Simple Full Body Workout with Handweights

There are people who lift weights because they actually enjoy lifting weights. So I’m told. Most of us? We enjoy putting weights down. But sometimes what we think of as a goal is really more of an entrance fee. A necessary price to get something you want.

Resistance training gets you stuff you want. Stronger, more protected joints that don’t hurt. More range of motion. Better protection if you fall. More calories burned even when you sleep. Healthier circulation. Oh, and muscles on your frame look awfully good too. :)

So here’s a simple way to get it done. And it can be a great way to appease the guilt of a junky tv show: get up and grab the hand weights while you watch. Go for 3, 5, 8 or 10 pounders - you’ll figure out which - it should be hard, but not impossible to get through two or three loops of these ten exercises. It’ll take you maybe a half hour or so, and you only need to do it once or twice a week.

Do ten of each, two or three times through. You don’t have to rest in between exercises, but do take a minute or so between rounds.

Around the World Lunge.

Do a forward lunge, keeping knee over ankle, then, with the same leg, do a side lunge, a backward lunge and a curtsey lunge. Repeat on the other leg. Instead of 10 for this one, do five rounds on each side.


Stand and hold the weights by your sides, feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your torso up, squat your butt down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, like you’re sitting in a chair, keeping your weight on your heels more than on your toes. Stand back up, squeezing your glutes.


Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding weights in front of your thighs. Hinge forward, straight legs and back, bending at the hips only, letting the weights hang towards the ground. When you feel your hamstrings fully stretched, stop and stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.

Lying press.

Lie down on your back, knees up, feet on the floor. Hold your weights with your upper arms straight out from your shoulders along the floor, forearms at 90 degrees straight up toward the ceiling. Press weights straight up over your chest (not your face) until they touch over you. Lower back to starting position.

Lying fly.

Stay on the ground same as for a press. Lift your arms straight up above your chest, then open out to the sides, nearing the floor, elbows bent slightly. Press back together to the starting position.

Overhead press.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold weights with your elbows bent, so the weights are right next to your shoulders. Press them straight up over your head, then lower back to starting position.

Lateral raise.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold weights with arms hanging in front of your hips/thighs. Lift arms straight out to the sides, until you get to the height of your shoulders, no higher. Lower.

Bent-over rows.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, torso tipped forward. Hold weights so they hang straight towards the ground. Bend your elbows and pull the weights up to your waist. Lower.

Bicep curls.

Stand straight with weights in hands, arms hanging by your sides. One at a time or together, bend your elbows and curl the weight up towards your shoulder, keeping your elbows by or slightly in front of your torso, not behind. Upper arm stays still. Lower.

Lying tricep extension.

Lie on the floor on your back, knees up. Hold weights straight up over the top of your head. Bend your elbows and lower weights to the floor above your head, keeping upper arms in place, elbows up towards the ceiling. Raise forearms back to starting position.

Ab crunches.

Lie on the ground, knees up. Hold weights over your chest or abdomen and curl up until your shoulders and back are off the floor. Lower.