PowerBlocks are adjustable dumbbells that you can change the weight of simply by loading extra plates on with a pin. They start at 5 pounds and the ultra-heavy sets go right up to 130 pounds. The beauty of PowerBlocks is that you can use them in your own home, as you only ever need one set of them, rather than numerous pairs of fixed dumbbells lying round getting in your way. To get the most bang for your buck with PowerBlocks, follow a full-body routine three times per week.
Full Body Training
For burning calories, boosting your metabolism and shedding fat, you can't beat a full body workout. Full body training is far more calorie-intensive and provides a much great metabolism boost than body-part split workouts, claims trainer Rachel Cosgrove, co-founder of Results Fitness. Perform four upper body and two lower body exercises per session. Adjust PowerBlocks to the weight that gives you enough resistance to challenge muscles but complete your desired repetition for each exercise.
Lower Body Exercises
Lower body exercises can be grouped into two categories writes strength coach Nia Shanks in her article "The Women’s Beginner Strength Training Guide to Lift Like a Girl & Look Absolutely Awesome." Squatting movements work your quads and calves, while deadlifting exercises hit your hamstrings and glutes. Perform dumbbell squats with the PowerBlocks at your sides or your shoulders for four sets of 12 to 15 reps. Lunges can also be substituted in for squats if you want to make your workout more challenging and test your balance and coordination. For your deadlifting movement, try dumbbell deadlifts, stiff-legged deadlifts, or single-leg deadlifts. Stick with four sets of eight to 10 for these.
Upper Body Exercises
Upper body training is where the fun begins, as there are a ton of upper body exercises you can try with PowerBlocks. For your chest, shoulders and triceps perform overhead presses standing up or sitting on a bench, or floor presses, which mimic the barbell bench press. Lie on the floor and press the PowerBlocks straight up in the air, flexing your arms and chest at the top. To hit your back and biceps, perform rows and with the PowerBlocks. To train your core at the same time, introduce renegade rows into your routine. Assume a pushup position with your hands on the dumbbells and row each up to your chest alternately. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps on four different upper body exercises.
Progressions and Considerations
You don't have to stick to the standard straight sets routine of performing each exercise in turn with rests in between. Add in supersets, in which you perform two or three exercises back to back with no rest in between. These can burn up to one-third more calories per minute than regular training, claims fitness writer Natalie Gingerich in "Fitness Magazine." Each session aim to perform a couple of extra reps per exercise, or put a little more weight on your PowerBlocks. You'll need to use different weights depending on the exercise anyway -- you'll be able to lift more on a dumbbell deadlift than on a curl, for example. Fortunately the weight change is quick and easy, and you won't waste any time faffing around with spin-lock collars or searching for another pair of dumbbells.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.