20 minutes, a set of dumbbells, and this resistance workout to build muscle all over

Develop full-body strength and burn fat with this muscle-building dumbbell workout

Man performing dumbbell bicep curls
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Developing muscle across your whole body doesn't have to take hours at the gym. Instead, you can use this 20-minute resistance training session to build full-body strength in just 20 minutes with a set of dumbbells.

If you're training at home, it's worth investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells. These combine several weights in one for easy storage, and you can quickly modify the weight if you're using the progressive overload technique to build muscle.

When you're at the gym or only have fixed-load weights to hand, you can use this guide to find out which dumbbell weights you should use. Generally, it's best to use a load that'll challenge you but won't affect your form.

Then, you'll be ready to take on fitness YouTuber Chris Heria's (opens in new tab) 20-minute strength training workout. To fit 20 moves into the session, you'll exercise for 45 seconds, take a 15-second rest, then start on the next move.

If you're new to resistance training, using dumbbells, or could use a refresher on your technique, you can perfect your form using Heria's demonstrations to get the most from your workout and avoid injury.

Watch Chris Heria's 20-minute workout

Heria uses a training style known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to work your muscles intensely in short bursts with only minimal rests to see results, even when you are short on time.

If this sounds similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), that's because it is, but with a focus on muscle-building exercises rather than cardio-based moves. Both styles also help raise your heart rate and boost your metabolism for all-day fat-burning.

This routine combines dumbbell exercises like Russian twists, tricep extensions, and Romanian deadlifts with bodyweight staples, including push-ups, squats, and lunges, to help develop strength all over.

As Heria mentions at the start of the routine, it's ideal for beginners and more experienced exercisers as you control how intense the session is. Unlike repetition-based workouts, the focus is on doing as much as possible in the time.

If you enjoy this blend of high-intensity exercise with weights, it's also worth picking up one of the best kettlebells and learning how to do kettlebell swings. This single move works your whole body, strengthens your core, and boosts your metabolism.

James Frew
Staff Writer

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.