10 mins read

Nicole Scherzinger’s Dumbbell Strength Workout Is the Fastest Way to Work Your Whole Body

Emily Turner

Pussycat Dolls lead and “The Masked Singer” judge Nicole Scherzinger is no stranger to a tough workout. She’s been posting snippets of her fitness routine on her social media accounts for years. On Feb. 20, Scherzinger posted a video of her latest workout to Instagram, full of complex moves that are totally worth stealing for your own routine — not to mention, the video features a celeb cameo. In the background, it looks as if Larry David is pumping some iron, too. (That’s yet to be confirmed, but it’s either a look-alike or David himself.)

Watch the video to spot David’s doppelgänger, but also to snag some inspo from Scherzinger for your next strength workout. In the video, the 44-year-old powers through seven different impressive total-body exercises as well as a round of treadmill sprints. In all, it’s an efficient functional strength workout (i.e., great if you’re pressed for time), says Melody Zoller, trainer for Obé Fitness. Not to mention, it targets both strength and cardio in the same session and utilizes conditioning to improve your overall capacity for work and ability to recover effectively, she says.

The magic behind this workout is in the fact that all the strength moves are compound exercises: an exercise that works multiple large muscle groups, thus recruiting a lot of muscle fibers and also putting greater demand on the body. Not only are they all compound moves, but they’re nearly all complex exercises as well: a hybrid of two different exercises, so you’re getting the benefits of both at once. For example, Scherzinger does a glute-bridge chest press, which combines a glute-bridge exercise (working the glutes, hamstrings, and core) with a chest press (which works the chest and triceps).

This is great for hitting your whole body in less time and making your strength sessions more intense without adding a lot more weight. The downside, however, is that when you’re doing multiple movements at once, it can be difficult to focus on your form. For that reason, this probably isn’t a workout to tackle if you’re totally new to weightlifting. (No worries: we have a beginner-friendly weightlifting workout program for you.)

But if you’re ready to try Scherzinger’s workout for yourself, Zoller organized the celeb’s moves into a circuit workout you can easily re-create if you have some equipment. “Think about using weights that are challenging but [with which] you can still execute with good form and still have two reps left in the tank,” she says. Let’s get it.

Nicole Scherzinger’s Total-Body Dumbbell Workout

Equipment needed: a set of light- to medium-weight dumbbells, a medicine ball, and a workout mat (or a soft floor) to cushion your knees

Directions: First, do a a quick warmup. Then, begin Set A. Do each exercise for 10 to 12 reps, then move on to the next move in the set. Repeat the whole set three to four times before moving on to the next set. Finish with treadmill sprints, then cool down with this 10-minute stretch.

Set A: Squat and Arnold Press

This move combines a classic squat with an Arnold press — a rotating shoulder press — which makes it a near-total-body move.

  • Start standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand racked in front of your shoulders, palms facing your chest.
  • Sit your hips back into a squat, keeping your chest tall and core engaged, pausing when your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Push into your feet to return to standing, simultaneously rotating your elbows open (so your palms face forward) and pressing the dumbbells overhead.
  • Lower the weights with control back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Do 10-12 reps.

Set A: Lateral Lunge With Bicep Curl

This lateral lunge works your inner and outer thighs, glutes, and hamstrings. Not to mention, it’ll help you become stronger and develop more mobility in this range of motion since it requires some flexibility. The added bicep curl at the top recruits the front of your upper arm, too.

  • Start standing with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in your right hand by your side.
  • Take a large step to the left with your left foot, lowering into a lunge and reaching the dumbbell to the inside of your left foot. Try to make sure your left knee does not extend past your toes and keep your right leg relatively straight. Keep your core engaged, and don’t arch or round your back.
  • Push off your left foot to return to standing, performing a bicep curl with your right hand. That’s one rep.
  • Do five to six reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Set A: Dumbbell Snatch to Reverse Lunge

This is the first move Scherzinger shows in her Instagram video. Dumbbell snatches are a somewhat complicated move, so work on mastering that before trying this hybrid move. If you’re a beginner, you can nix the snatch and simply do a bicep curl and shoulder press with a reverse lunge instead.

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand in front of your right hip, palm facing your body.
  • Squat down, lowering the dumbbell in between your legs, keeping your back flat.
  • Push through your feet to stand, while simultaneously driving your elbow up to pull the dumbbell up to shoulder height.
  • Immediately drop your elbow down so it’s tight next to your side, then press it overhead while taking a step back with your right foot, lowering into a reverse lunge.
  • Step your right foot forward and slowly lower the weight to your side to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Do five to six reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Set B: Glute-Bridge Chest Press

As noted above, this glute-bridge chest press combines a glute-bridge exercise with a chest press to become a near-total-body exercise.

  • Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand over your chest, elbows bent at 90 degrees.
  • Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the floor, coming into a bridge. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis, and focus on forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Simultaneously press the weights toward the ceiling, palms facing your feet, so they’re stacked directly over your shoulders.
  • Lower the weights and your hips with control to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Do 10-12 reps.

Set B: Half-Kneeling Medicine-Ball Slams

This half-kneeling version of a rotational medicine-ball slam will work all 360 degrees of your core, as well as your shoulders, back, and chest. Since you’re in a half-kneeling position (i.e., kneeling on one leg), it’ll also challenge your balance and stability.

  • Start in a half-kneeling position with your right knee on the floor and left leg forward. Hold a medicine ball or slam ball in both hands in front of your chest.
  • Lift the ball overhead, and slam it onto the left side of your front leg, keeping your back straight and hinging at your hips as needed.
  • Grab the ball (off the bounce, if possible), and lift it overhead again, this time slamming it on the right side of your front leg. That’s one rep.
  • Do five to six reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Set B: Kneeling-Squat Shoulder Press

Kneeling squats — following a similar movement pattern as a regular squat, but done while kneeling on both legs — force you to focus on your hips. Because of that, they work your glutes even more than a regular squat. Adding a shoulder press to the movement gets your upper body and core in on the action, too.

  • Start kneeling on the floor with your knees slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand racked above your shoulders.
  • Hinge at your hips to sit backward, lowering your glutes to tap your heels.
  • Squeeze your glutes to press back up to the starting position, simultaneously pressing the dumbbells overhead, so the weights are stacked directly above your shoulders.
  • Lower the weights to your shoulders to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Do 10-12 reps.

Treadmill Sprints

Zoller recommends hopping on a treadmill and doing 30-second sprints (at an 8-10 RPE, aka rate of perceived exertion) followed by 30 seconds of walking for eight to 10 rounds.

If you don’t have a treadmill, she recommends swapping the sprints for “simple bodyweight movements, such as jump squats, high knees, burpees, jumping rope, or jumping jacks,” she says, and following the same interval structure. “Just make sure you’re going all out in the 30-second working sections.”

Image Source: Getty / Victor Boyko

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