Work Out in Less Time: The Power Pairs Dumbbell Workout

Multitask your way to a better bod with these two-in-one strength-training exercisesMultitask your way to a better bod with these two-in-one strength-training …In successful relationships, partners bring out the best in each other. The same can be said of fitness moves. Certain exercises are more effective when paired up than when done alone. "Doing two moves at the same time--each targeting an opposing or unrelated muscle group-allows you to train harder without exhausting a single group too quickly," says certified personal trainer Katrina Hodgson, CEO and cofounder of ToneItUp.com and Tone It Up fitness studio in Los Angeles, who created this workout. "This method of training also boosts total-body tone and helps sidestep muscular imbalances that can lead to injuries." And the best part: They get you out of the gym in half the time. What's not to love?

Complete this 20-minute circuit three times a week on nonconsecutive days. All you need is a pair of dumbbells (try five to eight pounds) and a stability ball. Go from one exercise to the next without resting in between. When you've completed all eight moves, rest for one to two minutes, then repeat the circuit three more times. (If you're really in a pinch, just do as many sets as you can.)

.1. Reverse Lunge with Rotation and Biceps Curl
Targets biceps, core, obliques, quads, hamstrings, and glutes

Hold dumbbells at your sides and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your left foot, and bend both knees to lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees. At the same time, rotate your upper body toward your right leg and curl the dumbbells to your chest. Reverse the movement by lowering the weights and rotating your chest to face front, then return to standing. That's one rep. Do 15, then repeat on the opposite side. (Want to cinch your waist even more? Try these 8 Belly-Blasting Core Exercises.)


.2. Deadlift to High Pull
Targets shoulders, upper back, hamstrings, and glutes


Hold dumbbells in front of you, palms facing your thighs, and stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Keeping your back slightly arched and your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips and slowly lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to return to standing, pulling the dumbbells up to your chest by bending your elbows out to the sides and raising your forearms. Return to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 15.

.3. Stability-Ball Triceps Extension
Targets triceps, core, glutes, and hamstrings

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie with your upper back resting on a stability ball; raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Extend the dumbbells directly over your head with arms straight and palms facing each other. Push your weight into your heels to keep your hips lifted and glutes engaged throughout the move. This is the starting position. Without moving your upper arms, slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your forearms are beyond parallel to the floor. Straighten your elbows to return to start. That's one rep. Do 15 to 20. (Want to give your arms some more love? Try this 15-Minute Arm Workout.)


4. Plank Hold and Single-Arm Row
Targets upper back, lats, shoulders, core, and glutes
Get into pushup position with your hands gripping a pair of dumbbells; your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keeping your hips parallel to the floor (you'll need to engage your core and glutes the entire time), bend your right elbow to pull the weight up toward the side of your body. Pause, then slowly return the weight to the floor and repeat with the left arm. That's one rep. Do 15.



.5. Squat with Leg Abduction and Lateral Raise
Targets shoulders, delts, upper back, outer thighs, glutes, and quads

Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Brace your core and lower your body into a squat. As you return to standing, lift your right leg out to the side while raising your arms until they're in line with your shoulders. Repeat with the left leg, and continue alternating for a total of 16 to 20 reps. (Turn up the burn in your legs and but with The Skinny Jeans Workout.)



6. Hamstring Curl with Chest Press
Targets chest, core, glutes, and hamstrings

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie faceup on the floor with your calves on a stability ball. Straighten your arms and hold the dumbbells above your chest, palms facing your knees, and raise your hips to form a straight line from shoulders to feet. Bend your knees to roll the ball toward your butt, while lowering the dumbbells to your chest. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Do 15. (If you lose balance during part B, do the exercise as two movements: First pull the ball toward you, then do the press.)


7. V-Sit Incline Press
Targets biceps, triceps, shoulders, upper back, core, and quads


Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders, as shown. Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle, then lift your lower legs until they're parallel to the floor, keeping your knees bent. Engage your core and press the dumbbells up and away from your body until your arms are straight. Return to start. That's one rep. Do 15 to 20.



8. Side Plank with Rear Fly
Targets shoulders, upper back, obliques, and core


Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and lie on your left side, then prop yourself up on your left forearm and raise your hips so your body forms a straight line. Extend the weight in front of you at shoulder level. Slowly raise the weight toward the ceiling, keeping your arm straight and pulling your shoulder blades together. Return to start. That's one rep. Do 12 to 15, then switch sides.


--By Jen Ator, Women's Health

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