When you’re looking to lean out and burn extra fat, pick up a pair of dumbbells. “Weight training helps increase your metabolic engine — you’ll build muscle and burn more energy while training and when sitting still,” Heather Blackmon, a certified fitness and nutrition coach with FITaspire, an online personal training and coaching program, told Fox News. Translation: You’ll burn extra calories and lose fat all over.
The key is to lift the right amount of weight. Too light and the lack of challenge won’t build muscle as effectively; too heavy and it’ll be hard to maintain form, and you can risk injury. So go for one that’s heavy enough that you can do just about 10 reps and have gas in the tank to complete one or two more. (Feel like you could do five more, easy? Lift heavier. Can’t do 10? Lift lighter.)
We asked Blackmon for her go-to routine for targeting trouble zones. Follow her five-move workout:
For a firm tush: dumbbell squat
This exercise is a classic butt-shaper for a reason: It goes double-duty to target your glutes and quads. “Hitting multiple muscle groups at the same time gives you the biggest bang for your buck,” Blackmon said.
How: Hold dumbbells down by your side, with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width with toes turned slightly out. Keep your core engaged (as if someone was going to punch you in the stomach). Drop down into the squat until just below parallel. Repeat three sets of 12.
For toned triceps: triceps kickbacks with a twist
This helps eliminate that underarm jiggle, particularly because the twist at the top helps activate your triceps even more. You’ll need a bench or a chair for this one.
How: Hold onto a bench with one arm. Pick the weight up in the other hand, hold the dumbbell by your side. Extend the arm holding the weight straight back. As you reach the top, twist hand inward toward your body slightly. Complete 12 on each side, switch sides. Do three sets.
For sleeker thighs: reverse dumbbell lunge
To target your hamstrings, switching up the traditional lunge movement to step backwards is especially effective. This move will also activate your glutes.
How: Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Step backwards, dropping toward the ground. Hinge forward slightly from your hips. Your back knee should hover four to six inches off the floor (it shouldn't touch). Complete 12 on one leg, then switch sides. Finish a total of three sets.
For tight abs: dumbbell extended leg crunch
You can do this exercise without the weight, but the extra resistance from the dumbbell really gets at your lower ab muscles and your rectus abdominis (the muscles running vertically in the center of your abdomen).
How: Lying on your back with your feet straight in the air (a slight bend is okay), hold one dumbbell in between both hands. Crunch straight up to touch your toes. Aim for 10 to 15 and complete three sets.
For a big fat burn: dumbbell Turkish getups
Traditionally, these are done with kettlebells, but a dumbbell is a worthy substitute, Blackmon said. “These look way easier than they are,” she said. The best part: They activate every part of your body, therefore spiking your heart rate to stimulate fat burning.
How: Begin the move by laying on the ground with a dumbbell in your right hand, arm extended above you, and your right leg bent. For the best tutorial, Blackmon recommends watching a video first. You can find one here, here, or read a full how-to from the American Council on Exercise. Do five to seven on one side, switch sides. Complete three sets.