Strengthen your core and build muscle all over with just six moves and a pair of dumbbells

Develop full-body strength, increase your heart rate and boost your metabolism with this short resistance routine

Woman doing renegade row exercise at a gym
(Image credit: Getty)

Strength training has so many health benefits, and you don't need fancy gym equipment or lots of experience exercising to get started. In fact, it's pretty straightforward to start building muscle at home, even as a beginner. 

All you need is a pair of dumbbells, which you can use to strengthen the entire body. We'd recommend investing in a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells, so you can increase the weights you're lifting as you get stronger, without investing in brand new equipment.

Then you'll want to pair the weights with a full-body workout; a great option if you're new to strength training, as you'll target a wide range of muscles without needing to overcomplicate things or plan out a muscle-by-muscle routine. 

Try this session from Julie Ledbetter, which is made up of six dumbbell moves. As well as helping you to build strength, this workout will also raise your heart rate, engaging your cardiovascular system to help boost your metabolism.

This is a circuit workout, meaning you'll complete the reps of each exercise, before moving onto the next move, moving through the circuit a total of three rounds.This workout follows a fairly high rep range, so make sure you choose a weight that is manageable but challenging for the amount of reps required. 

Watch Julie Ledbetter's six-move dumbbell workout

For two of the exercises—the chest fly to pullover and the bridge skull crushers—you'll be following a ladder format for the reps. This means you'll start with a relatively low amount of reps, and add a couple each round, to burn out your muscles.

Plus, these exercises will also put your midsection to the test, so it's a great one to come back to regularly if you want to build a strong core muscle, which can boost your balance, improve your posture, and promote circulation.

If you're struggling with balance during some of the exercises, think about engaging your core by tucking in your ribcage and squeezing your abdominal muscles. This will center your bodyweight and boost stability.

Rest for two minutes in between each round, using this time to stretch out your muscles, especially if you feel tight in any specific areas. These stretching exercises are great for easing tension throughout the entire body.

You should also stretch after you finish working out to prevent DOMs (delayed-onset-muscle-soreness). Following a high-protein diet will also help with muscle growth and recovery.

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.