With covid and all the social instability we’ve had over the last year in terms of routine, training and lifestyle, it is important that we find a way to keep exercising throughout. For many of us, this involves working out at home or in our garage with minimal equipment. With society beginning to return to normal, many of us are still hesitant to commit our finances to a gym membership if we don’t know what the future holds. This article will run through an awesome, all-body routine which you only need a single dumbbell or single kettlebell to complete!!
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Single dumbbell or kettlebell workouts
One of the key benefits to using a single dumbbell or kettlebell, outside the obvious financial windfall, is with our core activation. Using single-sided, or unilateral exercises forces us to incorporate our core so much more than bilateral exercises as our body subconsciously wants to keep square and straight, enhancing stability and strength around our spine and our entire torso.
Use the following exercises, or variations of the following in your routine to build up strength, stability and power in your training. Always remember to keep your core tight and your technique perfect.
The kettlebell row is ordinarily done with both hands and two weights, however, we will be completing the more challenging variety with a single weight. Try hitting 4 sets of 12 reps with perfect technique.
Holding the weight in one hand, keeping your core tight with your back and shoulders square, hinge the torso to a 45-degree position and the arm with the weight hanging straight to the ground. Pull the weight up to the side of your body by bending your elbow and squeezing your shoulder blade back. Hold at the top for a split second and return to the starting position.
Single-arm farmers walk
This is a variation of a fundamental exercise of most functional training programs. A farmers walk works endurance, strength and power, using legs, core and arms.
Complete 4 sets of 20 metres on each side.
Set up by holding your dumbbell or kettlebell down by your side. Keeping your core tight and your shoulders square, walk in a straight line for a designated distance. Swap arms and repeat. For this movement, the heavier the weight you can manage them better.
Similar to the farmers walk, the KB swing is a fundamental part of any functional movement routine. It is an insane calorie burner as well as a strength builder, working on the entire body including the legs, core and shoulders. We want to keep the core tight throughout and with all movements, want to keep the tension out of our lower back.
Typically, a kettlebell swing is done for time, instead of for reps. So try out 6 sets of 1 minute per set.
Set up by holding a kettlebell down between your legs with both hands. With soft knees, bend or hinge at the hips until the kettlebell reaches your knees. From here, explosively drive your hips forward until lockout and freely let the arms come up to shoulder height. Allow the arms to come back down between your legs as you hinge forward again to repeat the process.
This is a great squat variation that is designed to be used with a single dumbbell or kettlebell. It works your core and depending on if you take a narrow or wider stance with your legs, hits your legs with either a quad focus or hamstring/glute focus.
This is a great leg burner and can be used on its own or as part of a circuit workout. On its own, try 4 sets of 12 reps.
Start by holding the dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands close to the chin with feet shoulder-width apart as a default. With your core tight, bend the knees and squat your body down until your quads reach parallel to the ground. Drive back up with the power to a near full extension with the legs. Hold for a split second at the top and repeat the movement again. Read more tips and advice from Ed here.
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