A Dumbbell Workout That Doesn't Require Getting Off the Floor
Sometimes working out is just so much… work. Not to sound painfully lazy, but wouldn't it be nice if you could get stronger and spend time on your back watching New Girl? According to Melody Scharff, a trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City, my dreams aren't that far out of reach: She's hooked us up with a dumbbell workout you can do almost entirely reclined.
"Even if you're horizontal for the whole workout, there are plenty of challenging moves you can do with dumbbells while on your back," Scharff says. "If you truly challenge yourself with the weights you pick (especially for the press movements like chest press and hip bridges!), you'll be glad you have the floor to support you. Take this time to pay extra attention to your form and challenge yourself by slowing down the reps."
So queue up your favorite show, grab a set of dumbbells, and try these six moves for 45 seconds each—all from the comfort of your floor.
Dumbbell Chest Press (for chest and triceps)
Lie on your back, holding your dumbbells, and bring the soles of your feet to the floor, knees pointing up. Bend your elbows so your weights stack over your wrists, then bring your elbows to a 45-degree angle—your arms should look like an arrow.
Press your entire back into the mat and exhale as you push the weights up over your chest. (Try not to let them bang together!) Inhale as you release back down to the floor, then reset and repeat. Pro tip: If you're pressing heavier weights, pick up your dumbbells before lying back, as it's easier on your shoulder joints. Repeat for 10-15 reps or 45 seconds.
Dumbbell Sit-Up to Overhead Press (for core and shoulders)
Hold one dumbbell in each hand and bring them to your chest as you lie back on a mat. From your back, bring the soles of your feet to the floor, knees pointing up. With a big exhale, sit all the way up and press your dumbbells overhead, palms facing each other. Bring the weights back down to shoulder height, then roll back to the mat.
"If you hold the dumbbells even an inch or two ahead of your chest, they actually act as a counterweight, helping you up," Scharff says. But if you want to really feel the core burn, keep the weight touching your chest as you roll up and down! Repeat for 10-15 reps or 45 seconds.
Lateral Leg Raises (for glutes and inner thighs)
Lie on your right side, holding the dumbbell on your left thigh. Stabilize yourself by perching on your right forearm and engage your core as you lift your left leg a foot or so into the air—really try to use your hand to stabilize the weight, not to lift it. Focus on keeping your hips square to avoid rocking forward or backward as you lift.
"Flex your foot and keep your toes pointing straight ahead, not up," says Scharff. "Pointing the toes towards the ceiling is going to create a quad-dominant movement here, and we want to hit the gluteus medius (the sides of your butt)!" Repeat for 15-20 reps or 45 seconds on each side.
Dumbbell Glute Bridges (for glutes)
From your back, bring the soles of your feet to the floor, knees pointing up. With one dumbbell in each hand, rest one on each thigh and press your shoulders and heels into the mat. Exhale to lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your glutes like crazy at the top.
Then, as you lower back down toward the mat, try to hover without actually releasing your butt back down to the ground before lifting again. "You want to already be engaged at the bottom of the bridge and be more engaged at the top," Scharff says. Repeat for 10-15 reps or 45 seconds.
Dumbbell Skullcrushers (for triceps)
Sounds charming, doesn't it? From your back, bring the soles of your feet to the floor, knees pointing up. With one dumbbell in each hand, press them into the air, fingers facing each other. Stack your weights over your wrists and your wrists over your shoulders. Press your lower back into the mat and hinge at the elbows so the weights move toward—you guessed it—your skull, creating a 90-degree angle. You should feel the backs of your arms (your triceps) engage as you re-extend your arms overhead. Repeat for 10-15 reps or 45 seconds.
Dumbbell Scissor Kicks (for core)
If you were worried a floor workout would be too easy, this move will set you straight—and fast. This move starts in a hollow hold position: "Imagine doing a crunch but staying at the top,' Scharff says. From your back, press a set of dumbbells into the air over your mid-chest. Peel your shoulders off the mat while keeping your lower back glued to the ground. Think about pressing the weights toward the ceiling as you scissor your legs, never letting them touch the ground.
This doesn't have to be a fast movement, just big, controlled kicks. You can also do this move with one heavier weight as opposed to two dumbbells. Either way, go for 50 reps or 45 seconds!
Jamey Powell is Greatist's associate fitness editor as well as a NASM certified personal trainer, cycling instructor, yoga teacher, and triathlete. When she isn’t sweating, she’s usually eating or trying to pet someone’s dog. You can follow her antics on Instagram.