Using an exercise ball and dumbbells, you can target specific upper- and lower-body muscles and your core, to create cardio, endurance and muscle-building exercises. Using lighter dumbbells and creating higher-intensity workouts, you can burn fat while building muscle. Using heavier weights and working slowly, you can build muscle from head to toe.
No matter what your goals, it's a good idea to warm up, cooldown and stretch as part of your routine. Warm up without your exercise ball or weights and raise your heart rate and warm your muscles using dynamic movements. Jumping jacks and jogging in place while performing arm circles are effective choices. If you perform a cardio workout with your ball and dumbbells, cool down for several minutes without them. Walk around, raise and lower your arms and turn your torso from side to side while your breathing goes back to normal. Finish with a good stretch.
If you're looking to build muscle, use more weight and perform your exercises very slow. This will require you to use more muscular effort, rather than momentum as your perform reps, and makes you hold your muscle contractions longer. If you have heavy dumbbells, perform five repetitions of an exercise, take a short break, then do two more sets. If your dumbbells are light enough to let you perform many reps before you fatigue, exercise with them for 90 seconds for each exercise. If your goal is cardio, use lighter weights and perform your exercises quickly, using momentum to help perform your reps. Your goal is to raise your heart rate and keep it elevated during cardio workouts, not to bulk up.
To work your upper body, perform biceps curls, chest presses, flyes, triceps extensions, kickbacks, dumbbell rows and arm raises. These will work your biceps, triceps, chest, back and front and rear shoulder muscles. Target your hips, glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads with lunges, squats, heel raises and deadlifts. To target your abs, perform Russian twists. Hold your dumbbells at arms' length and turn side-to-side using your core, not your shoulders, to move you. Try crunches holding dumbbells with your arms crossed in front of your chest.
Exercise Ball Exercises
One of the key benefits of an exercise ball is that it's unstable, requiring you to recruit your core muscles to balance you while you do exercises. Performing upper-body dumbbell exercises while sitting or lying on an exercise ball will add an extra dimension to your workouts. Perform situps and crunches with your back on an exercise ball. Use your ball to do standing or sitting Russian twists. Hold the ball in your hands as you turn side-to-side, or rest your back on the ball with your feet flat on the floor, turning side-to-side. Stand with the ball between your back and the wall and raise and lower yourself to perform squats. Try performing pushups with your legs on the ball, then with your hands against the ball and your feet on the floor. Lie on your back and put your feet on the ball, then raise and lower your hips and butt to work your core.
If your goal is muscle building, it's important to give yourself 24 hours between workouts to let your muscles recover, repair and rebuild. This is why some people perform upper- and lower-body exercises on alternating days. If you'll be working your whole body each workout for bodybuilding, move from your upper-body to your core to your lower-body each exercise. You'll still perform three sets of one exercise, but when you start a new exercise, you'll change body areas. If you're working on endurance or cardio, change your exercise after each set.