Just one dumbbell and 20 minutes are all you need to train your whole body

Pick up a dumbbell and try five to six of these compound exercises for a full-body workout

Woman does dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trainer Brittany Williams has put together a brilliant workout routine that you can personalize to your own needs. She's demonstrated 10 full-body exercises you can mix and match for a heart-pumping 20-minute session. 

The moves are all compound exercises, meaning you work multiple muscle groups at once and get a full-body workout in a fairly short space of time. If there’s a move that doesn’t work for you, you can simply skip it and choose another.

She suggests picking five to six out of the lot and using them to build your own, personalized session. 

How to do the workout

  • Alternating step-out snatch
  • Sumo squat bicep curl to raise
  • Split squat tricep extension
  • Offset Romanian deadlift to upright row
  • Lateral pullover crunch
  • Birddog row
  • Chest press scissor switch
  • Kneel to squat
  • Tricep skullcrusher supine march
  • Chest press glute bridge

Pick five or six exercises out of the above suggestions and do 10 repetitions (or eight on each side for single arm or leg exercises) for four rounds. If you want more of a challenge, you can attempt to do all 10 moves. 

What are compound exercises?

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that engage more than one muscle group at once, making them an efficient alternative to isolation exercises (where you only work a single joint and one muscle area at a time). 

Speaking previously with Fit&Well, trainer Chelsea Labadini explained that compound exercises can help you efficiently build strength across the body in a short space of time. 

"The beauty of compound exercises is they work for everyone," she said. "As you get stronger and more confident with your form you can progress the exercise by increasing the weight or the amount of repetitions you do."

"If you are a beginner or have no access to equipment, then you can use your own body weight as resistance for compound exercises. This includes exercises like squats, lunges, split squats, press-ups, and pull-ups."

Looking for more full-body routines? Try this full-body dumbbell workout, or go equipment-free with this beginner bodyweight workout

Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help you pick your next set of weights

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.


Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.