Use these four dumbbell exercises to build strength and improve your balance

You only need 25 minutes to complete the routine, which will help you build muscle all over

Man doing a standing oblique crunch.
(Image credit: Doc Waller)

If you regularly work out at home, you're probably used to doing the same moves over and over again. Repeating exercises week-on-week, while increasing the weight, is a great way to build strength — but it can get a bit boring. 

That’s where this workout comes in. Created by Doc Waller, the founder of LYFE at home, it features four new dumbbell moves that you're unlikely to have tried before. The exercises are tricky, so try practicing them without any weights before adding in a dumbbell.

Need some guidance on what dumbbell weight to choose? Opt for something that challenges you, but make sure it’s not so heavy that you can’t complete the full set of exercises. You might also need to increase or decrease weight for different moves, so we'd recommend using adjustable dumbbells if you are working out at home. 

Doc Waller
Doc Waller

Doc Waller is the Founder & Creative Director for the wellness based media company, LYFE At Home. He first got his start in the health & wellness space in 2004, earning his NCCA accredited CPT and Master CPT from NESTA (National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association). He went on to lead training for an East Alabama establishment, guiding clients ranging from everyday individuals to D1 & Triple-A athletes.

Doc Waller's four-move dumbbell workout

"Each of these exercises should be performed for one-minute at a challenging weight," Waller says. "Cycle through each exercise three to four times, for each side of the body, giving yourself 30-45 secs of rest in between."

Remember to keep the core engaged throughout the session, which will help you maintain balance during the trickier movements.

Standing oblique crunch with shoulder press

Standing oblique crunch with shoulder press

(Image credit: Doc Waller)
  • Stand with the dumbbell in one hand in an overhead position. Keep your arm overhead and hold the other arm out to the side for balance.
  • Lift your leg on the same side as the working arm. Bend the leg, then bring it out to the side and up towards the ceiling. At the same, bring your working arm down, so that your elbow and knee touch. You should feel your obliques (the muscles along your waist) working hard.
  • To finish, press the dumbbell back up towards the ceiling and lower the leg down. Try to keep your mid-body stable by engaging your core muscles. Repeat this on both sides. 

Orbit core rotations

Man doing orbit core rotation.

(Image credit: Doc Waller)
  • Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward. Both knees should be close to forming a right angle. Hold the two heads of a dumbbell in either hand and move it to the outside of your right thigh.
  • Lift the dumbbell up to in front of your chest, and as you do stand up straight and rotate 90° to your left.
  • From here, lift the dumbbell up over your left shoulder and around your head in a tight circle.
  • Next, twist your body 90° to the left and assume a lunge position with your left foot forward. As you twist into a lunge to the left, bring the dumbbell down to the outside of your left thigh. Throughout this exercise, your feet should not leave the floor.
  • That’s one repetition. Reverse this movement to start your second rep.

Eccentric front squat

Man doing front squats with a dumbbell.

(Image credit: Doc Waller)
  • Hold a dumbbell at your chest with two hands and stand so the feet are slightly wider than shoulder width apart. 
  • Lower yourself down into a squat, bringing your hips lower than your knees. Then come back to standing, squeezing through the glutes (butt muscles) and quads (thigh muscles).

Elevated eccentric curl

Man doing elevated eccentric curl.

(Image credit: Doc Waller)
  • Find a bench, chair, or the side of the bed or couch to use as elevation. Lean forward onto your support with your feet in a wide stance to provide support. Although your body is leaning forward, it should still be in a straight line with the core and hips in line with the rest of your body. 
  • Pick up your dumbbell in a hammer grip, so that the palm of your hand is facing in towards your thigh. Then bend at the elbow and bring the dumbbell up towards your shoulder; count to five as you move, finishing the movement when you reach the end of your count. Keep your core activated to help with your balance and make sure that you don't sink into the supporting shoulder.
  • Move the dumbbell back to the original position, near your thigh, and repeat. Then repeat the exercise on the other side of your body. 
Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.