What are the best possible exercises I can do using 20 lb dumb bells?
November 12, 2007 9:31 AM   Subscribe

What are the best possible exercises I can do for about 20 minutes a day using 2 - 20 lb dumb bells?

I've just received 2 - 20 lb dumb bells from someone. I already do 30 minutes every morning on the treadmill starting out at a warm-up walking pace and finishing with at a quick jog. I'd like to supplement that activity with some basic strength training using these dumb bells. I'd like my overall workout to be less than an hour, so what are the best exercises I can do with these weights to get the most benefit? Also, should I do the strength training before or after the treadmill work?

Bonus Points - I've recently had weight loss surgery and am doing quite well with it, so if there are any exercises or routines aimed at weight loss patients, that'd be even better.
posted by drgonzo2k2 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
You could try going to Cross fit and looking at their large assortment of exercises. But a lot of their stuff is intense and I'm not a doctor so you may want to consult one before pushing it to hard.
posted by alexplainlater at 9:34 AM on November 12, 2007

"Overhead press" or "Arnold press"; works neck, shoulders, triceps.

"Renegade row": it has a stupid name but it's a good whole-body exercise.

Lunges. Good for your lower body.

I'd give you some links but if you just google those terms you'll find the same links I will.
posted by creasy boy at 9:35 AM on November 12, 2007

It doesn't involve dumbbells, but ignignokt and I have been doing a 20-minute bodyweight circuit-training routine twice weekly, usually on days when we don't jog or go to the gym. I can't do a pull-up to save my life, so I substitute two burpees for each pull-up.

It is twenty minutes of absolute hell, but it works.

For the dumbbells, squats and lunges are awesome; here are a bajillion other dumbbell exercises you could try (I'd go for the "compound" rather than "isolation" exercises.) When I go to the gym I always do strength training after cardio. I'm not sure if it's better one way or the other, but it feels better to me.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Body For Life is a lovely little book I think you will find useful. It has a 20 minute cardio component which kicks your ass as well as a weight training component which is slightly longer.

It is full of great exercises with dumbbells. But, most importantly, it gives you a quick primer on how to get into shape. That is, how to use cardio, weight training, nutrition, and mental health to achieve your fitness goals.

Highly recommended. I think especially for your situation.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2007

Here's my dumbbell exercise plan. I do 3 sets of 8-12 reps, increasing the weight and dropping back to 8 reps when I can do 12. It usually takes me about an hour. I always try to do 2 exercises for each general area -- I seem to get better results that way.

Chest: DB Bench Press and Flys

Arms: Curl and Hammer Curl (for upper arms); Wrist Curl and Reverse Wrist Curl (for lower arms)

Shoulders: Shoulder Press, Dumbbell Shrug, and Front Raise

Back: Bent-Over Row

Legs: DB Squat and Calf Raise

General: Dumbbell Deadlift (this works your hamstrings as well as all of those supporting muscles in your trunk, great for overall strength).

Since you want to fit your training into 20 minutes, I would suggest working on two or three of these areas per day (for example: chest and arms one day and then legs, shoulders, and back the next). If it takes you longer than 20 minutes to do the exercises, just concentrate on fewer of them per day until you get the hang of it.

If you end up liking weight training, I suggest getting a pair of adjustable dumbbells (the ones that are essentially a handle that you put weights on). That way, you can increase the weight when the 20lb. ones become easy to lift. If there's a Play It Again Sports or a similar shop where you are, that's a great place to get used weights cheaply.
posted by vorfeed at 2:28 PM on November 12, 2007 [5 favorites]

That workout that Metroid Baby and Ignignokt link to comes from crossfit, I think. At the very least, the day one workout does. It's called 'Cindy', and people on the crossfit website are able to get more than 20 rounds in 20 minutes. I recently did 16 rounds, and was pleased as punch. A butt kicker for sure. So here are some other crossfit workouts I can think of that require little to no equipment, and hurt.

50-40-30-20-10 rep rounds of double unders and situps. A double under is a jump roping move that you complete by passing the rope under your feet twice in one jump. Jump higher, spin the rope faster.

Crossfit Michael: Run 800 meters (0.5 miles) then do 50 back extensions and 50 situps. Repeat three times.

There are tons of them, actually. Go to www.crossfit.com and peruse the workout of the day (wod) archive. Many of them require minimal equipment. There is also a whole section of exercises demonstrated on video. Great workout resource.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 4:57 PM on November 12, 2007

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