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7 Compound Dumbbell Exercises To Do At Home (Full Body)

Compound Dumbbell Exercises
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Training at home but only got a pair of adjustable dumbbells?

No, problem – that’s all you need to construct a full body workout to max out your muscle and strength gains.

In this article, I’m about to lay out seven insanely effective compound dumbbell exercises that are designed to work multiple muscle groups together.

Compound exercises are the most powerful weight lifting exercises you can do.

As well as stimulating muscle and strength gains, they’ll increase your functional fitness and ramp up your fat burn. After showing you how – and how not – to do these moves, I’ll put them together into a full-body workout plan you can do three times per week.

The Exercises

Kitchen Sink

Why Do It

This exercise includes everything, including the kitchen sink! It works every muscle and provides a fantastic cardiovascular and endurance workout at the same time.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a pair of dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Bend at the waist, hips, and ankles to place the dumbbells on the floor in front of you.
  3. Supporting your weight through your arms on the dumbbells, kick your legs out behind you with your legs wider than hip-width apart to assume a high plank position.
  4. Bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor to perform a push-up, and then return to the high plank position.
  5. Remaining in the plank position, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up toward your chest while straightening your left arm and pushing that dumbbell into the floor. Lower your right arm, and repeat the movement with the left.
  6. Hop your feet forward and underneath your hips, shifting your weight back and over your feet to return it to a standing position, bringing the weights to the starting position.
  7. Bend your elbows, drawing the weights toward your shoulders to perform a biceps curl.
  8. Extend your arms overhead, before bringing the weights back down to your sides, to perform a shoulder press.
  9. Return to the starting position. You have now completed one rep!

How Not to Do It:

  • Do not choose a weight that is too heavy; this is a very challenging exercise.
  • Avoid excessive curvature of your spine.

Dumbbell Power Clean & Press

Why Do It

This exercise works your major upper body muscles, especially the deltoids, chest, and upper back. It is an advanced movement that requires strength, timing, momentum, and proper technique.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with a pair of dumbbells at your feet. Squat down and grab the dumbbells with a wide, overhead grip, resting them at the front of your thighs, with your palms facing inward
  2. Flip the dumbbells up until they are nearly touching your shoulders.
  3. Press your arms upward to full lockout directly overhead, and then reverse all the movements to return to the starting position.

How Not to Do It:

  • Do not allow the dumbbells to drift away from your body.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Avoid excessive momentum.

Lunge with Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Why Do It

The leg portion of this exercise strengthens the lower body, especially the quads and glutes, while the upright row targets the front delts, upper back, forearms, biceps and core. It’s also one of the best exercises for beginners.

How to Do It

  1. Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Step your right leg forward.
  2. Bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor and you can feel the muscles of your rear thigh working. As you bend, press the dumbbells, with your elbows leading, until they are level with your shoulders.
  3. Push through your right heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side’

How Not to Do It:

  • Avoid hyperextending your knees past your toes.
  • Try not to over arch your back (squeeze your glutes)

Renegade Row

Why Do It

The renegade row combines the benefits of an explosive upper body move with powerful core strength. It’s one of the best exercises for powerbuilding.

How to Do It

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, assume a high plank position, balancing your feet on your toes.
  2. While staying on your toes and keeping your core stable and parallel to the floor, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up toward your chest while straightening your left arm and pushing the dumbbell into the floor.
  3. Lower your right arm, and then repeat the movement with the left arm. Continue alternating sides to complete your rep count.

How Not to Do It:

  • Be sure to use dumbbells that have a flat base.
  • Do not allow your hips to sag.
  • Avoid dropping or slamming the weight onto the floor.

You can also improve your upper back strength on a rowing machine if you have access to one.

Dumbbell Thruster

Why Do It

This compound movement burns a lot of calories as it strengthens the upper body, core, and legs. This makes it one of the best exercises to include in your exercise routine.

It makes use of peripheral heart action, or the engagement of your upper and lower body musculature in succession, with little or no rest in between. This is fantastic for your cardiovascular system.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in each hand, held at shoulder level with your palms in a neutral position.
  2. Drop into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep the weight on your shoulders with elbows pointed forward.
  3. Keeping your back in a neutral position, press through your heels, extending your hips and legs to return to a standing position.
  4. Perform a shoulder press, extending your arms upward, driving the dumbbells overhead.
  5. Bend your elbows, lowering the weights to your shoulders, to return to the starting position. Repeat for the required number of reps.

How Not to Do It:

  • Do not round your back.
  • Avoid caving in with your knees or ankles

4-Count Overhead

Why Do It

The 4-Count Overhead is inspired by military endurance and stamina workouts. It is performed to a steady four count and works the core, deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, lats, and erector spinal muscles.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. With both hands, grab a dumbbell and bring it to your right shoulder.
  2. Press the weight overhead with your arms straight for count one.
  3. Lower the weight to your left shoulder for count two.
  4. Press the weight overhead with your arm straight for count three.
  5. Lower the weight to your right shoulder for count four. Each time the weight touches your right shoulder equals one rep.

How Not to Do It:

  • Avoid arching your lower back.
  • Move the weight around your head rather than your head around the weight.

Da Vinci

Why Do It:

This exercise was inspired by the Vitruvian Man, Leonardo da Vinci’s famous anatomical diagram. Uses a full range of motion to engage your shoulders, biceps, forearms, upper back, and triceps to provide a complete upper body workout.

How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand resting at the front of your thighs and your palms facing forward.
  2. Leading with your thumbs, bring the dumbbells overhead and allow them to touch them together above your head.
  3. Lower the dumbbells in the same arc until the weights are once more down by your side to return to the start position.

How Not to Do It:

  • Avoid excessive trunk movement.
  • Do not allow your palms to move from the forward facing position at any time.

The Workout

Let’s now combine these exercises into a full body program for muscle and strength gain. A side benefit of this program is that, because these exercises are so challenging, you’ll also burn a ton of calories to burn off excess body fat.

You’ll be doing just 3 sets of each movement, so you want to make every rep count. For most of the exercises, you will be following the following rep system:

  • Your first set will be for 20 reps. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s a warm-up set. You should be using a weight that makes you struggle to get the last five reps.
  • On set two, add resistance and drop back to 12 reps. Again, you should just manage to rep out with good form.
  • For your final set, add more weight and aim for 6 reps. This is your money set. Give it everything – but keep it strict!

The only exercise that will not follow this pattern is the Da Vinci. On this exercise, you will stick with 3 sets of 15 reps.

  • Kitchen Sink – 3 x 20, 12, 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Power Clean & Press – 3 x 20,12, 6 reps
  • Lunge with Dumbbell Upright Row – 3 x 20,12, 6 reps
  • Renegade Row – 3 x 20,12, 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Thruster – 3 x 20,12, 6 reps
  • 4-Count Overhead – 3 x 20,12, 6 reps
  • Da Vinci – 3 x 15 reps


You now have seven awesome full-body exercises that you can do at home with just a pair of dumbbells.

Combine them into the workout given here and follow it three times per week on alternate days. Be sure to get plenty of rest and muscle-building nutrition between workouts and you’ll be rewarded with some serious muscle and strength gains as well as improving your self esteem.

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Start today for free. And let us know in the comments below: What are your favorite compound dumbbell exercises to do at home? And did these work for you? Peace man.

Related Articles:

5 Exercises You Should be Doing (But Probably Aren’t)

The 4 Keys to Building a Lean and Muscular Physique

How To Build Muscle When You Can Only Train 3 Times A Week

Bodyweight vs Weights: What’s Better For Muscle Gain?


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