Everyday Health & Fitness Parenting

“MDD’s 15-Minute Full-Body Dumbbell Workout”

I’ve always been a fan of minimalist workouts. I refuse to believe that you have to spend thousands of dollars on complicated equipment or the expensive fees of a gym membership just to create a body would like to have. Beyond that, exercise does wonders for your body physically and emotionally and many of us have lives that are so busy we aren’t afforded the luxury of taking time out to go to the gym.

The reason I like working out at home, or in my garage to be more specific, is that I can do it on my own time. If you can be committed and motivate yourself, you pretty much have everything you need in your own body to stay fit. I’ve always enjoyed the creativity and challenge of bodyweight workouts and have fun keeping my body tuned with natural ranges of motion and physical play. Occasionally I like to grab a piece of equipment though, and that would be the dumbbell.

The thing that makes dumbbells so great is that they don’t take up a lot of space, are relatively inexpensive, you don’t need a spotter, and they can help you use your muscles in a realistic and functional way. 15 minutes is about all you need to pump yourself up whether it be first thing in the morning, on your lunch break, or late at night after your kids have been tucked away in bed. I can never stress enough how part of being a great parent is taking time for yourself and also being healthy enough to provide the best for your children both physically and mentally.

Without further adieu’ I’m going to introduce you to my favorite 15-minute full-body dumbbell workout. The reason I like full body workouts is that I don’t have the time to work out every day. Who does? Three days a week lifting weights is more than enough for most people if you have moderate fitness goals. This gives you adequate time to rest as well. I don’t believe you need to spend a great deal of time sweating and grunting to see changes of strength in your body either. 15 to 30 minutes again, seems more than enough for most people.

The First step: Pick a weight that is challenging but not impossible for you to use effectively. Generally, in my experience, the best size of weight is one that you can perform an exercise with for 8 to 12 reps but not much more. If you have no problem doing 20 reps then pick a little heavier of a weight.

Now that you have your dumbbells it’s time for the fun. Here is The Workout.

Modern Day Dad’s 15-Minute Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

This is a circuit type work out. What that means is do one set of each exercise without rest all the way through the fifth exercise. Afterwords rest for one minute and then repeat for a total of three times.

1. I like to start with a push-up. Push-ups are a great body weight exercise but with dumbbells they can be a little more challenging. Place your dumbbells parallel on the floor about shoulders width. Perform as many push-ups as he can right off the bat with the weights under your hands. Ask if your push-up a little different of a dimension. I try and knock out 20 push-ups right off the bat.

2. Clean and press. Put the dumbbells in front of you on the floor and bend down to grab them while keeping your chest up and your back flat. Explosively extend your hips, shrug, and pull away it’s up to your shoulder level. Press them overhead. Do this for 6 to 8 reps.

3. Romanian deadlifts. They sound tough don’t they? Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs and keep your feet about hips width apart. Bend forward and push your hips back until you can’t keep the arch in your lower back. It’s okay if you have to let your knees bend a little. Extend your hips to come back up to starting position. Do this for about 12 to 15 reps.

4. Squats. You either love squats or hate them, but you will definitely feel them in the morning. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand up straight. Scott as low as possible without rounding your lower back and perform 12 to 15 reps of these.

5. Last but not least a two-handed dumbbell row. Bend forward at the hips just like you did in the Romanian deadlifts. Row both weights up to your sides. Perform 6 to 8 of these guys.

Take a minute to rest and complete the circuit again two more times.

After this workout if I have the time I like to get in a light jog, a little yoga, or maybe just some jump rope. You’d be amazed not only how much your body and mind will transform if you stick with it, but just how great you will start to feel over all. I know at least for me when I started getting interested in fitness I really didn’t know where to start. I have run the whole spectrum from starting out simple and then trying my hand with fancy equipment and gyms only to find myself back at a place of simplicity. It works for me and hopefully it will bring the change in you that you have been waiting to see. Good luck and have fun!




  • MoeMan on February 23, 2015

    Out of curiosity, what kind of Kettlebells do you use? How many do you have? And where did you pick them up – locally, or online? Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Dad on February 23, 2015

      I’ve been using the primal bells from They look cool and have a large handle for good grip strength. If you think kettlebells that look like apes are lame, makes some good ones as well. My local sports authority has some decent ones as well and you don’t have to pay shipping that way. However a good kb will last nearly forever, so over the course of use its a pretty small investment. For kids I think the quality is less important , given it doesn’t have a seam or other flaw that could hurt them, but that form and execution of the exercises should be the goal as they can quickly progress to larger sizes. Typically I think the three best sizes (and you really only need one, not pairs) for an adult male would be the pood (36lbs best for starting out and learning basics and still a challenge!), pood and a half (53) standard for Russian military and the 2 pood (72) domain for strength builders) Start with the pood, it’s a workout! Let me know how it goes!

  • MoeMan on February 23, 2015

    Awesome, thanks for the info!


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