One misconception is that virtually all the resistance training programs designed to help someone lose weight require a lot of equipment. Power racks, leg press and leg curl machines, lifting platforms with Olympic barbells and bumper plates, back extension benches, and…well, you get the idea. Although it’s true that for optimal results over the long term you should use a variety of equipment, for the short term how about trying a weight loss workout that only uses dumbbells for resistance?
Among the advantages of using dumbbells is that they allow for more natural movements and work the muscles through a greater range of motion for many exercises. They are also extremely practical. In a busy gym it’s usually much easier to grab a pair of dumbbells that to find a free leg press machine or bench press. And now with the many types of adjustable dumbbells and adjustable benches available, it’s relatively inexpensive to set up a home gym that doesn’t require much space.
You may be surprised and skeptical at this revelation, but you can lose a lot of fat quickly with a workout the only uses dumbbells. And yes, you can even give your legs a good workout.
The key to using weight training for weight loss is to increase the release of growth hormone, a biochemical produced naturally in the body that helps regulate bodyfat. Although almost any weight training program will stimulate growth hormone release, the most effective way is to keep your rest intervals short and your repetitions high. This protocol produces high levels of lactic acid in the blood. When you increase your blood lactic level, your blood pH increases, and that sends a message to your brain to accelerate its production of growth hormone. This type of workout is called German Body Comp (GBC).
Here are three fat loss workouts requiring only dumbbells and an adjustable bench. They are designed to work the entire body, so you should rest at least one day after each workout. One progression is to perform the first workout (GBC 1) for 2-3 weeks, followed by the second, and then the third.
GBC 1 (Beginner) 3x Week
This first workout consists of 3 supersets. For this workout you only perform 3 sets of each of the 3 supersets, which for a beginner is plenty.
A1. Front Foot Elevated Split Squat, 3 x 12-15, 3010 rest 30 seconds
A2. One-arm DB Bent Over Row, 3 x 12-15, 3010, rest 30 seconds
B1. Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlift, 3 x 12-15, 3020, rest 30 seconds
B2. Flat Dumbbell Press, 3 x 12-15, 3010, rest 30 seconds
C1. Front Step up, 3 x 15-20, 1010, rest 30 seconds
C2. Standing Dumbbell Press, 3 x 12-15, 3010, rest 30 seconds
GBC 2 (Intermediate) 3x Week
This first workout is similar to GBC 1, but 4 sets of each exercise are performed to increase the amount of work performed.
A1. Split Squat 4 x 10-12, 3110, rest 45 seconds
A2. Neutral Grip Dumbbell Row, 4 x 10-12, 3011, rest 45 seconds
B1. Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlift, 3 x 12-15, 40X0, rest 45 seconds
B2. 30-Degree Dumbbell Incline Press, 4 x 10-12, 4010, rest 45 seconds
C1. High Box Step Up, 4 x 15-20, 1010, rest 45 seconds
C2. Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise, 4 x 12-15, 3010, rest 45 seconds
GBC 3 (Advanced 3x Week)
This workout adds another superset to further increase the amount of work performed, although for the C and D exercises only 3 sets are performed rather than 4. It’s much harder than it looks!
A1. Dumbbell Squats, Heels Elevated, 4 x 15-20, 3010, rest 60 seconds
A2. Prone 45-Degree, Pronated Grip Dumbbell Row, 4 x 12-15, 3011, rest 60 seconds
B1. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift, 4 x 12-15, 3020, rest 45 seconds
A2. One-Arm, Arc Dumbbell Row, 4 x 12-15, 3010, rest 45 seconds
C1. Dumbbell Side Step-up, 3 x 15-20, 1010, rest 45 seconds
C2. Lean-Away Lateral Raise, 3 x 12-15, 3011, rest 45 seconds
D1. Dumbbell Swing, 3 x 25-30, 2010, rest 45 seconds
D2. Dumbbell Push-up, Neutral Grip 3 x 12-15, 3010, rest 45 seconds
Don’t get locked into a few exercises, as variety is key to making progress. To give you some idea of the number of dumbbell exercises possible, pick up a copy of Bill Pearl’s Keys to the Inner Universe (Physical Fitness Architects, 1978). A 639-page classic, Pearl’s work is considered the ultimate reference of bodybuilding exercises.
Dumbbell work should be considered the foundation of strength training because it provides for more natural movement. It is also ideal for home workouts. Dumbbells should be used to supplement barbell and machine training, and as shown here can be used effectively to help you lose fat while shaping up.