Admit it; gym memberships are really expensive if you want to join a big fancy gym with all the facilities. For a lot of people, this is one of the biggest reasons for getting demotivated about working out. It’s also very intimidating to be a beginner surrounded by people that are in way better shape than you. Add to that the testosterone-fueled atmosphere of most gyms, it’s pretty easy to see why gyms can be a pretty scary and intimidating place for people new to working out.

For many years, professional athletes have witnessed that free-weight training builds muscle size, strength, and power much faster than any other form of resistance training. Almost all professional athletes and body builders use free weight dumbbells and barbell weights regularly.

This article is specifically for those people who are too intimidated or shy to be able to work out at a gym or around others. All you need for this simple and effective workout is a set of dumbbells and a bench, available at almost every sports shop across the city.

You can do over a 100 functional and resistance exercises with the combination of a set of dumbbells and a bench. The workout below is to be performed twice-a-week, spaced out to allow several days in between workouts (Monday and Thursday or Wednesday and Sunday).

1. Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
2. Incline Dumbbell Press – 2 sets of 10-12 reps
3. One-Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
4. One-Arm Side Lateral Raises – 2 sets of 10-12 reps
5. Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
(All sets are to failure within the recommended rep range)

Take two days off and consume as many (clean) calories as you can if your aim is to get bigger in size.

Repeat the same workout as above but this time decrease the rep range to 6-8 and increase the weight of the dumbbells. Start with incline presses and substitute the bicep curls in the end with either triceps kickbacks or one-arm extensions to work your triceps. Incorporate a small but effective abdominal and lower body workout with deep stretches and aerobics in between your workout days.

If your body responds well to the training stimulus by growing stronger but you keep doing the same reps with the same weight in each workout, your body will not grow stronger or in size any further. Strive to do more repetitions with a given weight or simply increase the weight from one workout to the next and that’s the progressive stimulus you need to keep making positive improvements.

Remember, “Fitness is not about being better than someone else… it’s about being better than you used to be.” – Brett Hoebel