Although some of the hardest exercises are done standing or in a kneeling position, working out while lying down has some benefits, too.
For example, if you're new to exercise, have mobility issues or are recovering from an injury, doing exercises on your back (supine) can help prevent pain and other injuries because you eliminate the risk of losing your balance and falling.
Doing exercises lying down also helps you isolate certain muscle groups and ensures you're performing movements with proper form. For example, skull crushers — or lying triceps extensions — allow you to zone in on these smaller, back-arm muscles without using your shoulders and wrists, as you might do in the bent-over or sitting position.
And hey, if you're feeling a little run down (we all have those days), performing exercises supine also provides a great workout and gets your blood pumping without exerting too much effort.
Try this 20-minute dumbbell workout to help you build strength all over without risking major injury. You can do these exercises on an exercise mat, a bench or even your bed!
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.
Move 1: Single-Leg Glute Bridge Chest Press
- Lie on your back with your right leg lifted at a 90-degree angle. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your chest with a prone grip (palms facing away from you), elbows bent at 45-degree angles.
- Pressing into the heel of your left foot, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- At the same time, press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling, fully extending your arms.
- As your hips come down, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 15 reps before switching legs.
This is a great exercise to extend through the hips and engage the glutes and core. As you're performing this exercise, it's important to keep your hips square and the heel flexed toward the ceiling throughout the movement.
Move 2: Glute Bridge Chest Fly
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent about hip-distance apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) directly over your chest so they're parallel to your body.
- Pressing through your heels, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells down toward the sides of your chest. Your elbows should come to shoulder level or slightly below.
- Bring your hands back to the center as you keep your butt lifted off the ground.
- Complete 20 reps.
Move 3: Lying Shoulder Press
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Hold a pair of medium dumbbells by your shoulders with a prone grip and your elbows at 45 degrees.
- Engaging your shoulders and core, press the weights overhead, keeping them from touching the floor behind you.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
- Complete 10 reps.
Ideally, you should do this exercise with 10- to 15-pound dumbbells.
Move 4: Weighted Swimmer
- Lie on your stomach and extend your arms out in front of you, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- As you lift your head and chest off the ground, raise your right arm and left leg, squeezing your glute at the top. Reach your arm and leg in opposite directions to lengthen your spine.
- Slowly lower your arm and leg back down to the ground and repeat on the other side.
- Continue to alternate arms and legs for 20 reps.
You should do this exercise with no more than 2.5- to 5-pound dumbbells. If you feel any discomfort in your lower back, stop doing the exercise immediately.
Move 5: Skull Crusher
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Hold a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip directly over your chest so they're parallel to your body.
- Anchoring your shoulders down and elbows in, slowly bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells toward the sides of your head until your elbows are bent at 90-degree angles.
- Press the dumbbells back up to the starting position, squeezing your triceps.
- Complete 15 reps.
Move 6: Dumbbell V-Up
- Lie on your back with your arms extended overhead, holding a dumbbell with both hands. Extend your legs out in front of you in the shape of a V and allow them to hover a few inches off the ground.
- Using your lower abs, lift your upper body off the ground and reach for your legs, finishing with the weight between your legs. At the same time, pull your legs toward your chest.
- Slowly lower your legs and the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Continue for 30 seconds.