Wide Delts & Strong Legs: No Gym Required

The One-Dumbbell Workouts


Working out from home? Experiment with ways to mimic the angles and positions you normally get at the gym but using the equipment you have available.

"But I don't have a lot of equipment or heavy weights!"

It can still be done. In fact, let's eliminate ALL excuses and pretend like you only have a single, moderate-weight dumbbell.

Get ready for some unconventional takes on traditional exercises. These workouts will make you cuss with even the lightest of dumbbells.

The Shoulder Workout

If the only dumbbell you have is extremely light, just do as many reps as you can until you reach a few short of technical failure. If you're doing more than 30 reps, slow down your rep speed.

Here's the workout at a glance. Videos and instructions below.

  • A1. Single-Arm Rear Delt Flye: 3 sets of 12-20 each side
  • A2. Iso Split-Squat Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 12-20 each side. Rest 60 seconds.
  • B. Low Kneeling Y-Raise: 3 sets of 10-15 each side. Rest 45-60 seconds.
  • C. Bent-Over Delt Scoops: 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps. Rest 60 seconds.
  • D. Single-Arm "High" Arnold Press: 3 sets of 10-15 each side. Rest 60 seconds.

Rear Delt Flye and Split Squat Superset (A1 and A2)

This spicy superset will pre-fatigue your shoulders, starting with those neglected posterior delts. The second exercise is an upper-lower combo to get more bang for your buck with limited weight.

Low Kneeling Y-Raise (B)

This is how you engage the medial delts and lower traps with just one dumbbell. Y-raise variations are great for isolating lazy delts. But if you don't have a bench, they can be a challenge to set up. With this version, you don't even have to have two dumbbells.

Bent-Over Delt Scoop (C)

This targets the anterior delts and upper traps while making the most of limited weight. To reduce low-back fatigue, get your back against the wall.

Single-Arm "High" Arnold Press (D)

Sure, this may seem like a strange order of exercises, but it'll make a light dumbbell feel heavy. You'll accomplish more with less weight.

The Leg Workout

Think of this as "functional" bodybuilding-style training. The challenging athletic movements, abbreviated rest periods, and intensity are all well-suited for hypertrophy.

There are no supersets here, but you'll get only 60 seconds of rest between sets for each exercise.

Here's the workout at a glance. Videos below.

  • A. Skater Squat: 3 sets of 8-10 reps per side
  • B. Sissy Squat: 3 sets of 10-12 reps per side
  • C. Reverse Nordic: 3 sets of 8-10 reps per side. Lower slowly for 2-3 seconds.
  • D. Lying Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 12-15 reps. Increase time under tension. Spend 8-10 seconds on each rep.
  • E. Ham-Dominant Single-Leg Glute Bridge: 3 sets of 12-15 reps. Pause at the top on each rep.
  • F. Front to Back Lunge: 3 sets of 10 each side. Back and forth is one rep.
  • G. Cossack Squat: 3 sets of 16-20 reps, alternating side to side.

The Skater Squat (A)

The Sissy Squat (B)

The Reverse Nordic (C)

The Lying Hamstring Curl (D)

The Ham-Dominant Single-Leg Glute Bridge (E)

To make this more hamstring dominant, drive and pull through the heel every rep.

The Front to Back Lunge (F)

The Cossack Squat (G)

Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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