise the weights overhead, controlling them on the way up. Exhale as you lift and pause at the top of the movement.
  3. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells to shoulder height. Repeat for reps.

Bent-Over Row

Build your back with this classic movement that yields results.


  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, hinge forward. Your back should be flat and you should have a slight bend in your knees. Your back should be almost parallel to the floor.
  2. Keeping your torso still, row the dumbbells to your sides. At the top of the movement, squeeze your back muscles and hold for one second.
  3. Inhale as you lower the weight.


Hold your very own “plank challenge” at the end of every workout. This static movement helps to strengthen your core and also benefits your glutes. Aim for 30 seconds to start, and work your way up from there.


  1. Assume the top of a push-up position (hands directly under shoulders and shoulder-width apart).
  2. Press your toes into the floor, keep your back flat, maintain a neutral neck, and squeeze your glutes.
  3. Hold the static position. Increase time as possible.

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