Dumbbell Complexes & Weight Loss

Dumbbell complexes are intense but rewarding for weight loss.

Dumbbell complexes are intense but rewarding for weight loss.

No matter what weight-loss plan you're on, you'll need to create a consistent caloric deficit by burning more calories than you consume to shed pounds. But you don't have to stick with the same old, boring plans to do so. One uncommon yet efficient way to torch calories and promote weight loss is by using dumbbell complexes. Use them to help you lose weight and reach other fitness goals.

Dumbbell Complex

Although the term dumbbell complex sounds like a great nickname for a workout facility, it refers to a specific style of workout. Dumbbell complexes are the equivalent of a circuit-training routine, but instead of moving from machine to machine, you perform a series of exercises that all involve dumbbells. As with circuit training, you take no breaks between exercises during a dumbbell complex. To ensure that you don't sneak in a break, you're not permitted to put down the dumbbells during a complex.

Weight-loss Benefits

The back-to-back nature of dumbbell complexes with virtually nonexistent rest periods makes these workouts very high in intensity, which means they burn many calories. The intensity and lack of rest help promote the release of growth hormone, which helps break down body fat. These workouts also encourage the release of testosterone, which assists in muscle building. Having more muscle mass speeds up your metabolism, which also aids in weight loss. Including dumbbell complexes will help you burn more calories when you're at rest too, thanks to the metabolic benefits of building muscle.

Best Programs

Dumbbell complexes provide you with the freedom to choose any exercises you want unlike a circuit-training routine, which limits you to the available machines. Not all dumbbell complexes offer the same benefits, particularly when it comes to weight loss. The best complexes are those that include high-intensity, compound lifts such as the deadlift, squat, hang clean, stiff-legged deadlift and overhead press. These exercises work many muscle groups simultaneously, meaning that they burn more calories than isolation exercises such as the dumbbell curl.


When it comes to meaningful weight loss, adopt a "go big or go home" mentality for exercise selection. Big movements that work multiple muscle groups are your best bets for calorie burning. Use dumbbell complexes to build muscle as well as to shed weight. The high-intensity level and lack of rest also make dumbbell complexes an effective tool for cardiovascular conditioning, similar to high-intensity interval training.

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About the Author

Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.

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