Dumbbell exercises will help keep the edge at home

Updated: June 5, 2020

Photos: The Farmer Walk (left), Bent-Over Row (center) and Floor Press are among dumbbell exercises.

Note: The following column appeared in the May issue of Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe to WIN. Use Discount Code “May” to get a print copy of WIN’s annual Awards Issue. 

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By Zach Even-Esh

With the current state of COVID-19 and all of us on lock down, there is still no excuse to avoid training. In fact, I always tell wrestlers and athletes alike, if you don’t know anything, you know to run and do push-ups. Those two exercises can build you into a beast.

There are sprints of all types and endless push-up variations. Now, hopefully you’ve got yourself some dumbbells. I’ve seen plenty of used weights for sale on Craig’s List or Facebook marketplace so keep an eye out there yourself. Here’s a list of dumbbell exercises for you to follow from your home. I often train in my backyard. Again, no excuses.

1. Farmer Walk — These are simple and brutally effective. Carry them with both dumbbells at your side or both dumbbells on top of your shoulders. You can also carry with the dumbbells in 2 different positions:
• 1 arm overhead / 1 arm at side
• 1 arm overhead / 1 arm on shoulder
• Carry only 1 dumbbell at a time, this forces the opposing side to stabilize building true “core strength”
• Walk anywhere from 100-200 feet per set.

2. Dumbbell Hang Clean — With your feet/toes straight ahead, sit your hips back and lower dumbbells to slightly above or below the knee. From here, explode upward and pull the dumbbells up. As the dumbbells are pulled up, dip your body under the weights and catch them on top of your shoulders.
• Perform anywhere from 5-10 reps per set.

3. Bent-Over Row — Widen up your stance and squat half way down, chest/torso slightly above parallel. Row the weights into your stomach at the same time or alternating.
• Perform 6-12 reps per set.

4. Hammer Curls — Put a little body nudge into each rep so you can also work your back, shoulders and grip. Don’t make these a pretty exercise. Instead, attack the curls!
• Perform 6-12 reps per set.

5. Squats — You can perform these as a Goblet Squat with one dumbbell or put each dumbbell on your shoulders for a heavier squat.
• Reps can vary from 5-15 reps.

6. Floor Press — For safety, perform these on the grass. You can press dumbbells at the same time or you can alternate arms, working isometric strength with the straight arm while the other arm works.
• Reps can vary from 8-15 per set.
These exercises can be done as a circuit with light or heavy weights. It all works when you do the work.
Add some sprints, push-ups, pull-ups, jumps and lunges and you can dramatically increase your physical and mental toughness.

(Zach Even-Esh is the founder of The Underground Strength Gym, creator of The Underground Strength Coach Certification and the author of The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength. For your free Bodyweight Strength Course, go to http://ZachStrength.com.)