Beginners Workouts: Effective Dumbbell Training without the B.S.

I finally saw Dheeraj again on Friday. He was HUGE! By huge, I mean FAT! According to Dominic, Dheeraj had been eating a lot. Dheeraj follows a typical bodybuilder training split, and just like a typical bodybuilder he goes through some strange cycles.

A little bit fat gain here and there is OK, but the way bodybuilders do it is downright dangerous. Well, at least that’s what I think. I mean, why would you gain so much weight in the form of fat, then try to burn it all off later with distance cardio?

Doesn’t make sense, especially for someone who’s not trying to compete, ever. I personally think that the only people who should be living the bodybuilder lifestyle are bodybuilders. But don’t try to tell Dheeraj that.

Bring out…The Secret Weapon

I’ve stopped preaching to him. I just told him, “Pick up the kettlebell and I’ll tell you what to do with it.” You heard right, Kettlebell. The Kettlebell is one of the best additions you can make to your home gym.

And when someone like Dheeraj comes by – who’s strong, but seriously needs some high intensity training to kick his a** back into shape, then I take out my secret weapon – the Kettlebell. The only thing I don’t like about the Kettlebell is that some of the movements are difficult to teach.

In this case, most individuals are better off just sticking to dumbbells, especially if you don’t have the time to go over technique. Anyways, lets get to the workout:

What I had planned, was a grueling session of 10 rounds of 10 KB Clean and Presses alternating with 10 KB Front Squats. I almost always OVER PLAN my workouts. In other words, I plan for a higher goal then what I or my training partners think we can do.

Why? Here’s why – my training partners are pus***s. They almost always get me to modify the workouts to make it easier for them. I almost always end up kicking their butts, because now I design workouts that are so hard, that even if you think you’re making them easier, they’re hard.

Here’s what we ended up doing:

5 rounds of:

  • Kettlebell Clean and Press, 10 repetitions each side
  • Kettlebel Front Squat, 5 repetitions each side

Note that we’re only using one 16kg (35lbs) Kettlebell.

With Dumbbells that same workout will look something like this:

5 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Press, 10 repetitions each side
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 10 repetitions

Kettlebells feel tougher than Dumbbells. So if, I were doing this with a Dumbbell, I’d need around 50lbs.

Now, I know the title of this article has the word “Beginner” in it. But honestly, I don’t know what your fitness level is. So I’ll do the next best thing, I will give you progressions so that you can start off with one level and gradually progress up to our workout level.

Level One

2 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 4 repetitions each side – 45lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbbells on either side), 4 repetitions – 45 lbs


Level Two
– Use 50lbs Dumbbells

2 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 4 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 4 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Three
– Add 2 repetitions to each exercise

2 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 6 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 6 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Four
– Add 2 repetitions to each exercise

2 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 8 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 8 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Five
– Add one more round

3 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 8 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 8 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Six
– Add in the Dumbbell Clean

3 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 8 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 8 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 8 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Seven
– Add one more round

4 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 8 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 8 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 8 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Eight
– Add two more repetitions

4 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 10 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • One-arm Dumbbell Press 10 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 10 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Nine
– Combine Dumbbell Clean with Presses

4 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Press, 10 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 10 repetitions – 50 lbs


Level Ten
– Add final round

5 rounds of:

  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Press, 10 repetitions each side – 50lbs
  • Dumbbell Squats (Hold Dumbells on either side), 10 repetitions – 50 lbs

Look over these levels, and start at a level you feel comfortable. If you can not lift the prescribed weight, then just start off with a weight you feel comfortable with. Keep it heavy, but not too heavy.

Lets assume you decide that level three is the right place to start. Try the workout, if it’s too hard, stick to that level for another 2-3 workouts, and then progress to level 4. You can perform this workout 2-3 times a week.

My suggestion is to try to change the workout a little bit each time. These levels are basic guidelines for you.

PS: Dheeraj and Dominic finished the workout in around 9 minutes, 30 seconds. I finished one minute earlier. See if you can complete our workout in under 10 minutes, or lets see if you can beat my time of 8:38.56.

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