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In January the gym goes absolutely crazy, filling with eager new members who are trying to lose weight, see off the Christmas excess and stick to their new years resolutions. If you don’t know what you’re doing in there it can be a nightmare – you’re waiting for kit, struggling to find space and sometimes have to give up on a workout altogether.

It needn’t be like that though. If you have a good plan, an idea of what you’d like to achieve and a little determination, this workout can be done with one simple item of kit and a little bit of space.

If you know what to do, you’ll never miss a workout again, even when the gym is full to bursting!

One Kit Workout For a Busy Gym – Dumbbells

Dumbbells are a fantastic bit of kit for a number of reasons….


They don’t take up much room, you can pick them up and carry them to your workout area. When you’re there, you don’t have to take up much room to exercise, so not only are they a time saver, they’re a space-saver too.


One of the most overlooked benefits of dumbbells is that they’re uni-lateral. This means each side of the body has to work on its own, which is great because it means you don’t end up relying on the one side all of the time, which can happen if you only use barbells or machines.


Dumbbells are really versatile – they can be used for almost all of the exercises a barbell or even kettlebell can be used for, so you don’t really have to edit your workout much, so you’re still getting quality training sessions in.


Dumbbells aren’t (with some exceptions) adjustable, so you can save a lot of time in your workout by not adjusting weights up and down. If you’re in a busy gym or you need to get in and out, this can be a massive benefit to using dumbbells for your workout.

The One Kit Workout

We’re looking for the most benefit from the least amount of time here, so we’re going to go for a full body workout, which is entirely possible with dumbbells. We also have to pick our dumbbells wisely – we’re aiming for a pair that are heavy enough to challenge the lower body, but can still be lifted for upper body exercises. For most men with training experience, a weight in the high teens/low twenties will be OK.

Warming up

In this case the warm up should be quick, but widely varied and sufficient for the workout ahead of us. There are lots of bodyweight warm ups that require no equipment but are an excellent pre-workout prep. Something like this in the video below is the kind of thing you should be doing…

The Workout

To allow you to keep the intensity high throughout the workout, we will superset (perform a pair of exercises back to back without resting between) exercises using different body parts. This means one part of the body rests whilst the other is working. A further benefit is that the overall workout time is much shorter, so you can get in and out of the busy gym in less time than you’d expect!

Superset 1: Dumbbell Power Snatch and Dumbbell Jump Squats

These two are big, powerful exercises that take up a lot of energy, so I’ve put them at the start. The idea is to do them whilst you’re still fresh.

Perform a set of 10 power snatches per side, then a set of 10 jump squats.

Repeat the superset 4 times, resting 1 minute in between.

Superset 2: Dumbbell Push Ups and Dumbbell Rows

This superset is designed to give the legs a rest and focusses on the upper body. The chest works, allowing the back to rest on the push ups, then the opposite happens with the rows.

Perform 10 of each, resting for 1 minute.

Repeat the superset 4 times.

Superset 3 – Alternating Reverse Dumbbell Lunges with Russian Twists

In this superset we’re alternating a leg exercise with an abdominal exercise, making sure we give the upper body a good rest ahead of a finisher at the end of the workout.

Perform sets of 20 reverse alternating lunges (10 per leg) with 20 Russian twists.

Rest 1 minute, then repeat x 4.

Burpee Finisher

This is a simple exercise, but is really, really tough!

Do 1 set of these, completing as many reps as you can. Aim for at least 10.

Once you’ve done as many of these as you can, put the dumbbells back and leave the gym!

One Kit Workout For a Busy Gym: Concluded

If you’re avoiding the gym at the moment because you’re worried it’ll be too busy for you to have a great workout, don’t. This proves you can still have a great workout without using all kinds of bits of equipment. It’s a simple workout, easy to follow and yet very effective.

Follow this workout and you’ll really learn you don’t need much kit to train hard!

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