Forget CrossFit — this 11-move ‘Dumbbell Destroyer’ workout builds functional strength and endurance

a woman carrying two dumbbells
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Enter the pain cave with this “Dumbbell Destroyer” full-body workout designed to build functional strength and endurance and send your heart rate skyrocketing. You just need a set of the best adjustable dumbbells and some serious energy. 

The advanced dumbbell workout has garnered over 2 million views since hitting YouTube thanks to Michael Vazquez and Scott Mathison who synchronize efforts to bring you an absolute beast of a full-body routine. 

“Here’s a great full-body workout using just a pair of dumbbells,” introduces Vazquez. You don’t need a partner to do it, but having a buddy to keep you company doesn’t sound like a bad idea when you’re 11 sets in. Below, we cover the workout in more detail so you know what to expect before hitting play and activating sweat mode.

Watch Michael Vazquez’s 22-set ‘Dumbbell Destroyer’ workout

“Your job today is to complete 2 sets per exercise. The rep and rest count are titled in the video,” Vazquez explains. “Remember to have good form and not go too fast because there are 11 exercises and some are harder than others.”

It’s fast-paced, so we recommend watching the video first, practicing your form for each exercise, then heading into your warm-up. Vazquez and Mathison demonstrate each dumbbell move, but the video isn’t follow-along, meaning once you’ve got to grips with the exercises, you’ll need to set your own timer. 

“Overall it’s such a great workout to shred up, burn fat and build functional strength.” You’ll work your upper and lower body and core using one dumbbell. For best results, remember to repeat the workout and add weight over time as you get fitter and stronger.

 Here’s a breakdown of the workout:

  • Warm-up: 60 seconds plank pass-throughs x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell push-ups to bodyweight push-ups x 20 reps, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Dumbbell plank taps x 30 taps, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Seated windshield wipers x 45 seconds, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Dumbbell snatches to push-ups x 14 reps, 2 sets, 60-second break
  • Turning dumbbell rows x 60 seconds, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Crusher curls to straight leg deadlifts x 12 reps, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Kneeling step squats x 12 reps, 2 sets, 60-second break
  • Dumbbell squats to press x 15 reps, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Dumbbell core slides to rows x 20 reps, 2 sets, 30-second break
  • Dumbbell mountain climbers x 45 seconds, 2 sets, 15-second break

What are the benefits of the full-body workout?

Despite this dumbbell workout sitting at the more advanced end of the scale, you could slow it down and scale in several ways. If you don’t have multiple weights, choose a medium weight that can suit most exercises and go lighter if needed. Use your knees whenever you need them to keep your form tight during moves like push-ups or planks. 

Focus on your form and a full range of motion, meaning no half or quarter reps. Instead, maximize tension in your muscles by squeezing the relevant muscle groups you’re working on and moving to your end range. For example, during rows, draw your elbow all the way back toward your hip, pause, and then fully extend the elbow again. For “perfect” push-ups, lower your chest to the floor, using your knees if needed, without allowing your hips to sag.

Most importantly, these guys make the workout look slick, polished and fun — which we love — but don’t compromise the quality of exercises just so you can bounce around at high intensity. The tempo does matter — it will increase your heart rate and energy output, help build endurance and feel more intense on your muscles — but only ramp it up when you feel confident with the exercises.

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Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III qualified fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.