A Simply Savage Dumbbell Complex From F45


It can be fun to plan your every workout in minute detail – but if you’re tired of putting as much time into planning your training as you are actually doing it, try this simple yet savagely effective dumbbell routine created by Jim Crossley, co-founder of F45 Kingston.

“You can do this routine anywhere with very little space,” says Crossley. “It’s a sure way to get your heart racing and your lungs burning.

“The workout combines a number of different exercises, but we always return to the same starting point – a renegade row and press-up combo.”

There is no rest until you’ve gone through a complete round, at which point you may stop, but only for 30 seconds. Crossley recommends doing five to eight reps of each exercise and three rounds in total, using dumbbells that put your effort level at around 70%, which might mean having different weights handy for different exercises.

You can make each exercise harder or easier by changing the weight involved, and Crossley has given some extra pointers for some exercises on how to dial the difficulty up or down.

Video of A Simply Savage Dumbbell Complex From F45 kingston

1 Press-up renegade row

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

Get into the top position of a press-up holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lower your chest towards the floor, then push back up. Go straight into a row on your right arm, lifting the weight to your shoulder and lowering it again, then do a row with your left arm.

“This combines two exercises to hit your chest, arms and core,” says Crossley. “Make sure you engage your core to keep a straight line from your shoulders to your hips throughout the movement. During the row, the aim is to have as little movement in the hips as possible. Place your feet wide apart and engage your core to help stabilise your body.”

Make it easier: Place your feet wider apart
Make it harder: Press up explosively

2 Mountain climbers

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

Stay in your top press-up position and bring one knee up to your chest. Then move it back to the starting position and bring the other leg up. Repeat at speed.

“This is a simple move, but needs to be done correctly to get the most benefit from it,” says Crossley. “Your back should be straight and your bum should not be sticking up in the air. Bring your knees in as far as possible – ideally they should be level with your elbows. Keep your back and hips still by engaging your core.”

Make it easier: Slow down the speed of the mountain climbers
Make it harder: Increase the speed or do squat thrusts, where you bring both legs in at the same time

3 Press-up renegade row

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

4 Burpee

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

“Everyone’s favourite fat-burner,” says Crossley. From your press-up position, bring your feet in, jump up to a standing position and then jump in the air – raising your hands if you can. Then return to the press-up position.

Make it easier: Leave the dumbbells out or remove the jump
Make it harder: Jump higher and/or have your chest touch the floor, lifting your hands off the floor, at the bottom of the burpee

5 Press-up renegade row

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

6 Squat

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

“The best lower-body exercise,” says Crossley. “Squats hit your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.”

Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level. From a standing position bend at the knees while keeping your back straight, your shoulders back and your head up. Your weight should be over your heels. Squat down as deeply as you can. Pause at the bottom of the squat so that you are not just bouncing back up.

Make it easier: Reduce the depth of the squat, although you should always ensure your thighs are at least parallel to the floor
Make it harder: Add in an overhead press at the top of the squat and/or extend your arms in front of you at the bottom of the squat and hold for two seconds

7 Press-up renegade row

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

8 Hammer curl

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

“This is an isolation exercise for your biceps that also work muscles in your forearms in a way that traditional curls don’t,” says Crossley.

Stand upright holding dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing. Tuck your elbows in and curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders and then down again with a controlled movement. The only part of your body that moves should be your forearms – there should be no swinging of your back.

“For an isolation exercise, the only way to regress or progress it is to reduce or increase the weight being used,” says Crossley.

9 Press-up renegade row

Reps 5-8 Rest 0sec

10 Arnold press

Reps 5-8 Rest 30sec

“To finish off we have an overhead press variation,” says Crossley. “While it works mainly the same muscles as a traditional overhead press, the unilateral nature of the dumbbell version, combined with the increased range of motion of the palm rotation, means you get even more benefits from this exercise than just pressing straight up.”

Start by holding the dumbbells at shoulder level with your palms facing. Press the dumbbells overhead and simultaneously rotate your forearms until your palms are facing out. Reverse the move to the start.

“This is another isolation exercise, so again the only way to regress or progress it is change the weight used,” says Crossley.