Welcome to the Men’s Health Dumbbell Club, your new weekly plan for a fitter, stronger body with just two dumbbells.
With 20-40 minute workouts designed to add lean muscle, build fitness, and increase strength, your weekly dose of dumbbell goodness drops weekly.
You can go back to see weeks one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, or just check out our latest offerings— Week 12 and follow the program from here.
New this week…
We are entering the second and final week of us ‘repeat and beat’ phase. This week we look back at our reps, sets and weights from week 2 of the Centurion Phase (Week 10), with the goal of getting bigger, lifting harder, finishing stronger and bettering our previous high scores . With more reps, sets and total volume in the notebook, you’re pushing your muscles harder than ever – the principle of ‘progressive overload‘, and making sure that visible growth doesn’t lag far behind your new found strength gains.
In the first two weeks of the Centurion phase, your goal was to reach 100 reps of each move in as few high-quality sets as possible. Now your goal is to get there even faster, while maintaining the same perfect form, muscle-building pace and consistent breath-based rest periods.
As an example, if the front squats you did on day one broke up into sets of-
16, 14, 15, 12, 12, 10, 8, 5, 5, 3
With 15 deep breaths between each effort; your goal this week is to beat each of those sets, with the same rest between each, resulting in fewer total sets, for the same goal of 100 reps.
If this is your first week on the program and you don’t want to go back and start at a previous week, aim to complete all 100 reps in as few sets as possible, close to muscle failure but a collapse of your avoid muscles. shape and pace.
Coach’s Tip: Use a notebook with pen and paper to keep track of your workouts and try to avoid Instagram doomscrolling between sets. While there’s nothing wrong with this in itself, it will help you optimize your rest and ultimately maximize your gains if you stay aware of your breathing and focus on the reps ahead.
DAY ONE (W12/D1)
After a thorough warm-up, grab your bells and get to work. If you have a selection of weights, choose a few that you clean no more than 15-20 times. Push each set as close as possible to “technical failure” (the point where your form or pace begins to falter). Between each effort, count your reps and focus on taking 10-15 deep abdominal breaths before jumping right back in. Continue in this manner until you reach 100 reps, then move on to the next move.
Be sure to note how many individual sets each move took to complete, this is the number we will try to beat in future outings.
1. Front Squat x 100 reps
Clean your dumbbells on the front of your shoulders (a). From here, move into a front squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (B), before driving back explosively. Hold those dumbbells high, with a strong, upright torso throughout.
2. Dumbbell hang cleans x 100 reps
Stand up straight and keep your dumbbells at your side. Hinge at the hips to lower them to your knees (a). Explosively stand back up with a light bounce, stand on your toes and use the momentum to pull the dumbbells up to your shoulders (B). Stand up straight, lower to your side under control, and repeat.
3. Dumbbell floor (or bench press) x 100 reps
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Press the weights overhead and lock your elbows (a). Slowly lower them until your upper arms rest on the floor (B), close to your body, pause here before explosively pushing back up. If you have a couch, use it.
4. Split Squat Jump x 100 Reps (Body Weight Only)
Finally, finish with a bodyweight lung blaster. Step one foot back and sink into a deep lunge, letting your back knee lightly touch the floor (a). Explode up, jump into the air and switch legs during the jump (B) to land in a lunge position with the opposite leg forward. Repeat the movement, alternating legs each rep. Focus on getting as much “air time” as possible, keeping each rep explosive.
DAY TWO (W12/D2)
Just like on the first day, warm up enough and jump right in. If you have weights to choose from, choose a set of dumbbells or kettlebells that you can row no more than 20 reps without seriously compromising your form.
1. Lean-forward row x 100 reps
Stand up straight with your dumbbells at your side. Hinge forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor and let the dumbbells hang just below your knees (a). Keeping a flat back, row both dumbbells toward your hips (B), squeeze your shoulder blades down and back before slowly lowering your bells back to the starting position. To repeat.
2. Tempo push-ups on dumbbells x 100 reps
After your last row, drop your bells to the floor and assume a long armed plank position, with your core tight and hands gripping your dumbbells (A)bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest to the floor for a strict count of three seconds (b). Keep your elbows close to your body and pause for a second, feeling the deep stretch through your chest as you push back explosively. Break your set if you lose control of your descent or explode back up.
3. Dumbbell Deadlift x 100 reps
With your dumbbells on the floor just outside your feet, hinge down and grab them with a flat back and neutral spine (a). Engage your lats and stand up straight, “pushing the ground” with your feet, keeping your chest up and black flat throughout the body (B). Lower them to the floor in a pivoting motion and repeat. Avoid excessive rounding in your lower back and keep your form tight throughout. If you can no longer maintain your form, take a rest.
4. Jump Squats x 20
Finally, let’s turn up the heat. Lean forward slightly while squatting (a), then explode and jump as high as you can (B). Kiss your landing with legs bent, then immediately sink back into another squat and repeat. Aim for the maximum possible height you can reach on each rep, taking a deep breath as soon as you begin to slacken.
DAY THREE (W12/D3)
If you have a selection of weights, choose a pair that will allow you to perform no more than 15-20 presses in your first set. If your weights are a bit on the light side, stick to “strict pressure” and only tighten your legs to help as you begin to flag. However, note which set this happened on.
1. Overhead or Push Press x 100 reps
Clean your dumbbells on your shoulders, palms facing inward. Take a deep breath and create tension in your core. (A) Dive onto the knees and use your legs to assist (b) press your dumbbells overhead. Lower at a strictly controlled pace to your shoulders and repeat. If your weights feel a little too light, don’t use a leg drive and focus on strict pressure from the shoulders.
2. High Pull x 100 reps
Stand up straight with your dumbbells around your waist in front of your body. (A) Keeping your core tight, hinge forward slightly before explosively standing up and pulling the dumbbells up toward your chin, pushing your elbows up and back (b). Slowly lower yourself to your waist, under full control. Avoid simply “dropping” your dumbbells back to your waist to build more muscle and prevent injury. If your dumbbells feel light, avoid the help of your hips and simply stand up straight and pull the weights toward your chin.
3. Goblet Cyclist Squats x 100 reps
Raise your heels on a weight plate, block, or the heads of your other dumbbell. Keep your feet within 6 inches of each other, heels close together. Hold your barbell close to your chest. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, (A) stand up explosively and stop just before locking your legs out to keep tension on the quads (b). To repeat. Push through the burn on this one, and it shall burn.
4. Burpee over ‘clocks x 100
With both dumbbells on the floor beside you, step back and slam the deck into a pushup position. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor (a). Stand back up and jump vigorously over the dumbbells (B) – drive through your hips as you take off. Land and immediately fall to the ground and repeat. The dumbbells hold you accountable for the height of each jump.
As our fitness editor, he prides himself on keeping Men’s Health at the forefront of reliable, relatable and credible fitness information, whether that’s writing and testing thousands of workouts a year, diving deep into the science behind muscle building and fat loss or exploring the psychology of performance and recovery.
Constantly updating his knowledge base with seminars and courses, Andrew loves both practice and theory and regularly puts his training to the test, tackling everything from Crossfit and Strongman competitions to ultramarathons, to multiple 24-hour races. training sessions and (highly unofficial) world record attempts.
You can find Andrew on Instagram at @theandrew.tracey, or you can just hold up a sign for “free pizza” and wait for him to show up.