Boost your metabolism and build full-body muscle with this trainer’s straightforward six-move dumbbell workout

You don't need the gym to develop muscle, just this workout

Woman doing push press overhead with dumbbells outside in a park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want to build strength but don't have a gym membership or a personal trainer, you'll be glad to know that all you need to get stronger is a pair of dumbbells.

Personal trainer James Stirling, better known online as The London Fitness Guy, recently shared a workout proving just how effective dumbbells can be.

The routine, which is made up of six exercises and takes around 30 minutes, targets a wide range of muscles, including the quadriceps, glutes, shoulders and the core.

It features a lot of compound exercises, which are movements that recruit multiple muscles at once. Because this type of strength training requires a significant amount of effort and energy, it will raise your heart rate and improve your cardio fitness.

How to do James Stirling's dumbbell workout

A post shared by James Stirling - HOME WORKOUTS 💪🏻

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You can do this routine at home or from the gym. All you'll need is a pair of dumbbells, but you might need to switch weights between moves. Exercises like the lateral squat recruit big lower-body muscles, so you’ll be able to lift heavier. Other moves, like the overhead press, will target smaller upper-body muscles and require a lighter load.

If you're looking to develop a good home gym setup, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of adjustable dumbbells, which will grant you access to a range of weights without taking up too much cupboard space. We like this cheap, spinlock set that costs less than $60 on Amazon.

You may also need to make adjustments to some of the challenging bodyweight moves in this routine. Not everyone can do a full push-up, in which your chest touches the floor. If you're not able to do this, try doing a push-up with your knees on the floor. Or do a push-up on a raised surface, like a box, bench, or couch, which will make the move easier.

Complete each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Aim to do five sets of the entire routine in total for a 30-minute full-body workout.

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.