Build full-body muscle in just 15 minutes with this 12-move dumbbell workout

When you’re tight for time, this routine is an effective way to strengthen your muscles and boost your metabolism

Woman in workout clothes standing in living room with light dumbbell weights in her hands
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to build strength. With just a few multi-muscle compound exercises and a set of dumbbells, you can work your body, develop your core, and boost your metabolism in as little as 15 minutes.

This quick, 12-move session from online training duo Tiff x Dan will raise your heart rate and strengthen your muscles. You’ll do each exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second break, then start on the next move. 

It’s vital to perfect your form for each move to get the most from your training and avoid injury, especially when working with weights. You can follow along with Dan’s demonstrations to practice your technique as you go.

Watch Tiff x Dan’s 15-minute dumbbell workout

This exercise style is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT): you work out intensely in short bursts with minimal rest to raise your heart rate. It’s a lot like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but with a focus on muscle-building moves rather than cardio exercise.

One of the other reasons this workout is so effective is the choice of moves. Dan uses several compound exercises in the routine, which are designed to work muscles all over your body rather than focusing on a single area as you’d find in a biceps curl.

Some of these, like the sumo squat lower, add dumbbells to increase the load of a bodyweight exercise, while there are also equipment-free staples like planks, which engage the muscles around your shoulders, arms, and back.

This move also engages your core, boosting the connection between your upper and lower body. Strengthening your core can help to improve posture, recovery, and stability, so if you want to focus on this area, you could add this core workout for beginners into your routine.

Need help picking your next set of weights? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor 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.