Build full-body muscle in just 25 minutes with this five-move dumbbell workout

This short, high-intensity routine builds strength all over and improves your metabolism in less than 30 minutes

Man exercising with dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Developing strength is a great make movement easier and aid you in everyday tasks like lifting. You don't need to aim for bodybuilder-style muscles to see the benefits. Instead, you can use this short, five-move session to build strength all over. 

The routine, developed by personal trainer Rhiannon Bailey (opens in new tab), is designed to target your upper and lower body, while engaging your core for stability and balance. All you need to get started is a set of dumbbells. 

According to Bailey, "combining weights with high-intensity interval [training] is a great way to boost your fitness, build muscle, and work your full body to its max in a short period of time." You'll aim to exercise for 45 seconds and take a 15-second break before the next move. 

You'll then repeat the five-move round five times for an effective 25-minute muscle-building workout. It's essential to focus on your form, so practice your technique with Bailey's demonstrations before you get started. 

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's full-body dumbbell workout

The routine's effectiveness is partly down to the choice of moves — compound exercises (opens in new tab) that work multiple muscles simultaneously for a time-efficient session — and the training style. Bailey's routine is an example of high-intensity resistance training (opens in new tab) (HIRT). 

These workouts are similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions but with a focus on strength-building moves rather than cardio-focused activities. The aim is to train intensely in short bursts with minimal rests, which helps work your muscles hard but has other benefits, too. 

Exercising in this way raises your heart rate, so you burn more energy than during an equivalent steady-paced routine. Sustaining this high heart rate has longer-term effects, like increasing your metabolism for all-day fat-burning. So you get a fat-burning, muscle-building workout in just 25 minutes. 

Training your muscles like this causes small tears in the fibers your body needs to repair to strengthen and grow your muscles. It's crucial to stay topped up with protein using the best protein powders for weight loss (opens in new tab) to get the best results, as this essential nutrient helps your body recover. 

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.