"I love strength training because of how it makes me feel": Try this trainer’s nine-move home workout to boost your mood and build muscle

Build functional strength and send your motivation levels skywards with this fun, efficient strength session

Woman doing dumbbell curls at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Most people don’t need to spend an hour in the gym to make strides towards their health and fitness goals. 

This dumbbell workout is designed to strengthen your upper-body, lower-body and core in just 35 minutes. 

"This workout is great for a busy week when you might not get the chance to train muscle groups individually," says its creator, NASM-certified women’s fitness specialist Alayna Curry.

"You don’t need a lot of equipment either, just a few pairs of dumbbells and enough space for the size of a yoga mat."

How to do Alayna Curry’s dumbbell workout

  • Squat to overhead press 3x10
  • Standing chest press 3x10
  • Lateral raise to hammer curl 3x10 
  • Overhead triceps extension 3x10
  • Hand-release push-up 3x10
  • Glute bridge march 3x10 
  • Dead bug 3x10
  • Toe touch 3x10
  • Windshield wipers 3x10 

Perform the exercises listed above as a circuit, completing 10 repetitions of each one in turn. Once you’ve completed all nine moves, rest for 90 seconds then repeat this sequence. Continue to do this until you’ve finished three rounds in total. 

Curry also recommends starting with a warm-up and ending with five minutes of static stretches. 

1. Squat to overhead press

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your toes pointing outwards slightly, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your shoulders. 
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees to squat down as if you were sitting into a chair behind you. Lower your hips as far towards the ground as you can while keeping your back straight and your chest up.
  • Drive through the heels to return to standing. As you do this, push the dumbbells upwards so your arms are extended directly overhead. 
  • Control the dumbbells back to your shoulders to complete the repetition.

2. Standing chest press

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold one dumbbell in front of your chest with your hands on either end so the handle is parallel to the ground. 
  • Slowly extend your arms out in front of you, keeping them parallel with the floor.
  • Pull the dumbbell back to your chest.

3. Lateral raise to hammer curl

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing inwards. 
  • With a small bend in your elbows and your arms slightly in front of your body, raise your arms out to your sides until they are roughly parallel with the ground. 
  • Slowly, control the dumbbells back to the starting position. 
  • From there, keeping your palms facing inwards, curl the dumbbells straight up to just in front of your shoulders and then back down. That’s one repetition. 

4. Overhead triceps extension

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Stand upright with your arms extended above your head, holding one end of a dumbbell in both hands. 
  • Keeping your upper arms vertical, bend your elbows to slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  • Push the dumbbell back to the starting position. 

5. Hand-release push-up

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Get into a push-up position, with your weight spread between your hands and your toes, and your legs and torso forming a straight line. 
  • Keeping your elbows tucked into your sides, lower your chest to the floor. 
  • When you’re lying on the floor, lift your hands an inch off the ground, then plant them back down and push yourself back up to the starting position. This is a difficult exercise. To make it slightly easier, try keeping your knees on the ground throughout the movement. 

6. Glute bridge march

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees pointing upwards. Place a dumbbell across your hips and hold it in place with your hands.
  • Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) to drive your hips upwards until your torso and thighs form a straight line. 
  • Keeping your knees bent, lift your right foot a few inches off the floor, plant it back down, then do the same with your left foot. 
  • Finally, lower your hips back to the floor. That’s one repetition. 

7. Dead bug

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Lie on your back with your arms and thighs extended towards the ceiling and your knees at a right angle so your lower legs are parallel with the ground. 
  • Lower your left arm over your head until it is about an inch from the floor. At the same time, straighten your right leg so it is also about an inch from the floor. 
  • Draw both limbs back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Alternate the arm and leg you use with each repetition.

8. Toe touch

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended towards the ceiling. 
  • Reach your arms upwards, then use your abdominal muscles to curl your spine and touch your toes. 
  • Control your upper back down to the ground, keeping your arms and legs extended. That’s one repetition. 

9. Windscreen wiper

Sets: 3 Reps: 10  

  • Lie on your back with your thighs vertical and your knees at a right angle so your lower legs are parallel to the ground. 
  • Slowly lower your legs to the left side then, without letting them touch the ground, bring them back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Alternate the side you lower your legs to with each repetition. 

Looking for your next set of weights? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.


Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.