Build muscular arms and stronger legs with this six-move, full-body dumbbell routine

This speedy dumbbell session strengthens your entire body

Man working out with dumbbells at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to work out but pushed for time? Full-body, fast-paced dumbbell routines are a great way to maximize strength-training results in a time-efficient way. This type of session can target your lower and upper body, while providing a satisfying cardio challenge. 

This six-move sequence from Rhiannon Bailey works your legs, arms, core and more—plus it gets your heart rate up. 

Bailey suggests performing each move for 40 seconds, followed by a 20 second rest period. Repeat this four times, per exercise, to fully exhaust your muscles. 

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's full-body dumbbell workout

How it works

The moves in this workout are compound exercises, which target multiple muscles at once. For example, the renegade row leg lifts will target your triceps (on the back of your upper arms), gluteal muscles (found in your butt) and challenge your mid-body core.

This is partly what makes the routine so efficient. The other factor, of course, is the fast pace of the exercise. 

This is an example of a HIRT workout, which stands for high-intensity resistance training. It's similar to HIIT, in that it's made up of short periods of intense, fast-paced work and even shorter periods of rest, but it incorporates a resistance element. In this case, a pair of dumbbells.

This offers some of the cardio benefits of HIIT, while adding an extra challenge to your muscles. As a side note, remember to focus on your form during the exercises. Just because you're going at a faster pace, doesn't mean you can start arching your back or not fully completing the move.

Regularly completing this workout could also improve your functional strength, which reflects your ability to do everyday tasks like carrying your shopping, climbing the stairs and lugging round heavy luggage. 

For further workouts that help improve functional strength, try working through the moves listed in this functional strength training piece. Or, if you can’t tolerate heavy loads on your joints, have a go at this five-move chest workout with a resistance band

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips is a freelance writer based in London, UK. He specializes in fitness, health, and nutrition features, with bylines at Ideal Home, GQ, T3, and others.  He has a B.A. in politics and is currently working on a post-graduate diploma in law. In his spare time, he enjoys strength training workouts, running, rowing, and yoga.