Develop muscle all over in 18 minutes with this six-move dumbbell workout

Switch up your workouts and build full-body strength with this efficient dumbbell routine

A woman performing dumbbell biceps curls during a home workout
(Image credit: Getty / Cavan Images)

Home workouts often rely on the likes of squats, sit-ups, push-ups and burpees to help you get a sweat on. There's nothing wrong with these moves, but we find samey sessions can start to feel a bit boring after a while. 

Luckily, there are plenty of other exercise options to add a little variety (and fun) into your training plans, while still helping you build a fit and functional body. Introduce a pair of dumbbells (or adjustable dumbbells, if you're really lucky) into the mix and your exercise horizons broaden even further. 

This session from certified personal trainer Hannah Schmitz shows just how versatile a couple of dumbbells can be, using these weights for six body-strengthening moves. 

Schmitz challenges you to perform the exercises in turn for 40 seconds each, followed by a 20-second rest. Once you've finished all six, return to the start and repeat this sequence until you've completed three total rounds. 

You can watch her video below for a demonstration of each exercise. Take the time to practice your technique for each one then, when you feel comfortable, it's time grab your dumbbells and get started!

Watch Hannah Schmitz's full-body dumbbell workout

Most of the moves in this workout are compound exercises, meaning they use multiple joints and muscles at the same time. This is a top technique for time-efficient training as you tend to get more bang for your buck from each movement. 

These moves will also provide a core workout (alongside the two targeted abs exercises: straight arm sit-ups and Russian twists) by tasking your midsection muscles with supporting your spine and maintaining your posture while holding the additional weight of the dumbbells.

As a result, Schmitz is able to offer a comprehensive full-body workout in just 18 minutes (a great option for anyone who's short on time or trying to squeeze some mood-boosting movement into their day). 

If your goal is to build strength, don’t worry about completing as many reps as possible during the 40-second work periods. Instead, focus on perfecting your form and moving slowly and intentionally, which will increase your muscles' time under tension and help provide the stimulus needed for muscle growth.

Take a look at this tempo-focused home workout to learn more about how changing the timing of your lifts can make for a more effective strength-building session.

Or, if you don’t have weights at home, try this bodyweight strength workout instead. 

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.