Welcome to the Men’s Health Dumbbell Club, your new weekly plan for a fitter, stronger body, using just two dumbbells.
With workouts lasting from 20-40 minutes, designed to add lean muscle, build fitness and increase strength, your weekly dose of dumbbell goodness drops every Monday.
New This Week…
This week we’re going to be using an ‘EMOM’ format, which stands for ‘Every Minute On the Minute’— from zero, at the beginning of each minute, you’re going to perform a set of a single movement, you’ll then rest for the remainder of the minute before moving into the next movement at the start of the next minute. Continue in this fashion until you’ve performed a round of each movement, then rest for the next minute, before repeating from the beginning. Perform this circuit 8 times for a total of 40 muscle-swelling-minutes.
If you have access to your ‘scores’ from ‘Week One’, select your reps for each movement by taking the number of reps you performed, dividing this number by the total number of rounds you performed and adding two reps (ie. if you achieved 120 floor presses over 10 rounds in week 1, your rep target for each minute of floor presses this week is 14). Working in this fashion ensures you're progressively overloading your muscles, leading to growth.
If this is your first week, or you didn’t record your scores, simply perform as many high quality reps as you can in 30 seconds during the first round of each movement, and then attempt to match those reps in each round thereafter.
Keep track of your reps and sets, so we can revisit these numbers and attempt to ‘beat’ them in later weeks, ensuring fresh new muscle growth and elevated fitness.
Day One (W3/D1)
1. Dumbbell Floor (or bench) Press
Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Press the weights above you, locking out your elbows (A). Lower them slowly until your upper arms are resting on the floor (B), close to your body, pause here before explosively pressing back up. If you have a bench, use it.
2. Bent-over Row
After your final floor press, stand tall with your dumbbells at your sides. Hinge forward until your torso is almost parallel to the ground and allow the dumbbells to hang just below your knees (A). Maintaining a flat back, row both dumbbells towards your hips (B), squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower under control to the start before repeating.
3. Front Squat
Clean your dumbbells onto the front of your shoulders (A). From here, drop into a front squat, by pushing your hips back and bending at the knees until your thighs pass parallel to the ground (B), before driving back up explosively. Keep those dumbbells secured high, with a strong, upright torso throughout.
4. Split Squat Jump x 20 reps
Step one foot backward and sink into a deep lunge, with your rear knee lightly touching the floor (A). Explode upward, jumping into the air and switching legs mid jump (B) to land in a lunge position with the opposite leg forward. Repeat the movement, alternating legs each rep. Keep this movement as fast paced as possible, focussing on maximising the height of each jump.
Day Two (W3/D2)
1. Push Press
Clean your dumbbells onto your shoulders, palms facing in. Take a breath and create tension in your core. (A) Dip at the knees and use your legs to help (B) press your dumbbells overhead. Lower with a controlled tempo to your shoulders and repeat. If your weights feel a little too light, don’t use any drive from the legs and focus on a strict press from the shoulders.
2. High Pull
Stand tall with your dumbbells at your waist, in front of your body. (A) Keeping your core tight, hinge forward slightly before explosively standing back upright and pulling the dumbbells up towards your chin, driving your elbows up and back (B). Slowly lower back down to your waist under complete control. Avoid simply ‘dropping’ your dumbbells back to your waist to build more muscle and avoid injury. If your dumbbells feel light, avoid the help from your hips and simply stand tall and pull the weights up to your chin.
3. Dumbbell Deadlift
With your dumbbells on the floor just outside of your feet, hinge down and grip them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright, pushing the ground away with your feet, keeping your chest up and your black flat throughout (B). Lower them back to the ground in a hinging motion and repeat. Avoid excessive rounding in your lower back, keeping your form tight throughout. Don’t rush, in a race to build muscle, slower and steady wins.
4. Jump Squats
Lean slightly forward as you squat (A), then explode up, jumping as high as you can (B). Cushion your landing with bent legs, then sink immediately back into another squat and repeat. Aim for the maximum possible height you can achieve on each and every rep, even if that means pausing for a quick breath. We’re looking to produce power here, not simply go through the motions.
Day Three (W3/D3)
1. Press-up on Dumbbells
After your final press drop your bells and assume a long-arm plank position. With your core tight and hands below your shoulders stacked on top of your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.
2. Renegade Row
15 press-ups in the book, keep your hands on your bells and midline tight (A). Shifting your weight onto your left hand, row the right dumbbell towards your hip (B). Pause briefly, then lower the weight under control. Repeat on your left side (each row equals one rep).
3. Tempo Goblet Squats
Hold a single dumbbell close to your chest (A). Sink your hips back and slowly over a count of four seconds descend into a squat (B). Your elbows should come in between your knees at the bottom. Drive back up explosively. Repeat. Pay attention to that tempo, it matters.
4. Burpee Over ‘bells x
With both dumbbells on the floor next to you, step back and hit the deck into a press-up position. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor (A). Stand back up and jump powerfully over the dumbbells (B) – driving through your hips when you take off. Land and immediately drop to the floor and repeat. The dumbbells keep you accountable for the height of each jump.
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