Our Top 5 Favourite Exercises (Ideal To Do At Home)

Sep 22, 2019

So this week we’re going to talk training & 5 of my preferred full body exercises.

Firstly, it’s time to talk weights!

Historically, weights have been used by men & feared by the majority of women who don’t want to become too ‘bulky’ or ‘overly muscular’. This is one of the biggest exercise myths out there. 

Women are hormonally programmed entirely differently to men; therefore, it is considerably harder as a female to gain muscle due to the reduced testosterone we have.

As a female, I have found weights both for myself & with my female clients, to get us results quicker, & create a gorgeously lean, strong & toned physique.

Dumbbells are a very versatile bit of kit that allow you to do hundreds of different exercises, no matter your fitness or strength levels, & because of their size, you can stack them away under a bed, in a cupboard, or your allocated exercise area without them taking over your home – unlike an exercise bike or a cross-trainer!

Functional exercises which combine movements we use in everyday life with weights, have been shown to increase strength & balance, & even reduce the risk of injury & the changes of developing diabetes or osteoporosis due to the demand placed on the body the subsequent positive knock-on impact with blood sugar regulation & bone knitting.

Tom & I use dumbbells with every client we work with, be it online or on the island for all the above reasons.

Decathlon, the IKEA of gym equipment, do a great range of dumbbells for a very reasonable price & we’ve found them to be really good quality.

So what should you be doing?

Here are our top 5 full-body moves to incorporate into your training programme today.

1). The Goblet Squat

Back squats are often hailed as the “king of all exercises” due to the fact they work your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, core & upper body in one. They are, however, difficult to get right, & aren’t suitable for everyone for hundreds of reasons.

The goblet squat, however, is a super simple way of squatting, which encourages proper form, & pretty much everyone can execute it correctly. 

How to:

  1. 1. Hold a dumbbell at your chest (the photo below is of a kettlebell, but you can substitute the dumbbell for a dumbbell)
  2. 2. Position your feet a little wider than shoulder-width & turn your toes out slightly
  3. 3. Sit back & down between your knees, keeping your back straight & chest up
  4. 4. Drop your elbows inside your knees for the full range of motion
  5. 5. Engage your core & really drive through your heels as you return to a standing position 
  6. 6. Aim for 10-12 repetitions

2). Dumbbell Lunges 

This exercise is a double whammy, as not only does it work the legs & glutes, but it also improves posture by strengthening the shoulders & back muscles. 

How To:

  1. Start with a dumbbell in each hand down by your sides
  2. Step the right foot forward (far enough that it creates a 90-degree angle when bent) keeping the left foot planted in the starting position. 
  3. Engage your core & keep your chest high throughout the movement
  4. Drive through your right heel to return to standing
  5. Aim for 10 reps on each leg.

You can also do reverse lunges in exactly the same way, stepping backwards rather than forward. We recommend doing it in front of a mirror or a reflective window so that you can maintain your balance better.

3). Romanian Dumbbell Deadlift

Everyone wants a great bum, don’t they?! This exercise hit the bum, hamstrings & back – though they can be a little tricky to master. 

How To:

  1. Place a pair of dumbbells horizontally on the ground in front of you
  2. Plant your feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width, & lift your toes, so you’re sitting right in your heels. 
  3. Grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip & rest them on your thighs (this is the starting position)
  4. Lower the dumbbells by pushing your hips back & maintaining a slight bend in the knees. Your back should be straight
  5. Keep going until the dumbbells are just lower than knee level, & you can feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings 
  6. Return to your starting position squeezing your hamstrings & glutes at the top of the movement
  7. Repeat for 10-12 reps

The photo included as a demo shows a ‘split lunge’ variation which you can also do, but for double legged Romanian deadlift, keep both legs narrower than shoulder-width apart as instructed.

4). Dumbbell Step Ups

Step-ups are a brilliant exercise for the legs & glutes. They’re not everyone’s favourite to perform because they’re demanding on the legs, but if we’re sharing our favourite exercises, these are definitely up there. Use a box, chair or bench that is solid.

How To:

  1. Stand 6 inches from a box (or bench) with a dumbbell in each hand 
  2. Place your left foot onto the box forming a 90-degree angle at the knee
  3. Drive through the heel of your left foot, to step the right leg to the box
  4. Lower the right leg back down (with control) keeping the chest up & eyes looking forward
  5. Repeat for 10 reps on each leg
  6. Dumbbell Overhead Squat to Press

5. Dumbbell Overhead Squat to Press

These are a killer. Working the legs, shoulders, hips, triceps & hitting your cardiovascular system hard, they are a great option when you’re short on time.

How To:

  1. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart 
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of the shoulders with the arms bent & palms facing towards each other 
  3. Lower the hips down & back until the thighs are parallel to the floor, essentially doing a squat.
  4. Explode back to the standing position & press the dumbbells above the head until the arms are straight
  5.  Lower back into a squat & bring the dumbbells back in front of the shoulders
  6. Return to the starting position
  7. Aim for 10-12 reps


So there you have it!

Five functional dumbbell moves that would be brilliant for you to include as part of your home workout regime or the next time you head to the gym.

If you’re currently a client of mine or have been a client in the past, you’ll recognise all of these exercises as something we do regularly. 

If you’re not, give them a go & let me know if you have any questions.


We’re Jess & Tom! A husband and wife team, sharing workouts & nutrition made simple from our island home in Menorca. Our mission? To help people get and stay in shape, and enjoy the journey along the way. We love to travel, hike & bring together inspiring people.