I've always been drawn to the decathlon -- I'm amazed at how these athletes can excel in 10 different events. It's an incredible feat, and as an added bonus, decathletes (and heptathletes too, ladies) usually have the muscular, fit and fast bodies most people desire. One reason: These athletes perform a number of activities quickly and explosively, and then recover -- a style of training that closely mimics metabolic training. Every form of metabolic training has the ability to improve cardiac capacity, increase strength and muscle mass and decrease fat. The following 10 exercises -- which I call the "Dumbbell Decathalon" -- will do all of the above.
Rules of the Decathlon
The Dumbbell Decathalon uses only one set of dumbbells and 10 fairly ordinary exercises to achieve extraordinary results. Whatever weight dumbbells you select, you must complete every rep of every set with that weight. The five exercises of each set are to be performed back to back without stopping, and you are to perform 10 reps of each exercise for 50 total reps per set. Perform the first set of five exercises, rest for two minutes, and then perform the second set of five exercises -- again doing 10 reps of each exercise. As you advance in your training, you can repeat for up to three repetitions of both sets. Perform this workout a maximum of two times per week.
Related: The "Burn Fat Faster" Workout
1. Dumbbell Deadlift
Begin by standing with the dumbbells at mid-thigh and your palms facing your body. Keeping the lower back flat and knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist to lower the dumbbells more than halfway down the shin. Then stand up by extending at the lower back and return to the original position.
2. Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, gripping the dumbbells so your palms face your feet. Lower to the weights to your chest under control, keeping the elbows at a 45-degree angle to the body. Press from the chest to push the weights back up until your elbows reach full extension.
3. Alternating Front Lunge
Hold the dumbbells at mid-thigh with the palms facing the hips. Step forward with one leg and lower the back knee almost to the ground. Press back up to the original position. Switch to the other leg and repeat. That's one rep.
Related: 20 of the Best Body-Weight Exercises
5. Alternating Biceps Curl
Hold the dumbbells at mid-thigh with the palms facing forward. Curl the dumbbells up to your chin. Lower to the original position and repeat.
6. Goblet Squat
Hold a single dumbbell under you chin, elbows in toward your chest. Lower your hips to the parallel squat position, bending at the knee. Press up and return to the starting position by extending at the knees, hips and low back.
Related: 9 Fat-Torching Kettlebell Moves
7. Alternating Arm Bench Press
Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, gripping the dumbbells so your palms face away from you. Lower one hand to the chest under control, keeping the other arm raised. Press from the chest and push the dumbbell back up until your elbow reaches full extension. Repeat with the other arm for one rep.
8. Bent-Over Row
Bend over so that the dumbbells are at mid-shin height and your palms are facing backward. Keeping a flat low back, row the dumbbells up to the chest. Lower to the original position and repeat.
9. Alternating Side Lunge
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Step out to one side and lower the dumbbell to the floor. Press back up and repeat on the other side.
10. Biceps Curl to Press
Begin standing with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend at the elbows and perform a standard biceps curl. Once the dumbbells are at shoulder height, switch your grip so the palms face outward. From there, raise the dumbbells overhead for a shoulder press. Lower back down with control for one rep.
What Do YOU Think?
Have you braved the Dumbbell Decathalon yet? Did you survive? What were the more challenging exercises? Which exercise would you add to your decathalon? Tell us in the comments below!