DB Challenge Complex

Muscle imbalances are a fact of life. No matter how much you work to overcome them, your body will be somewhat asymmetrical. The good news is that you can reduce the gap between the weak and dumb side to the strong and smart side of your body.

Now one way that I like to deal with my muscle imbalances, and those of my clients, is to do a dumbbell workout and more specifically do single arm dumbbell Work.

This not only reveals where muscle imbalances are but it helps you address them.

As I said, you’ll always have a difference between your weak and strong sides but you can lessen the gap. Dumb bell work helps.  Always train your weak side first when you are strong and fresh, then follow with the strong side.

Here’s a fun workout:

OK to Be Single (Reps and rounds)

Do 5 reps of each exercise:

  • Squat with Single Dumbbell Over Head
  • Single Push Press or Thruster
  • One Leg RDL (Romanian Deadlift)
  • Single DB  (Dumbbell) row
  • Push Up One Hand on DB
  • 20 DB Swings

Do 6 – 10 total sets, or 3 – 5 sets per side.

#1 – Squat with Single Dumbbell Over Head


1 Squat with Single Dumbbell Over Head


Do 10 reps. You can use that other hand for balance and try to count at the same time. Keep that chin high, the head controls the spine and by looking up you will avoid folding at the waist.

#2 – Single Push Press or Thruster

From here,  do a Thruster with the same arm for 10 repetitions.

2 Single Push Press or Thruster

#3 – One Leg RDL

Then do a 1 Leg RDL (Romanian Deadlift) with just one dumbbell. It takes a little bit of balance here working that hamstrings. Try to keep the ears in line with the shoulders, spot right in front of you. Do 10 reps of this.

One Leg RDL

#4 – Single Dumbbell Row

From here, do a dumbbell row but change the leg and rest your hand on your leg for support. Keep a flat back, and a little bit of shoulder rotation. Do 10 reps of this.

4 Single DB Row

#5 – Push Up One Hand on Dumbbell

Then do 10 reps of uneven push-ups with one hand on a dumbbell. If you need to drop to your knees, that’s totally fine. Keep the elbows in tight to your side.

Push Up One Hand on Dumbbell

#6 – Dumbbell Swing

The transition is going to be 20 dumbbell swings. Keep the back flat. Squeeze the glutes and keep your abs tight as you do the movement. Make sure you have your weight back on your heels.

20 Dumbbell Swings

Other Side

Now repeat the sequence on the other side. This is the strong side, but it doesn’t feel quite as strong now.

Form is imperative with complexes. Increase the load instead of increasing speed. Often times you’ll see complexes that are done in AMRAP style. In fact, I have some in my program too, but my goal for you is just to maintain a consistent steady pace in a round instead of slowing down as most often happens with fatigue.

The best news about complexes is that your load can be lighter and through the course of the complex it’s going to feel heavy. Don’t feel like you’re married to a certain weight, you can always lighten the load as the complex goes on if your form is falling apart. If you’re not challenged, go ahead and pick up a heavier dumbbell.

If you liked this workout, check out Challenge Complexes, it has 27 more complexes just like it: