30 minutes and 10 moves to boost your metabolism and develop full-body strength

This short dumbbell workout engages your core, works muscles all over your body, and raises your heart rate

woman doing a dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty Images/Thomas Barwick)

I love a workout that combines cardio and strength elements, recruiting my muscles and my lungs simultaneously while working up a decent sweat. Plus, you don't need much equipment to get started. 

You can target your whole body using just a pair of dumbbells (or adjustable dumbbells if you want to switch between weights) a yoga mat, and this short workout from NASM-certified personal trainer Sydney Cummings Houdyshell.

There are 10 moves in total, and these are split into five sets of pairs (sometimes called supersets). You'll do the first exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then do the same for the next move. 

Repeat this pattern for three rounds, then start on the next superset. To get the most from your training, it's vital that you get the technique just right. So, be sure to perfect your form with Cummings Houdyshell's demonstrations before you start. 

Watch Sydney Cummings Houdyshell's dumbbell workout

Supersets are an efficient way to exercise, allowing you to work through more moves in less time, making it an ideal way to train when you're tight on time. Plus, they're just as effective at increasing your strength and endurance levels. 

By lowering the number and length of your rest periods, supersets increase the intensity of your session too. This raises your heart rate, and, in turn, helps boost your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn throughout the day). 

It's a similar technique that you'd find in a high-intensity HIIT workout for fat loss, but with Cummings Houdyshells routine, you're also working with weights to add resistance to your muscles. 

But you don't want to lift a load that's too heavy and end up doing the exercise with improper form, as that could lead to injury and means you aren't getting the ful benefits, but what dumbbell weight should you choose

As a general rule, you want to find it difficult, but not impossible, to get through a set without impacting your form. Cummings Houdyshell recommends choosing between 50-75% of the maximum weight you can lift for each exercise in this routine. 

Afterwards, you'll likely feel the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) as your workout has caused tiny tears in your muscle fibers that your body needs to repair to strengthen and grow your muscles. 

Protein can help with this, and while you can get enough through your diet, if you want a top up, the best protein powders for weight loss can help. These are low in sugar and fat, so shouldn't interfere with your fitness goals. 

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.