Get Strong Without Leaving Your Home – Dumbbells

Few people realize the versatility and the incredible number of exercises that you can perform only with a pair of adjustable dumbbells. There is a whole world of possibilities and undiscovered exercises that get fantastic results, and it can all be done without going to the gym.


Training the whole body just with dumbbells

It is possible to execute a complete workout just with dumbbells?

Absolutely, and you don’t even need that special bodybuilding bench! You can use a normal chair, sofa and can even perform some exercises on the floor with a towel.

Working out at Home

A pair of adjustable dumbbells requires very little space and this is very useful to have at home. Many people simply do not have time or money to go to the gym. Many don’t even have access to decent fairly priced gym.

In addition, even for member there are time we would like to train in the days and the gym is closed, or it’s the same time that every other member is there and you find yourself queueing for machines or a bench.

A small homemade gym can have many advantages in relation to commercial gyms:

-          Privacy

-          Can train any day of the week, including weekends.

-          Equipment always available anytime.

-          Saving money. You just have to acquire and pay for the equipment once (adjustable dumbbells, weights, and other equipment you wish) and don’t need to spend money on monthly memberships.

-          Time saver. Don’t waste time in travelling to the gym. Sometimes this even stops you from going.

Some Recommended Exercises


-          Alternate Dumbbell Press

-          Alternate Front Rais

-          Bent Over Lateral Raise


-          One Arm Dumbbell Raise

-          Bent Over Row

-          Shoulder Shrug


-          Squat

-          Lunge

-          Front Squat


-          Incline Bench Press

-          Pull Over

-          Dumbbell Flyes


How to progress?

Make a sincere effort to perform all exercises slowly and in a controlled way, in order to make the most of your workouts.

Keep in mind that the best way to maximize the intensity of your workouts is to perform the exercises using a full range of motion with the correct technique, proper breathing (inhale when lowering the weight and exhale on the up) and a weight that allows the execution of exercises with the correct form.

In order to make progress, do your best to increase the number of repetitions that you perform week to week and try to increase the weight used in the exercises, but never to a point that prevents you from performing the exercise safely and with good form

Selecting The Right Dumbbells For You

We have spoken to a number of people who own a set of Dumbbells to find out the best value for overall quality among other benefits.

First of all you have the choice of the type of Dumbbell set you buy.

Normal Dumbbell sets have 2 Dumbbell bars and a range of various weights to place on Click to see pricing of this York Dumbbell setthe bars. The weights can be secured either by a spin lock that screws on to the bar or a quick release grip which makes it easier and quicker to change weights.



The second choice are fully adjustable Dumbbells that although are generally moreBruce Lee Adjustable dumbbells expensive, they offer the benefit of changing the weight without having to manually add and take off the weight plates. These are our favourite type and we would recommend adjustable Dumbbells if your budget allows for a good set.


The price of a basic set start at around £30 and some of the best adjustable sets are in excess of £400 (check out the Powerblock Flex Urethane U50 Powerblocks). Our advice is to consider the maximum weight that each Dumbbell can be adjusted to so that it can cater for your needs as you progress and get the best set you can afford. You do get what you pay for.

We have some recommendations divided into three price brackets. Click on each to read more details, see photos, get the current price and to read reviews from people who have already bought them on Amazon.

Budget – Under £50 – physionics® HSTA29 Dumbbell Weights Set 40kg

Intermediate – Under £100 – Vinyl EZ Curl Set 70Kg (Includes EZ Curl bar also for even more exercises)

Advanced – Under £200 -Orbus Adjustable Selective Dumbbells Set

Vinyl Complete Weight Set 100Kg (Includes EZ Curl Bar and 1.7 metre barbell bar)

Top End – Where price has no limit – Bodymax 2 x 32.5kg Selectabell Dumbbells


Dumbbells will help you to acquire strength and muscle mass in all the major muscle groups, simply with the use of your own pair of adjustable dumbbells.


Get Strong!

Burn Fat & Build Muscle

If you are planning to join the Army you probably want to get into the best possible shape as quickly as you can. For many this may include needing to lose your beer belly, bingo wings or stop your thighs from rubbing together when you walk.

The one thing you don’t want to do though is to lose weight and be left with nothing but a weak and frail bag of bones. I have found the solution to losing the fat you want to get rid of while at the same time building a strong and sturdy muscular frame.

Last year I took part in a 98 day challenge to follow an eating plan and fitness workout called Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle

I was extremely happy with the results. I managed to get my body fat percentage down to 12% which is the lowest it had been since I was 15 years old. The eating plan is simple and isn’t one of these horrible calorie depriving diets either. In fact in order to follow the challenge properly I needed to start eating more so that my efforts in the Gym were rewarded.

The strength training plan was easy to follow but challenging and focused on lifting heavy weights to build strength fast and burn maximum calories.

The book Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle is written by an American Body Builder called Tom Venuto. He is well respected and isn’t promoting any brand or products so the information he gives is unbiased and accurate.

I really encourage anyone who wants a plan to lose weight, build muscle and get into good shape quickly to check his book out. I have read it cover to cover (over 300 pages of information broken down into easy to understand sections) and haven’t found a better resource anywhere.

Don’t be put off by the fact its written by an American either… It´s not all fist pumping and high fiving like some stuff you get from the USA. I recommend it to anyone. Take a look here at the information: Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle

Please be aware that if you decide to buy the book I will receive a small commission for referring you to the website. I tell you this because I don´t want you to think I am trying to trick you into anything when I am not. I 100% believe in this product because I have used it myself and know it works well.

Kettlebell Training Guide

How To add Kettlebells to your training guide

This Week, I have a special guest writer, Mike Mahler. Mike is based in the USA and is extremely knowledgable about training with Kettlebells and I would like to share this post with you. 

As kettlebell training becomes more popular, trainees are getting confused about how to effectively add kettlebell training to their regimens. Some people might enjoy kettlebell-only or kettlebell-focused programs, while others won’t want to quit their current program but instead enhance them by introducing kettlebell movements. Kettlebells are excellent weight training tools and also useful for work capacity and structural integrity. In this article, I’ll cover using kettlebells as weight-training tools, along with other training tools for size and strength training–which is the way to go to for fat loss. In Part 2, the focus will be on how to add kettlebell training in timed sets for structural integrity, work capacity, and muscular endurance.

When using kettlebells for weight-training, for a comprehensive and balanced program, you must cover the following five categories:

1. Upper Body Press

2. Upper Body Pull

3. Lower Body Press

4. Lower Body Pull

5. Core

Upper Body Press Exercises

Barbell Military Press

Barbell Incline Press

Barbell Bench Press

Handstand Push-Up


Barbell Push-Press

Lifeline TNT Cable Military Press

Lifeline Power Push-up

Upper Body Kettlebell Press Exercises

Double KB Military Press

One-Arm KB Military Press

Alternating KB Military Press

KB Clean and Military Press

KB Push-Press

One-Arm KB Floor Press

Double KB Floor Press

Upper Body Pull Exercises



Barbell Bent-Over Row

Upper Body Kettlebell Pull Exercises

One-Arm KB Bent-Over Row

Alternating KB Bent-Over Row

Double KB Bent-over Row

Renegade Row

Alternating Renegade Row

Lower Body Press

Barbell Squat

Barbell Front Squat

Hack Squat

Elevated Trapbar Deadlift (stand on a solid box or barbell plate to increase the range of motion)

Box Squat

Hindu Squat

One-Legged Squat

Lifeline Portable Power Jumper Squat

Lower Body Kettlebell Press

One-Arm KB Front Squat

Double KB Front Squat

KB Suitcase Squat

KB Suitcase Lunge

Lower Body Pull

Barbell Deadlift

Trapbar Deadlift

Barbell Clean

Barbell Snatch

Lower Body Kettlebell Pull Exercises

One-Arm KB Swing

Double KB Swing

Double KB Clean

One-Arm KB Snatch

Double KB Snatch

Core Exercises

Ab Wheel Roll-Out (kneeling and standing)

Hanging Leg Raise

Slow and Controlled Sit-Up/Side Bend

Reverse Sit-Up

Core Kettlebell Exercises

KB Windmill

KB Turkish Get-Up

KB Side Bend

KB Guard Sit-Up

KB Pass Between the Feet

Once you’ve constructed your training program to cover these five areas, it’s easy to see where kettlebell movements can fit in. Below are two examples of size and strength programs which effectively combine kettlebells with barbell work and body weight training. To cover all the bases, the programs additionally contain a conditioning element. These are not bulking programs wherein the goal is to add as much actual weight as possible, since such programs can end up adding more fat than muscle, which most trainees are trying to avoid! Rather, the objective of these programs is to gradually add solid muscle–gaining five pounds of solid muscle will have a more profound effect on your physique than adding fifteen pounds of mostly fat.

Sample Program “A”


A1) Lifeline TNT Cable Military Press 3×5

rest: 60-seconds

A2) Weighted Chin-Up 3×5

load: your 8 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do A1 and A2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of A1, rest for a minute, then do a set of A2. Continue until all sets have been completed.

Kettlebell Windmill 2×5 each side

B1) Elevated Trapbar Deadlift 5×5

load: your 7-9 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

B2) Double KB Swing 5×5

*swing to chest level

load: your 8-10 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do B1 and B2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of B1, rest for a minute, then do a set of B2. Continue until all sets have been completed.


Circuit Training

Double Kettlebell Clean and Push Press 1×10

One-arm Kettlebell Bent-over Row 1×10 each side

Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up 1×5 each side

Double Kettlebell Clean and Front Squat 1×6 (clean before each squat)

One-arm Kettlebell Swing 1×15 each side

Take 30-second breaks between each exercise and 60-second breaks at the end of each round. Do five rounds total.


A1) Barbell Clean and Military Press 5×3

load: your 4-6 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

A-2) Weighted Pull-Up 5×3

load: your 5 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do A1 and A2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of A1, rest for a minute, then do a set of A2. Continue until all sets have been completed.

Hanging Leg Raise 3×5 each side

load: your 7 rep max

B-1) Double KB Front Squat 5×5

load: your 7-9 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

B-2) Double KB Swing 5×5

*swing to chest level

load: 7-8 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do B1 and B2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of B1, rest for a minute, then do a set of B-2. Continue until all sets have been completed.


Circuit Training

Double KB Clean and Jerk 1×10

Lifeline Power Push-Up 2 Push-Up 1×10

Renegade Row 1×10 each side

Lifeline Power Wheel Roll-Out 1×5

Lifeline Portable Power Jumper Squat 1×10

One-Arm KB Snatch 1×12 each side

Take 30-second breaks in between each exercise and 60-second breaks at the end of each round. Do five rounds.

Sample Program “B”


A1) Double KB Clean and Military Press 5×5

load: your 7-9 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

A2) Weighted Pull-Up 5×5

load: your 8 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do A1 and A2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of A1, rest for a minute, then do a set of A2. Continue until all sets have been completed.

Lifeline Power Wheel AB Roll-Out 2×10 (from knees or standing, depending on your strength)

B1) Barbell Squat 5×5

load: your 7-9 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

B2) Double KB Swing 5×5

*swing to chest level

load: your 8-10 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do B1 and B2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of B1, rest for a minute, then do a set of B2. Continue until all sets have been completed.


Circuit Training

KB One-Arm Clean and Push-Press 1×10

Alternating Renegade Row 1×10

Hindu Squat 1×25

One-Arm Kettlebell Snatch 1×10 each side

Slow and Controlled Sit-Up 1×10 (4 seconds up/4 seconds down)

Take 30-second breaks in between each exercise and 60-second breaks at the end of each round. Do 5 rounds total.


A1) Barbell Incline Press 5×5

load: your 7-9 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

A2) Weighted Chin-up 5×5

load: your 8 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do A1 and A2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of A1, rest for a minute, then do a set of A2. Continue until all sets have been completed.

KB Turkish Get-Up 3×5 each side

load: a weight you can take to 7 reps

B1) Elevated Trapbar Deadlift 5×5

load: your 7-9 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

B2) Double KB Clean 5×5

load: your 7-8 rep max

rest: 60-seconds

Do B1 and B2 in alternating fashion, i.e., do a set of B1, rest for a minute, then do a set of B2. Continue until all sets have been completed.


Circuit Training

Explosive Push-Up 1×10 (launching off the floor as high as possible each rep)

Double KB Bent-Over Row 1×10

Double KB Suitcase Squat 1×12

One-Arm KB Swing 1×12 each side

Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

Take 30-second breaks in between each exercise and 60-second breaks at the end of each round. Do five rounds.

Off days, do light exercise, such as walking, swimming, joint mobility training, yoga, tai-chi and chi-kung. These types of exercise help with soreness and workout recovery. If you find that four days is too much training, move Tuesday’s workout to Wednesday and Thursday’s workout to Friday (cutting out the Friday circuit training workout) for three training days. If you’re under excess stress or for whatever reason experiencing poor recovery, reduce training to two days only. For example, do Monday’s workout, then do Tuesday’s workout on Thursday, cutting out all other training. For active recovery on off days, do the suggested light exercises.


Read more or visit Mike´s own website:

100 Press Up Challenge

The Press Up targets the chest, shoulders and arms and is a fantastic bodyweight exercise that can be performed anywhere with no equipment. The British Army and many other military establishments make their soldiers complete many sets of press ups to maintain peak physical condition.

During British Army Officer Selection tests you will be required to complete as many Press ups as possible in a 2 minute time limit. The pass rate is follows:

Men – 44

Women – 21

Whether you are here because you are planning to join the Army or just want to improve your strength and fitness, we would like to share a great resource and website called One Hundred Pushups.

Ok, so you might have already guessed that by calling it a “push up”, it´s an American site – however there is a fantastic 6 week training program that will enable you to complete 100 Press ups, no matter what level you start at.

There is also an Iphone App and book available that offers the complete training program with useful advice, knowledge and strategy to achieve your goal.

Here at Army Fitness Test, we don´t usually promote or link to other sites but this time we truly believe that this is a great resource and should not be missed.

Get the full App now by following this link!

We have seen many various training plans and challenges but think that the structure and simplicity of this makes it one of the best available. You can start from any level and ability and move through the planned schedule, progressing when you are ready right up until you reach the ultimate goal.

One Hundred Push ups

Here you can see an example of the first week of training. Each session is split into three groups depending on your initial assessment and ability. The App and book provide complete instructions and tell you your target number of press ups for each set.

The book is available here:

We really hope you like this challenge and would like to hear your thoughts below. Let us know if you have already tried this challenge and if you managed 100 Press-ups!



Full Body Workout – Build Strength Fast

If you are new to lifting weights and want a workout that is simple to follow and won´t leave you gazing around the gym wondering what you are supposed to be doing next, then this is the workout for you.

This workout is designed to build core strength (perfect for those Army exercises) and make you stronger all round. It will also help to prepare your legs for running as it has exercises that directly targets your calf’s and quads.

Another great thing about this particular workout is that you only have two workouts to perform and rotate them each time you visit the gym, hence the name One/Two workout. Simple doesn´t mean easy though!

The One/Two Full Body Workout

  • Level – Beginners – Intermediates
  • Focus – Core Strength and muscle gain
  • Days Per Week – 3 (Mon, Wed, Fri). You will rotate between 2 workouts. Week 1 is 1/2/1, and week 2 is 2/1/2.
Workout One
Workout One
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 8-10
Bench Press 4 8-10
Barbell Row 4 8-10
Military Press 4 8-10
Seated Calf Raise 2 10-20
Weighted Sit Up 2 10-20
Workout Two
Workout Two
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 2 10-15
Leg Press 2 12-15
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-10
Dumbbell Shrug 4 8-10
Barbell Curls 4 8-10
Standing Calf Raise 2 10-20
Hanging Knee Raise 2 10-25


  • Constantly push for more. Once you are able to complete 10 reps per set for any exercise, increase the weight.
  • Rest. Rest approximately 2 minutes between sets. Allow more time if needed on Squats and Deadlifts to enable you to lift more
  • Warm up properly. Although this workout does not contain warm up Sets, avoid injury by completing a 10 minute complete warm up and stretch routine


Have you tried this workout? We would really like to hear about your thoughts and progression.

Recommended Exercises From The British Army

The British Army offer guidance on which Exercises will be of the most benefit in preparing for your ADSC (Army Development and Selection Centre) or AOSB (Army Officer Selection Board)

The exercises are basic and can be performed anywhere. Try each of them and record your best efforts with an aim to improve each week. This way your strength and stamina will develop quickly.

The Exercises

Upper Body

  • Press-Ups
  • Triceps Dip
  • Chin-Ups

Core Strength

  • Sit-Ups
  • Dorsal Raises

Lower Body

  • Squats
  • Heel Raises
  • Lunge

There are many variations of the above exercises and if you perform these in the gym you can easily add weight to Chin-Ups, Squats and Lunges.


Remember to warm up before beginning any workout and to warm down properly at the end to avoid injury.






Benefits and Rules of a Full Body Workout

In the Army, you will need to have a combination of speed and strength. Having the balance between the two is important. If you are built like a brick shed it is likely you will be slow. However, If you have the frame of a long distance runner it is likely you will have great cardio fitness but will lack overall body strength.

If you train in a way that focuses on developing muscles throughout your whole body as well as cardio, you will improve at balanced levels. Unless you are a body builder, full body workouts are a fantastic way to build muscle and improve fitness. They also improve your cardiovascular fitness and require less time to complete.

Main Rules for a Full Body Workout:

  • Train every 2-3 days - Your body needs time to recover after a heavy workout (at least 24 hours as a minimum) but keeping a regular routine is important in order to see consistent improvement.


  • Lift Heavy – To maximise the effect of each workout it is important to push your body to the limit when lifting weights. This means that for each exercise, use a weight that will push you to failure or near failure with each set. You will make optimal progress by doing this.


  • One hour or less - If you follow the advice of lifting heavy weights, staying in the gym too long can actually have a hindering effect on muscle growth. Intense workouts with lots of compound exercises will increase testosterone production which aids muscle growth. However as you lift, and even more so if you workout too long, a hormone called cortisol is also produced which has a catabolic effect of your muscles.


  • One exercise per muscle group – Follow the other steps in this guide and by using basic, heavy exercises you will find that one is enough for each muscle group. For example, do bench press OR incline bench press with the most weight you can manage for one set, but not both. Maximise the effect of this by using a different exercise each workout.


  • Change the order of your workout – Rotate the order of exercises so that you start on a different body part first each session. Start with chest one day, back on the next workout and then legs on the third workout. This ensures your whole body gets the maximum attention and you will progress evenly.


  • Post-workout Protein – Drink a protein shake or eat a meal high in protein immediately after you complete you workout. This is important for your muscles to develop and to aid recovery.

Ten tips for fast improvement

Here are ten quick and simple tips to help improve your level of fitness. Apply them to your current fitness plan or to one of our great workouts here on the Army Fitness Test website.


Start an Uphill battle

Don´t stick to running on a flat road or treadmill, include hills and inclines to increase the amount of calories you burn Your heart will work harder which will lead to it becoming stronger. This will also a great way to increase leg strength.


Train with purpose

Get one of the many available apps for tracking workouts, weights lifted and calories burned. To improve it is essential to know how good you were the session before. Set goals and targets to smash.


Turn it up a notch

Circuit training is fast, intense and hard. It gets quick results and is perfect for days when you have less time but still want a good full body workout. Pick between 6-8 exercises with a mixture of cardio and resistance training and work through each one with no rests in between. At the end of the circuit give yourself a few minutes rest, then start again.


Get some fresh air

The gym can get boring. Fact. When possible, take on new challenges and add variety to your fitness regime. Get off the smooth roads and try offroad mountain biking or trail running. This will call upon your stabilizer muscles to improve balance and all round endurance.


Hard and Fast, soft and slow

Interval training is one of the key ways to improve your fitness in the shortest amount of time. Combine high intensity activity with equal amounts of recovery and alternate between the two. If on the street, use lampposts as markers and sprint between two, and then walk between the next two. Repeat until your body is screaming for a rest.


Put the Kettle(bells) on

Kettlebell training is a great way to improve cardio and build strength. One Kettlebell session a week will improve lung capacity and increase your maximum heart rate.


On time, Every time.

Consistency is the best way to get solid results and by getting into a routine you reach your goals quicker. Your body is able to adapt to the times that you train so even if getting up 1 hour early every morning is difficult to begin, it will get easier quickly.


Fist Pump

If you are using treadmills or steppers, don´t use the handrail. Pump your arms in rhythm to your leg movements to increase the effectiveness of the workout.


Make your ears bleed (not literally)

Listening to music that motivates you will help to improve your workout and also make it more enjoyable. Stick the Rocky soundtrack on your Ipod and visualize you goals.


Get a friend

Knowing that someone else is waiting for you at the gym makes it much harder to skip sessions and will also make your training more fun. Challenge each other to see who can meet their individual goals faster.

60 Minute Killer Gym Circuit

60 Minute Killer Gym Circuit –

If you want to increase both strength and aerobic fitness, we challenge you to take on this monster circuit. Complete as many of the exercises as you can in one hour. Depending on your current fitness level or If you have less time, you can adjust the number of reps as necessary (e.g. – If you only have 30 minutes, reduce the reps by half)

If you are unsure how to perform any of the exercises, click on them to see an instructional video.

Each session aim to progress further or complete the circuit in less time. Record your results, Track your progress, Become a machine. 

Bench dips – 100 reps
Dumbbell press-up rows (5-10kg) – 50 reps
Body weight squats – 100 reps
Barbell curl and press (20kg) – 50 reps
Side plank – 3 minutes each side
Sit-ups – 100 reps
Lunges – 50 reps each leg
Plate row (10-20kg) – 100 reps
Leg lowers – 100 reps
Row – 4 x 500m – best effort
Treadmill – 2 x 800m best effort
Cycle – 2 x 2km – best effort

Mini Barbell Circuit – complete two circuits. Do each exercise for 30 seconds and move on, so 4 minutes in total. No Rest.
Barbell curls (10kg) – 30 seconds
Barbell shoulder press (10kg) – 30 seconds
Barbell upright rows (10kg) – 30 seconds
Barbell bent over row (10kg) – 30 seconds

Mini Floor Circuit – 10 press-ups followed by 20 burpees – Repeat 3 times without a rest.
Press-ups – 10
Burpees – 20

Have you tried this circuit? How did you get on? Tell us below.