Is 10 minutes enough to build muscle in the legs? I put this dumbbell workout to the test to find out

A fitness writer's honest opinion on this short and simple lower-body session

A woman performs a dumbbell lunge in a sparse room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I go to the gym and lift weights three or four times a week. I usually spend about an hour working out each time, but on busy days I'll opt for a quicker routine instead.

Certified personal trainer Natalie Healy Fabrizio recently shared a ten-minute workout designed to build muscle in the legs. But is ten minutes enough to switch on the entire lower body, compared to a longer workout? I decided to try the routine to find out.

It's a pretty straightforward workout and all you need is a single dumbbell, so you can easily do it at home or in a quiet corner of the gym.

How to do Natalie Healy Fabrizio's workout

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There are five dumbbell and bodyweight movements and you can find the repetition counts for each move in the Instagram Reel above. Fabrizio suggests repeating the circuit twice through. I took around 30 seconds of rest between each round so the two rounds took closer to 15 minutes.

I used a 22lbs (10kg) dumbbell for all the movements, but if you are working out at home and find some exercises harder than others and want to use different weights you could invest in a pair of adjustable dumbbells. You can get a cheap spinlock set on Amazon for less than $60.

My experience trying a 10-minute dumbbell workout

I was familiar with most of the exercises in this routine. In fact, dumbbell lunges and goblet squats are some of my favorite exercises for strengthening lower-body muscles like the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

The routine also featured a plyometric exercise (a move that focuses on speed and force) in the form of a skater jump. This immediately fired up my lower-body muscles and got my heart rate up.

Although the exercises targeted a wide range of muscles, I would have preferred doing fewer exercises, repeated for at least four or five rounds.

The muscles in my legs were activated but it didn’t feel like there was enough repetition to challenge my muscles sufficiently For this reason, I wouldn't use it as an alternative to my usual hour-long strength sessions. But I would recommend this session for anyone new to strength workouts, who wants to try different exercises and figure out which ones they enjoy.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.