Dumbbell workout: 30-day challenge to tone your entire body

In this dumbbells workout, trainer Chris Richardson helps tone your whole body with a pair of dumbbells and six simple moves

Dumbells workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking at those dumbbells we’d forgive you for thinking that this was just another arms workout. But we want to show you that this piece of equipment can work your entire body – from shoulders right down to your calves. 

Weight training will make you stronger and can help you lose weight by burning calories and ramping up your metabolism. ‘You’ll increase bone density and strength, which reduces the chance of osteoporosis as you get older,’ says Chris Richardson, the founder of Zero Gravity who has trained TV star Lisa Snowdon and singer Rochelle Humes. ‘Plus, it will lower cholesterol and improve heart health.’

Worried about bulking up if you’re a woman? Don’t be. ‘Women have thirty times less body-building hormones than men, so it makes it hard to create huge muscles,’ explains Chris. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a slimmer, stronger, healthy bod.

Dumbbells workout: your six trim-and-tone moves

‘The timing of any lift is important for form,’ Chris says. Aim for a 1-2-3 count during the lift, hold for two and lower to a count of 3-2-1. 

Squat with triceps extension

(Image credit: Future)

Squat with triceps extension (beginner legs)

Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder- width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Squat down and lower the dumbbells to the floor. Stand up, li dumbbells up above you, then bend elbows and lower dumbbells back behind your head, so elbows are pointing up. Lower down into squat again and repeat. 

Single deadlift

(Image credit: Future)

Single leg deadlift to upright row (advanced legs)

Hold dumbbells by your sides, back straight. Lean forward at hips, and lift your left leg out straight behind you. Let weights hang down. Draw the weights into your sides. Reverse back to start and repeat with right leg. 

Chest press

(Image credit: Future)

Chest press with single leg extension (beginner core)

Lie on your back with your arms raised, holding a pair of dumbbells. Lift your legs and bend your knees at right angles. Extend your right leg, so your foot is just above the floor. While you’re doing this, lower your dumbbells to your chest. Draw your right leg back in towards you, while raising your arms back up. Repeat with your left leg. 

Standing plank

(Image credit: Future)

Standing plank to single arm row (advanced core)

Start in a plank position with legs wider than hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping wrists locked to protect joints. Engage core and glutes, and bring your left arm into your chest, so your elbow is pointing to the ceiling. Return weight to the ground and repeat on right side. 

Skull crushers

(Image credit: Future)

DB Skull Crushers (beginner arms)

Lie on your back, knees bent, holding a pair of dumbbells. Raise your arms up so they’re above your chest. Slowly lower arms towards your head, bending elbows to 90 degrees, as dumbbells reach mat. Aim to lower dumbbells so they’re either side of your head, elbows pressing in. Lift arms back to start. 

Bicep curl

(Image credit: Future)

Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press (advanced arms)

Stand feet hip-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Arms should be hanging down by your sides, palms forwards. Flex your elbows to curl the weights in towards your chest. Rotate your arms and shoulders and extend up towards the ceiling. Pause before reversing the movement. 

Dumbbells workout: 30-day challenge

Perfected the moves? Now it’s time to put them into practice with our 30-day challenge. One word of advice before getting started: don’t rush the lifts. Use proper form to boost results and reduce the risk of injury.

Day 1

5 x Squat with triceps extension

5 x Chest press with single leg extension

5 x DB skull crushers 

Day 2

Rest day - don’t skip these, as they help your muscles mend and get stronger!

Day 3

5 x Squat with triceps extension

5 x Chest press with single leg extension

5 x DB skull crushers 

Day 4

Rest day

Day 5

10 x Squat with triceps extension 

10 x Chest press with single leg extension 

10 x DB skull crushers 

Day 6

Rest day

Day 7

10 x Squat with triceps extension

10 x Chest press with single leg extension 

10 x DB skull crushers 

Day 8

Rest day

Day 9

15 x Squat with triceps extension 

15 x Chest press with single leg extension 

15 x DB skull crushers 

Day 10

Rest day

Day 11

15 x Squat with triceps extension 

15 x Chest press with single leg extension 

15 x DB skull crushers 

Day 12

Rest day

Day 13

20 x Squat with triceps extension 

20 x Chest press with single leg extension 

20 x DB skull crushers 

Day 14

Rest day

Day 15

20 x Squat with triceps extension 

20 x Chest press with single leg extension 

20 x DB skull crushers 

Day 16

5 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

5 x Standing plank to single arm row 

5 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 17

5 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

5 x Standing plank to single arm row 

5 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 18

Rest day

Day 19

10 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

10 x Standing plank to single arm row 

10 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 20

10 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

10 x Standing plank to single arm row

10 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 21

Rest day

Day 22

15 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

15 x Standing plank to single arm row

15 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 23

15 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

15 x Standing plank to single arm row 

15 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 24

Rest day

Day 25

20 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

20 x Standing plank to single arm row 

20 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 26

20 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

20 x Standing plank to single arm row 

20 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 27

Rest day

Day 28

25 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

25 x Standing plank to single arm row 

25 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 29

25 x Single leg deadlift to upright row 

25 x Standing plank to single arm row 

25 x Bicep curl to overhead shoulder press 

Day 30

Rest day