You Can Do This Extreme Home Fat-Loss Workout With Just A Pair Of Dumbbells
Don't make not going to gym your excuse to not work out. Get the job done at home

November 11, 2016

Ever seen a photo of Mark Wahlberg’s old home gym? (He sold the property.) It was loaded.

Reportedly, the space was 2,500 square feet, with 18-foot ceilings. It housed racks of dumbbells, weight plates, and pre-loaded barbells, along with variety of benches and other necessities. There was a catwalk with cardio machines, and yes, a regulation-size boxing ring right in the middle of it all. Oh, and a full-size basketball court just outside. Plus, a massage table. (Naturally.)

Now, it might be tempting to think, If I had access to all that stuff—at my home!—I’d be in great shape, too!
But sorry, that’s just not true. Right now, basements are filled with dusty fitness equipment, from infomercial weight machines to expensive state-of-the-art treadmills.

The truth is, it takes very little—in terms of equipment—to get fit. What it really requires is time, know-how, and effort. “The latter is the most important,” says Men’s Health fitness adviser BJ Gaddour, CSCS, and CEO of “And I can help with the rest, including the equipment.”
Our challenge to him was this: How do you design a cutting-edge fat-loss workout that requires very little equipment and maximizes every second of your time?

Gaddour’s super-simple solution: the “dumbbell complex.”

This genius workout method allows you to get in the toughest workout of your life using just a single pair of dumbbells. An extreme workout, if you will. For men, 6-10 kilogram dumbbells will likely do the trick; for women, all that’s needed is a pair of 3-5 kilogram dumbbells.

How does it work? You do three exercises, back-to-back-to back, for 30 seconds each without resting. Then you catch a breather for 90 seconds, and repeat for several rounds. You can also alternate between complexes of different exercises. But that’s for starters. To make the workouts even harder, you can reduce the rest between rounds. This increases the intensity for even better results—for both fitness and for fat loss.

An important point: These complexes aren’t comprised of random exercises that have been thrown together. Gaddour carefully chooses the movements so that the weights are challenging for each exercise, and to allow a smooth transition between moves while avoiding excessive “cross-fatigue.” This enables you to work your hardest on each exercise for the entire 30 seconds, but still be able to go several rounds.

The upshot: You work your entire body from head to toe, and at a high intensity. “This is called ‘metabolic resistance training,’ and it’s the most effective way to quickly burn calories and boost your metabolism,” says Gaddour. “You can do it almost anywhere, including your living room, and you don’t have to waste time switching from machine to machine.”

Ready to try it? Then check out the dumbbell complexes below. It’s a time-saving technique that’s expertly designed for the results you want.

Directions: You can do your entire workout using either Dumbbell Complex 1 or Dumbbell Complex 2, or use both complexes in the same workout. Simply choose a dumbbell complex and do each exercise within the complex for 30 seconds. Don’t put the dumbbells down or take a breather until you’ve done all three exercises. Then rest for 90 seconds. That’s one round.

After your 90-second rest period is up, you can either repeat Dumbbell Complex 1 or move on to Dumbbell Complex 2. Simply follow the same procedure, and then rest again. (That’s two rounds.) Once you’ve rested, repeat the entire process until you’ve completed a total of 6 rounds. This is what Gaddour calls Level 1. It’s the best place to start. And it takes less than 18 minutes, but it’ll likely be all you want. If you feel like you need to work harder, you can move to Level 2 or Level 3, where you’ll decrease the rest and increase the number of rounds.

Note: A typical rep-range for each exercise is about 8 to 12 reps. If you’re consistently getting more than 15 reps, the weight is too light. (Or you need to move to Level 2 or Level 3.) If you’re consistently completing 6 reps or less, the dumbbells are too heavy. Also, for any single-leg or single-arm exercises, switch sides halfway through each work period. So you’d switch arms or legs at the 15-second mark of an exercise.

Level 2: To make it harder, decrease your rest time to 60 seconds, and complete a total of 8 rounds.

Level 3: This is really tough. Decrease your rest time to 30 seconds, and complete a total of 10 rounds.


Exercise 1: Close-Hands Pushup
Exercise 2: Dumbbell Skiier Swing
Exercise 3: Overhead Split Squat


Exercise 1: Twisting Curls
Exercise 2: Overhead Triceps Extension
Exercise 3: Single-Arm Deadlift