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Dumbbell-Only Full Body Workout for Women (Beginner Friendly!)

published: March 30, 2024

updated: March 30, 2024

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Got 20 minutes? Grab a pair of dumbbells and let’s get to work!

This full-body dumbbell workout for women will leave you feeling strong and accomplished in just 20 minutes. There’s no need to worry about spending hours in the gym, you can see great results and make significant progress towards your goals with short, intentional training workouts like this one. 

Inside the FHM+ App, we have 3, 3-day dumbbell-only full-body workout programs that show you how you can spend an hour or less per week on strength training and see incredible results. After you crush this workout, consider joining the app so you can enjoy strategic programming and the benefits of tracking and logging your workouts in an easy-to-use app!

Purpose of This Workout

The purpose of this workout is to target all of the major muscle groups in your body using traditional strength training movements. We programmed this workout to be challenging but also scaleable. Whether you’re brand new to weight training, just coming back after some time off, or a seasoned pro, you’ll find that you can tailor your workout to fit your specific needs.

Upon completion of this workout, you’ll feel strong, confident, and encouraged to continue giving yourself just 20 minutes a day to work on building a strong, healthy, and capable body that ages gracefully.

Equipment Required

This 20-minute dumbbell full-body workout requires only a set of dumbbells!

The weight you select for this workout will depend on your fitness level and access to equipment. A general guideline is as follows:

Beginners: 5-10 lbs.

Intermediate: 12-15 lbs.

Advanced: 15-30 lbs.

What If I Don’t Have Dumbbells?

If you don’t have access to a pair of dumbbells, this workout can be done using bodyweight only. 

Beginner-Friendly (Dumbbell-Only) Workout for Women

This workout includes 5 movements that will target and train your full body and should take about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Weighted Squat

dumbbell squat starting position
dumbbell squat lowered position

Starting with a classic lower body movement, the weighted squat. This movement can be performed multiple ways, with your dumbbells held at your shoulders or at your sides, whichever is most comfortable for you. 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
  2. Hold a barbell or dumbbell at shoulder height or down by your sides.
  3. Keep your chest up, your back straight, and your core engaged.
  4. Begin to lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back (as if you’re about to sit in a chair).
  5. Lower until your knees are in line with your toes or as low as you can get comfortably.
  6. Push through your heels to return to your starting position.

Push-Ups

push up starting position
push up bottom position

Push-ups target your entire upper body and core. These are a classic movement that can easily be modified to fit your current abilities. If you’re unable to perform a full push yet, drop to your knees and perform a modified push-up. 

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your wrists aligned under your shoulders.
  2. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  3. Lower your body toward the ground, bending at your elbows, keeping them close to the sides of your body.
  4. Go as low as you’re able, getting your chest as close to the ground as possible, before pushing back up through your palms to your starting position.

Bent Over Rows

Bent over row starting position
Bent over row ending position

Performing bent-over rows allows you to work your back and arms at the same time. This movement is a staple for building and maintaining a strong back and good posture.

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees, and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your body.
  2. Hinge at your hips, maintaining a straight back. Lean your torso forward so it is parallel to the ground. Keep your chest up.
  3. Engage your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Pull the dumbbells up towards your torso, keeping them close to your body. Squeeze your back muscles at the top of the movements.
  5. Return the dumbbells to the starting position

Front Lunge

Front lunge starting position
Front lunge ending position

Front lunges are excellent for working your entire lower body, but specifically, your quads. This movement can be performed with dumbbells or bodyweight only, depending on your current ability.

  1. Begin by standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging by your sides.
  2. Take a step forward with your right foot, lowering your body until both of your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Maintain alignment with your knee and ankle and keep your back knee hovering just above the ground. Keep your torso upright and your chest lifted. 
  4. Return to the starting position by pushing off your right foot.

Shoulder Press

dumbbell shoulder press starting position
Dumbbell shoulder press ending position

A dumbbell shoulder press is a staple movement for strengthening and toning your shoulder muscles. This movement can be formed seated on a bench or standing, whichever is most comfortable.

  1. Begin by holding a dumbbell in each hand resting at shoulder level.
  2. Engage your core and keep a neutral spine.
  3. Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended. Don’t lock out your elbows.
  4. Keep your elbows slightly in front of your shoulders during the movement.
  5. Lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder height. 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.

Keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine.

Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended, but not locked out.

Keep your elbows slightly in front of your shoulders throughout the movement.

Plank

Forearm plank hold

Planks are a tried and true core movement that’s very simplistic in nature, but may take some time to improve your ability to hold for extended periods. If holding a traditional plank isn’t possible right now, drop to your knees and work your way up.

  1. Begin in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
  2. Engage your core and keep your neck neutral. Your gaze should be at the floor.
  3. Hold this position for the prescribed amount of time, or until you can no longer hold it with proper form. 
  4. Gradually increase the duration of your plank holds over time as your strength improves.

Dumbbell-Only Full-Body Workout (20 Minutes!)

Now that we have the 5 movements, let’s put them all together into a 20-minute workout that will torch your whole body.

Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of sets and reps before moving on to the next exercise. Enjoy! If you try this workout, be sure to tag me on social media so I can see & share! @fithealthymacros

Dumbbell only full body workout plan

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About the author, Tami Smith

Hi, I'm Tami, a certified macro coach, nutritionist and personal trainer! I love creating and sharing quick and easy macro-friendly recipes, and working out in my garage gym!

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