Centr Trainer Ingrid Clay performs a dumbbell squat with the Centr SmartStack dumbbells.
Centr Team

5 fat-burning functional dumbbell exercises

Centr Team

We’re on a mission to get your heart and muscles pumping with 6 weeks of functional strength and cardio training in our program Centr Circuit: Elevate.

Your trainers Luke Zocchi and Alexz Parvi have picked 5 of their favorite high-intensity compound moves to get you burning fat while also improving the way you move.

Grab your dumbbells and get ready to burn it up.

Centr Trainer Ingrid Clay performs a side plank with the Centr SmartStack dumbbells.

The Smart Stack 50 Adjustable Dumbbell, available from shop.centr.com, is your ticket to fat-burning functional cardio and strength gains.

Does cardio burn fat?

Fat loss comes down to a calorie deficit: in a nutshell, the calories you consume in the form of food and drink need to be lower than the calories you burn through exercise, regular movement and simply existing. When that happens, your body will use the fat stored in your body for energy.

Cardio exercise can aid in this process by burning calories. Combine your high-intensity cardio with functional strength movements – compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once – and you increase the calorie burn.

And that’s exactly what Luke and Alexz do in Centr Circuit: Elevate – with added dumbbells to boost your strength while you’re getting your sweat on. As Luke says: “Strength training makes you a fat-burning machine!”

1. Dumbbell half jacks + overhead + forward press

The cardio burn of jumping jacks is taken to a whole new level with a move that spikes the heart rate while working the shoulders and your coordination.

How to do it: Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your chest. Jump your feet out to the side, while at the same time pushing the dumbbells up above your head. As you jump your feet back together, lower the dumbbells back to your chest. Now as you jump your feet out to the side again, press the dumbbells straight out in front of your chest, and bring them back to your chest as you jump your feet back together. Continue to alternate overhead and forward presses with each jump. If you need a low-impact modification, step out the jack like Luke.

2. Dumbbell suitcase squat + jump

Light your quads, glutes and calves on fire with this high-energy move.

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the dumbbells in each hand, hanging by your side as if they are small suitcases. Sit your butt back and down into a squat, as if you are lowering the suitcases to the ground. Squeeze your glutes as you push back up to propel yourself into a jump. Land with soft knees, dropping straight into another squat. Rise back up to standing, then repeat. If you need a modification to remove the explosive movement, rise up onto your toes like Alexz.

3. Dumbbell tempo squat + knee tucks + curl

Talk about a full-body blast! Lower, core and upper are all getting in on the action in this move. It’s performed at a fast pace, so it’s important to keep your form tight.

How to do it: Stand with your knees hip-width apart, letting the dumbbells hang at your sides. Sit your butt back and down into a squat, then as you push back up, raise your right knee up toward your torso at the same time as you curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells and your knee at the same time, and as your foot returns to the mat, drop into another squat – then push back up raising your left knee and curling the dumbbells. Continue alternating knees with each squat.

4. Dumbbell static lateral lunge + dumbbell swaps

Give your brain a workout alongside your abductors. And make sure you have a workout mat to protect your floor.

How to do it: Take a wide stance on the mat, letting the dumbbells hang at your sides. Keeping both feet grounded throughout, bend your left knee and push your hips back until your left thigh is almost parallel to the floor and your right leg is fully extended. While in this position, place the dumbbell in your right hand on the mat close to your left foot. Keeping your movement fluid, lunge to the right, placing the dumbbell in your left hand on the mat as you do. With your next lunges to each side, pick up the dumbbells one at a time. Continue placing the dumbbells down and picking them up as you lunge. Make sure you’re hinging at the hips and your back remains straight.

5. Dumbbell mountain climbers + half burpee

Don’t be deceived by the word ‘half’ – these might be even more challenging than a classic burpee. Staying low to the ground really rockets the leg burn.

How to do it: Take a plank position on the mat, hands holding your dumbbells on the floor beneath your shoulders and core engaged. Draw one knee in toward your chest, then return that foot to the mat, then draw the other knee up – repeating until you have pumped each knee twice. Now from the plank position, jump both feet forward toward your hands. Pause briefly, then jump your feet back into the plank position. If you need a low-impact modification, step each foot in for the burpee like Alexz.

Want more movement advice from the experts?

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