Strengthen your upper body and develop your abs with this 30-minute dumbbell workout

Train your core and work your arms, shoulders, and chest with this high-intensity routine

Man working out with dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You might not always have time for an extended gym session, but that doesn't mean you have to lose out on muscle-building exercise. With this 30-minute workout and a set of dumbbells, you can develop strength even when you're short on time.

If you're training at home, it's worth investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells. These are a space-saving option as they combine several weights into one, and you can quickly change the load mid-workout.

Some gyms also have adjustable sets, but if not, you can use these beginner strength training tips to work out your ideal load. The goal is to choose a weight that'll challenge you but isn't so heavy that you can't keep your form.

The 30-minute routine, designed by personal trainers Juice and Toya (opens in new tab), is split into three groups of four exercises. You'll do each move for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, then start on the following exercise to keep the intensity high.

After three rounds of a group, you get a longer 60-second break. Although you only train for 20 seconds, focusing on your technique is still essential to avoid injury. Fortunately, you can follow Juice and Toya's demonstrations to perfect your form.

Watch Juice & Toya's 30-minute dumbbell workout

It's an intense workout, which is why you can get muscle-building results in a short amount of time. This training style is known as Tabata, where you exercise in short, high-intensity bursts with minimal breaks.

This routine focuses on developing muscle with moves like the Arnold push press, dumbbell swings (similar to kettlebell swings), and other core strengthening exercises. But according to Josh Davies, a personal trainer at Aimee Victoria Long (opens in new tab), this isn't the only benefit. 

"Tabata-style workouts cause the heart rate to spike quickly as you're working at maximal intensity. And with only a very short rest of 10 seconds between each exercise, your heart becomes high quickly and stays high for the duration of the workout."

As a result, you burn more energy during the session and boost your metabolism for all-day fat-burning. This is a core feature of most high-intensity routines, so taking on a HIIT workout for fat loss can be a great way to hit your goals.

If you're tight on time and need a quick blast of exercise, learning how to do a burpee can help you fit in a full-body workout without equipment. The workout staple blends strength training with heart-rate raising jumps to help you get muscle-building and fat-burning results.

James Frew
James Frew

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.