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This 20-Minute Dumbbell Workout Hits Every Muscle When You’re Short on Time

Bicycling logo Bicycling 2 days ago Danielle Zickl
a woman sitting on the floor: Build muscle, get your heart pumping, and boost your overall cycling performance. © Lindsey Clayton Build muscle, get your heart pumping, and boost your overall cycling performance.

Some days, it’s hard to fit exercise in with all the other responsibilities we have. Between our jobs, families, and other social obligations, sometimes the last thing you have time for is an hour-long ride or a 45-minute HIIT session. But getting a good workout doesn’t have to take a long time. You can get it done in just about 20 minutes.

Lindsey Clayton, senior instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp and cofounder of the Brave Body Project, put together a quick, total-body dumbbell workout to build muscle, get your heart pumping, and boost your overall cycling performance.

How to do it: Perform each of the five moves for 1 minute each. After you finish the 5-minute block, rest for 30 to 60 seconds, and then start the second round. Complete 4 total rounds. Use a moderately heavy set of weights if you have them, but you can use your body weight as well if you don’t.

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Biceps Curl to Squat

Start standing with your feet hips-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be stacked in a straight line about shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows to lift dumbbells up toward shoulders, keeping your elbows in close to your torso. Slowly lower the weights to starting position. Perform 2 biceps curls.

Transition to the squat by standing with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly. With the dumbbells racked at shoulders, send hips back and bend knees to drop down to a squat position. Press through heels to return to standing, keeping chest lifted and without rounding your back. Perform 2 squats. Two biceps curls and 2 squats equal 1 rep. Repeat.

Deadlift to Upright Row

Stand tall with feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, a microbend in knees, shoulders back, and a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing toward body). Slowly send your hips back to hinge from the hips while keeping your back straight, abs tight, and chest lifted. Engage hamstrings and glutes to resist the downward pull of gravity as the weight lowers toward to the floor. Lower as far as you can until you feel a pull along the backs of legs. Push hips forward to come back up to standing. Perform 2 deadlifts.

Transition to an upright row with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing toward body, and weights touching quads. Pull elbows up and out wide to lift the dumbbells to chest. Return to start. Perform 2 upright rows. Two deadlifts and 2 rows equal 1 rep. Repeat.

Bent-Over Row to Sprawl

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells at sides in a neutral grip. Hinge forward from your hips and hold your torso close to parallel with the floor. Push your hips back and maintain a flat back. Pull dumbbells up to your ribs as you drive your elbows towards the ceiling. Then slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position. Perform 2 bent-over rows.

Transition to a sprawl, by standing with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells at sides in a neutral grip. Hinge at hips and place dumbbells on the floor in front of you, still gripping them. Jump feet back into high plank position, pause, then jump feet back in toward hands. Use legs—not back—to lift the dumbbells off the ground and stand, returning to start position. Perform one sprawl. Two bent-over rows and 1 sprawl equal 1 rep. Repeat.

Renegade Row to Push-Up to Downward Dog

To perform a renegade row, start in a high plank position, hands on dumbbells, wrists under shoulders, feet in a wide stance. Keeping hips steady, pull one dumbbell up to rib cage, creating a 90-degree angle with your elbow. Return dumbbell to floor and repeat on the other side. Perform 2 renegade rows.

Transition to a push-up from the high plank position. Engage your core and glutes, then bend elbows, allowing them to flare out at a 45-degree angle from shoulders, as you lower chest to the floor. Push back up to high plank position. Perform 1 push-up.

From top of the push-up, send hips up and back to come into downward dog. Bend knees slightly to draw chest toward thighs. Send heels as close to floor as possible. Lower hips to return to high plank position. Perform 1 downward dog. Two renegade rows, 1 push-up, and 1 downward dog equal 1 rep. Repeat.

Skullcrusher With Leg Lift and Lower

To perform a skullcrusher, lie faceup with a dumbbell in each hand, extend arms straight up over chest, palms facing in. Hinging at the elbow, lower the weight down toward your forehead so arms form a 90-degree angle. Press the weight back up and straighten arms, while at the same time, lifting legs straight up to meet dumbbells. Perform one crunch-up, then lower legs and arms to repeat the skullcrusher with leg lift and lower. One skullcrusher, 1 leg lift (plus crunch-up), and 1 leg lower equal 1 rep. Repeat.

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