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1. Plie Squat
Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, adductors
Set Up: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out at 45-degree angles. Grasp a single dumbbell with both hands, letting it hang naturally between your legs.
Action: Inhale as you bend at the knees into a squat, stopping when your thighs are almost parallel to the ground. Push through your heels to return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes and pushing your pelvis forward at the top of the motion. Repeat for eight to 10 reps.
2. Dumbbell Row
Target Muscles: latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids
Set Up: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing toward your body. Lean forward from your hips at a 45-degree angle and bend your knees slightly. Extend your arms so that they are in front of your knees, keeping a tight stretch within your arms and upper back.
Action: Exhale as you pull the dumbbells toward your chest, flaring your elbows out to the sides. Retract your shoulder blades as you pull. Hold for a count before inhaling and slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
3. Alternating Dumbbell Curl
Target Muscles: biceps brachii
Set Up: Sit on a bench with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward.
Action: With your upper arms tight to the sides of your body and your shoulder blades retracted, flex your right elbow to bring the dumbbell toward your right shoulder. Pause, then inhale and lower slowly to the starting position. Repeat on the left side for one rep; do 10 to 12 reps in total.
4. Dumbbell Step-Up
Target Muscles: quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves
Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart in front of a tall bench (it should be slightly higher than your knees). Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, allowing your arms to hang naturally at your sides. Maintain a neutral spine and retract your shoulder blades for good form.
Action: Place your right foot on the bench so that your sole is fully supported. Push through your right heel to raise your body onto the bench, letting your left foot dangle just off of its surface. Perform eight to 10 reps on your right leg, then do the same on your left.
5. Flat-Bench Dumbbell Chest Press
Target Muscles: pectoralis major (sternal aspect)
Set Up: Lie face up on a bench with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, bringing your upper arms parallel to your shoulders and your wrists above your elbows.
Action: Exhale as you raise the dumbbells up and over your chest, stopping just short of touching the heads. Inhale as you slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.
6. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Target Muscles: middle deltoids
Set Up: Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, aligning your upper arms with your shoulders and your wrists directly above your elbows. Your palms should now be facing forward.
Action: Exhale and press the weights upward, bringing them about an inch apart above your head. Pause for a count before inhaling and lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions.
7. Seated Triceps Extension
Target Muscles: triceps brachii (long head)
Set Up: Sit on a flat bench or low-backed seat. Hold a single dumbbell with both hands and position it behind your neck, keeping your upper arms close to your ears and your forearms parallel to the floor.
Action: Extend your arms to bring the weight above your head, being careful not lock your elbows. Your upper arms should remain stationary beside your head at all times. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position, ensuring it does not drop past parallel to the floor. Repeat for eight to 10 reps.
8. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, erector spinae
Set Up: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body.
Action: Inhale as you lean forward from your hips, lowering the dumbbells past your knees. Hold when you feel a deep stretch in the back of your thighs. Exhale and contract your hamstrings to bring your body back to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 10 reps.
9. Cross-Bench Pullover
Target Muscles: latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, triceps brachii
Set Up: Support your shoulders on the broad side of a flat bench and position your feet hip-width apart, thighs parallel to the floor for stability. Hold the head of a single dumbbell with both hands, extending your arms above your chest. Do not lock your elbows.
Action: Move your arms in an arc to bring the dumbbell directly behind your head, keeping your elbows in a fixed position throughout the move. Do not let your arms extend farther than parallel to the floor. Exhale as you raise the weight back to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
10. Standing Dumbbell Cross-Chest Curl
Target Muscles: brachialis, biceps brachii
Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, grasping a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing forward.
Action: With your upper arms tight to the sides of your body and your shoulder blades retracted, flex your right elbow to bring the dumbbell toward your left shoulder. Pause, then inhale and slowly lower to the starting position. Complete 10 to 12 reps on the right arm, then switch hands and repeat on the left side.