Build core strength in just 30 minutes with this full-body dumbbell workout

This five-move routine works your whole body, boosts your metabolism, and strengthens your core

Man doing a dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Many exercise routines focus on a specific goal, like building muscle in your arms or strengthening your legs. However, with this full-body workout, you can strengthen your core and build muscle all over in just 30 minutes with a set of weights.

If you're exercising at the gym, grab a set of dumbbells at a load that'll challenge you but isn't so heavy they impact your form. For those training at home, it's worth investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells instead.

These versatile weights combine several dumbbells in one, saving you money and space on a full weights rack, but they also adapt as you get stronger. This way, you can increase the load over time to continue seeing results, a technique known as progressive overload.

Rhiannon Bailey (opens in new tab), the personal trainer behind this routine, says, "if you've hit a plateau, full body sessions are a great way to shake things up! Increased variety, more interesting, more complex, and often more rewarding!"

The moves included here develop a connection between your upper and lower body thanks to your core, an area of mid-body muscle that includes your abs, which improves your performance, enhances your posture, and helps promote circulation.

It's worth watching Bailey and fellow personal trainer Bradley Simmonds' (opens in new tab) demonstrations for each of the five moves before you start, so you can learn the technique, focus on your form, and get the most from your training.

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's full-body workout

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You'll do each exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next move. It's a workout style known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to train intensely for short bursts while only taking minimal breaks.

It's an efficient way to train, as you work your muscles hard, raise your heart rate, and boost your metabolism, leading to muscle-building, fat-burning results in as little as 20-30 minutes of exercise. But that isn't the only benefit of this session.

Bailey also notes that full-body routines are ideal for building muscle as "you're working more than one muscle group several times" over a week and that these workouts are "a super efficient way to work major muscle groups in a focused, productive session."

Part of the routine's effectiveness is also due to the selection of moves. Bailey includes several compound exercises which work multiple muscles simultaneously, further improving the efficiency of your training.

If you're looking for extra compound moves to add to your training, consider investing in one of the best kettlebells and learning how to do kettlebell swings. This single exercise works your whole body, engages your core, raises your heart rate, 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.