Build full-body muscle in only 30 minutes with just a set of dumbbells
Strengthen your core, legs, arms, and back with this time-efficient 12-move dumbbell workout
Sometimes, you don't have an hour to spare for a lengthy workout, but that doesn't mean you can't get your fitness fix.
We've found a time-efficient routine that will strengthen your entire body using two quick six-move circuits, allowing you to squeeze your daily workout into just 30 minutes (including a warm-up and cool-down).
To take part you'll need access to some dumbbells. The trainer uses three different weights for the various moves, so we suggest using a set of the best adjustable dumbbells as they offer you several weight options. But, if you don't have a pair, a few fixed weight dumbbells (or even a pair of filled water bottles) will work too.
The routine was created by Heather Robertson, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. The aim is to perform each exercise for 40 seconds followed by a 20-second rest, and complete each six-move circuit twice through.
It's a guided session, so you can follow along as Robertson demonstrates each move. This is valuable, as getting the technique right can help you get the most from your training and avoid injury.
Watch Heather Robertson's full-body dumbbell workout
This routine is dominated by compound exercises; movements that use multiple joints and muscle groups at the same time, making them a top time-efficient training option.
Compound exercises also engage your midsection muscles for a solid abs workout, and many mirror everyday actions. For example, the squat mimics standing up from a chair, and the deadlift similar to picking something heavy up off the floor. As a result, they're a great way to build functional strength.
Henderson's routine starts with a quick warm up to get your blood pumping, and ends with a short cool down and stretch session. Not only can proper preparation either side of your workout help lessen post-workout aches (or delayed onset muscle soreness), it can also reduce your risk of injury and kickstart your recovery.
If you want to build strength and grow your muscles, workouts like this are a great place to start, but you also need to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Protein is particularly important as it is used by your body to repair and grow your muscles.
You can consume protein through whole foods such as meat, eggs, beans, and tofu, but many people also choose to supplement their intake with protein shakes to help them hit their daily protein quota.
If you're worried that you'll pack on pounds with traditional powders, we've rounded up the best protein powders for weight loss instead. These low-sugar options are ideal for building lean muscle and keep you full for longer too.
Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer producing news, features, buying guides and reviews for Fit&Well and sister site Coach. She is an avid runner and hill walker, and can often be seen sporting her trusty waist lead as she trains for her first marathon with her two border collies in tow. Lois has a Master’s in Digital Journalism from Strathclyde University and was previously a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.
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