4 Dumbbell Exercises to Build Fast Muscle

Maximize gym time with a smart dumbbell routine like this one from Patrick Striet, C.S.C.S., owner of Force Fitness and Performance in Cincinnati. "Dumbbell complexes that target large muscle groups can stimulate more muscle fibers and speed up fat loss," he says.

Do this: Perform the circuit four times. For the first circuit, do 12 reps of each exercise. Then do 10 reps for the second, 8 for the third, and 6 for the fourth. Rest only after each circuit; select weight and rest time by your experience level.

Beginner                   20-30 pounds       60-90 seconds
Intermediate             30-40 pounds       45-60 seconds
Advanced                  40-50 pounds       30-45 seconds

1. Straight-Leg Deadlift

Using an overhand grip, hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend at your hips to lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Pause, and raise back up.

2. Thrusters

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders. Squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand up, press the dumbbells up. Then lower them back down to your shoulders.

3. Bent-Over Row

Holding a pair of dumbbells, bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells to the sides of your torso. Pause, and then slowly lower them.

4. Squat Thrust

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Squat and kick your legs backward into a pushup position. Then quickly return your legs to a squat, stand up, and jump.

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