If you have goals of running faster, jumping higher or lifting heavier, combining plyometrics with your dumbbell routine is one of the most effective ways to increase strength and power through explosive movements.
What's great about plyometric exercises is that they activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers, so they allow you to reach significant height and speed. They also rev up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories at rest, and get your heart rate going, so you'll improve your cardiovascular fitness, too. When you combine them with strength training exercises, it's the ultimate recipe for better sports performance.
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Ready to turn up the burn? This 20-minute dumbbell workout features both plyometric exercises and strength moves to help you save time.
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we've got something for everyone.
20-Minute Dumbbell and Plyometric Workout
Move 1: Plyo Push-Up
- Start in a modified push-up position with your knees on the ground and feet crossed behind you. Place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your core, quads and glutes tight, lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground.
- Then, press your hands into the ground to push yourself back up as quickly and explosively as possible so that your hands leave the ground.
- As you come up, clap your hands together in mid-air before bringing them back down to the ground.
- Land with your elbows slightly bent to help absorb the impact. Continue with the next rep.
As your strength and power increase, you can try doing this exercise in a high plank, push-up position.
Move 2: Dumbbell Squat to Overhead Press
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned out to the sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand right by your shoulders with your palms facing forward.
- Sit your hips back and down into a squat until your thighs are parallel with the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
- Keep your chest proud and spine tall, and avoid allowing your knees to go over your toes or cave toward your midline.
- Push through your heels to stand as you press the dumbbells overhead, finishing with your biceps by your ears and a slight bend in the elbows.
- Hold for one count before repeating the movement.
Move 3: Burpee
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward, and your arms by your sides.
- Sit back into your hips and lower down into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
- Then, place your hands on the ground, outside of your feet, and jump your feet back into a high plank.
- Lower your body to the ground for one push-up.
- As you push yourself back up into a high plank, jump your feet to the outsides of your hands to get into a squat.
- Explosively jump up while pushing your hands behind you or overhead.
The burpee should be one continuous movement, but if you are a beginner, perform the exercise slowly until you master it, and then do it with speed and explosive force.
Move 4: Dumbbell Biceps Curl
- Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, palms facing out.
- Slowly curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows firmly tucked into your sides throughout the movement.
- Finish at the top of the movement with your palms facing you.
- Hold for one count before slowly lowering the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Move 5: Box Drill
- Stand tall, balancing on one foot with a small bend in the knees. Keep your arms slightly away from your sides and your gaze down for balance.
- Hopping with your standing leg, draw an imaginary square box on the ground. Hop to the right, left, forward, right then back until you complete one box drill.
- After you have completed one box drill on one leg, switch legs and do the box drill in the reverse direction.
- Continue alternating legs after completing one box drill each.
This is a great exercise for firing up your calves. If you are unable to jump with one foot, try it with both feet to gain strength, speed and coordination before moving on to single-leg box drills. Perform the exercise slowly and with control to avoid twisting your ankle.
Move 6: Dumbbell Triceps Extension
- Stand with your back straight and your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold one dumbbell overhead with both hands clasped together at one end.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until your forearms are parallel to the ground or just below.
- Hold for one count before extending your arms back overhead.
Move 7: Squat Thrust
- Start in a high plank position with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your glutes and quads tight.
- Jump your feet toward your hands to get into a wide squat.
- As you land on your feet, lift your hands off the ground in front of your face, palms facing forward. Avoid rounding your back and hunching your shoulders.
- Pause for one count before placing your hands back down on the ground to repeat the move.