The Life-Changing Power of the 1-Dumbbell Workout

Plus, a 10-minute workout you can do right from home.

By: Adam Bornstein

There’s a little trick that all of the world’s best trainers know. It’s a way to help improve longevity, boost mental well-being and reduce stress, suppress cravings, increase the number of carbs you can eat, strengthen bones, and help with strength, muscle gain, and fat loss. 

All of those benefits can be achieved by adding a little resistance to your workouts. And, it only takes one dumbbell. We’re such big believers in resistance training that we partnered with our friends at Nautilus to show you how their Bowflex systems make it convenient for you to train at home.

The trick? It’s understanding that you don’t need to spend endless hours lifting weights to unlock all of the benefits you want. In fact, some research suggests that an 11-minute workout is good for your heart, body weight, mind, and lifespan.

This new research might change the way you think about workouts and remove your need for a gym membership.

Are Shorter Workouts Better?

For decades, people have debated how much time you need to exercise to see results. Today, the question is less about whether you need to work out longer or short and more about what you’re trying to accomplish. 

If you want to be fit, healthy, and have a strong mind and body, then you’ll want to include resistance training as part of your exercise routine. But, you don’t need a full gym, machines, or to spend hours to get great results. As you’ll soon find out, a pair of adjustable dumbbells can provide everything you need. 

Research has looked at “exercise snacks” or tiny bouts of exercise. These snacks are shorter than any workouts you’ve probably ever tried. They can be an intense burst of 20 seconds, repeated 3-4 times, and repeated 3-4 times throughout the day. 

In other words, you can push yourself hard for 2 minutes, break for a few hours, and repeat a few more times, and see results such as improved heart health, better weight management, and increased strength and quality of life. 

We often think that strength training is about becoming bulky. But, over the last 20 years, researchers have found that strength is the key to a long list of health benefits that go far beyond gaining muscle.

The key to those benefits? It’s not working out for long or with super heavy weights, but you do need to push hard. And your ability to challenge your muscles is best accomplished by adding resistance, which challenges you by ensuring you’re progressing and getting stronger.

If you add resistance to your workouts — just as little as 2 to 3 times per week — your life and health can be immeasurably better. 

There’s just one problem. While short workouts are great, the idea of driving to the gym for a 10-minute workout just isn’t practical. After all, your commute is probably longer than the workout itself. 

And, while your health shouldn’t take a back seat, that’s a lot easier said than done when you are juggling work, kids, and dozens of other daily responsibilities. 

The bad news? While bodyweight training is great, at some point, it helps to add resistance to provide a challenge that forces your body to adapt, become stronger, and healthier. 

The good news? Your body doesn’t care how you create resistance. While fancy machines are fine, they’re not necessary. In fact, if short workouts feel like a better way to consistently exercise, then machines are probably the least convenient option for your needs. And remember: a workout you do consistently is the most important factor for seeing results that will last. 

FitOn Favorites: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

If you want to work out from home but don’t want all the equipment, this is our favorite pick. We love these dumbbells. Everything from their look and feel, to how they can help everyone from a beginner to someone more advanced. 

The dumbbells are made for all levels of experience, offering weight from 5 pounds all the way up to 52.5 pounds. Plus, they have a grip that doesn’t tear up your hands and a storage tray that keeps your weights off the floor and prevents any damage. (For an added bonus, we highly recommend the Bowflex 5.1 Stowable bench. It can be used for any exercise and folds up so you can put it under your bed or in a closet.)

If you need adjustable dumbbells, these are our pick!

The 1-Dumbbell Workout

If you’ve used FitOn, you know the benefits and convenience of at-home workouts. And, bodyweight training can take you a long way. 

But, if you’re looking for added resistance to make your interval training harder and shorter, you don’t need to worry about building an entire home gym. You just need a single pair of adjustable dumbbells, and you can transform your home into a gym at a fraction of the cost, and without taking up much space. 

At FitOn, we’re obsessed with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells. They replace 15 different pairs of dumbbells and only take up about 16 inches of floor space. This means any corner of your house can easily be transformed into a home gym in seconds. And, it means that these 2 dumbbells give you endless variations for workouts, like the one we’ve created below. 

To transform your mind and body, we put together a workout that’s inspired by the research that proved 10-minute workouts can dramatically improve your health. 

It combines the best of interval training in a way that will help you push hard for short intervals, rest for short intervals, and be done in just 10 minutes

On each exercise, select your weight or adjust the dumbbells (if you have the Bowflex SelectTech) to a weight that you can perform approximately 20 reps. During the minute of exercise, you can rest as needed, but try to push yourself as much as possible without risking injury. Remember, the secret to the effectiveness of these super short workouts is pushing the intensity and then being able to take a bring. 

If you need to adjust your weight on each set, that’s not a problem. For example, if rows are easier for you than lunges, just use the appropriate weight and do the best you can!

Here’s your 10-minute, 1-pair of dumbbells workout:

Exercise 1: Dumbbell row (1-minute)

Exercise 2: Walk in place (1-minute)

Exercise 3: Dumbbell lunge (1-minute)

Exercise 4: Walk in place (1-minute)

Exercise 5: Dumbbell overhead press (1-minute)

Exercise 6: Walk in place (1-minute)

Exercise 7: Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (1-minute)

Exercise 8: Walk in place (1-minute)

Exercise 9: Dumbbell Squat (1-minute)

Exercise 10: Walk in place (1-minute)

Once you complete all 10 exercises, that’s it! You can do this 3 to 4 times per week and watch your health improve.