Strengthen your whole body and boost your metabolism with just four moves and two dumbbells

This short dumbbell routine builds full-body muscle, works your core, and boosts your metabolism in just 20 minutes

Woman doing dumbbell overhead press
(Image credit: Getty Images/ Hinterhaus Productions)

You don't have to spend hours in the gym for a great full-body workout. All you really need is a few good moves, some basic equipment and enough space to move around.

So long as you have some dumbbells to hand, you can work your whole body, strengthen your core, and raise your heart rate. The best adjustable dumbbells are a great option if you regularly train at home, as they combine several weights and you can quickly change the load between moves. 

Then you'll be ready to take on this minimal equipment routine from personal training duo Mr and Mrs Muscle. It takes less than 20 minutes, so it's ideal if you're short on time or want to squeeze in some muscle-building exercise in your lunch break.

To get started, perform the four moves for 30 seconds each with a 10-second rest between them. The duo recommend repeating this sequence for three or four rounds in total to complete the workout.

If you're new to these exercises, you can follow along with the trainers' demonstrations to practice your technique to get the most from your training and avoid injury. Plus, you could try them without weights first to perfect your form. 

Watch Mr and Mrs Muscle's workout video

If you struggle with any of these exercises, don't worry. You can always shorten your working time to 20 or 10 seconds, or use the easier versions of the exercises provided (these can be seen in the top left of the screen during the video workout).  

If you're wondering how you can pack in a full-body, muscle-building, fat-burning workout into just 20 minutes, it comes down to the type of exercises. The duo use compound exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time, making them more efficient than single-muscle isolation exercises. 

For example, when you're doing the reverse lunge to biceps curls, your arms and core are called into action as well as large leg muscles including the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. 

To get the best results from this workout, it's worth considering what dumbbell weight you should use. The aim is to find a load that'll challenge your muscles to get through a set, but won't affect your form or cause injury.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors,, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.