Burn fat and build muscle with this one-move dumbbell exercise

Work your whole body, raise your heart rate, and boost your metabolism with a single move

Man performing the Man Maker dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want to build muscle, you need to pick up some weights, and to burn fat, you need to spend hours running on a treadmill, right? Well, not necessarily, as you can boost your metabolism and work your whole body with a single dumbbell exercise.

You only need a pair of weights to get started, although it's worth investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells if you're training at home. These customizable weights are a space-saving way to build muscle and can adapt as you develop strength.

This way, you can use the progressive overload technique to challenge your body, even as you build muscle. It's a vital ingredient of the dumbbell exercise known as the Man Maker—a blend of burpees, rows, push-ups, and presses.

Despite the name, it's an exercise well-suited to anyone looking for a time-efficient way to hit their fitness goal, as demonstrated by online fitness trainers Tiff x Dan (opens in new tab). The duo suggests "adding this between sets or as part of a finisher" to get the best results. 

It's a high-intensity move that combines cardio and resistance training to raise your heart rate and work your whole body. If you're new to Man Makers, perfect your technique by following Dan's demonstrations before you start.

Watch Tiff x Dan's one-move dumbbell workout

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Although exercises like squats and lunges work several muscles simultaneously, the Man Maker is one of the most effective compound exercises, working muscles in your upper body, core, and lower half at the same time.

And if you've learned how to do a burpee in the past, you'll know how demanding and effective this bodyweight move can be. Combining the two exercise styles means you can get a high-intensity resistance training workout in just a single move.

So even a few minutes of Man Makers is like learning how to do kettlebell swings; you work your whole body, raise your heart rate, and boost your metabolism for fat-burning, muscle-building results.

As you're using muscles all over your body, you'll likely feel the post-workout aches known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). As you exercise, tiny tears form in your muscle fibers, which need to be repaired to grow and strengthen the muscle.

You can use one of the best foam rollers to give yourself a gentle massage and encourage blood flow into the area. And you can promote recovery without compromising on your goals by adding one of the best protein powders for weight loss into your diet.

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.