The first installment of this workout progression involved three beginner moves that use your body weight to work every major muscle group. Once you can execute those with proper form and normal breath, it’s time to add external weight.
Gold’s Gym fitness expert Andy Coggan created this intermediate-level workout to do midway through your 12-week fitness journey.
“Incorporating an external load forces your body to work harder in terms of both strength and stabilization,” Coggan says.
Doing these moves with free weights like dumbbells will strengthen the targeted muscles to prepare you for the more mobile exercises in the advanced-level workout during Week 12.
Coggan suggests doing three sets of these moves three times a week. Remember to warm up for five minutes (try using the beginner moves) and cool down with five minutes of stretching.
Dumbbell goblet squat
Stand with your legs hip-width apart and toes straight ahead or slightly turned out, based on comfort. Hold a dumbbell against your chest with both palms set under the head of the weight (as if holding a water goblet). Lift your chest and straighten your back as you lower your hips, keeping your knees in line with your feet. Once you’ve gone as low as you comfortably can (ideally to the point where your hips are level with your knees), return to standing.
Coggan suggests starting with 10 to 25 pounds. You want your muscles to feel fatigue (the moves will take effort and you’ll feel the burn), but if you are unable to maintain proper form, you need to reduce the amount of weight.
The goal: 10 reps to target your glutes, hips, thighs and lower legs.
Dumbbell bench press
Lie back on a bench with dumbbells positioned at chest height. Maintain a 45-degree angle between your torso and elbows and press the weights straight up until your arms are fully extended. Then slowly lower the weights back to chest level.
Again, the right weight is dependent on your ability to stay true to form. A good range is anywhere from 10 to 50 pounds, Coggan says.
The goal: 10 reps to work your shoulders, chest and triceps.
3. Bent-over dumbbell rows
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back flat, hinge forward at the waist until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor. Extend your arms straight down with control and then pull the weights back up toward your hips and torso. Repeat, taking care to brace your spine by contracting your abs throughout the movement.
Coggan suggests a weight range between 10 and 35 pounds, depending on what you need to maintain good form.
The goal: 10 reps to target the biceps and upper-back muscles.
Stay tuned for the advanced-level workout progression, plus review the beginner workout: