The five-move, low-impact dumbbell workout you can do in 30 minutes

Work your whole body with this five-move dumbbell workout by PT Kate Rowe-Ham

Dumbbell workout: tricep extension
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking for a short, low-impact workout to tone and build muscle, then look no further. This easy circuit is great for any age and demographic, from older exercisers right up to heavily trained individuals. As long as you have a pair of dumbbells, you can do this simple set of five exercises no matter your fitness level.

Versatile enough to target the entire body, dumbbell training is good for beginners and the more experienced alike, especially if using one of the best adjustable dumbbells, which can be tailored to your strength level. 

Resistance training is particularly important from our 30s and 40s onwards to combat the loss of bone and muscle mass which begins around middle age, slowing our metabolism and increasing the risk of bone conditions such as osteoporosis. 

It’s not always easy to fit exercise in though, so personal trainer, Kate Rowe-Ham (founder of Owning Your Menopause) has created this simple, five-move workout you can get through within 30 minutes, or shorten to fit whatever time you have available. Check out the workout in full below:

The workout

Kate recommends aiming for 10 to 12 reps of each exercise and 3 to 4 sets, depending on your strength level and how much time you have available. If you’re pressed for time, just reduce the number of sets. “Always try to warm up and cool down though,” she adds.

Goblet squats

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly out. 
  • Hold one dumbbell, vertically, against your chest, so both hands are holding the top weight, elbows pointing down.
  • Bend your knees and lower slowly into a deep squat position, keeping your chest up. Pause, then push up to standing to complete the rep. 

Weighted reverse lunge with bicep curls

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms by your side. 
  • Take a big step back into a lunge.
  • At the same time, lift both dumbbells up towards your shoulders, bending your elbows.
  • Push back to standing and at the same time lower the dumbbells.
  • Repeat on the other foot to complete the rep. 

Tricep extension

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, knees soft.
  • Hold one dumbbell, vertically, above your head, so both hands are holding the top weight. Arms should be straight and elbows pointing forwards.
  • Lower the weight behind your head, bending your elbows. Raise it back up to complete the rep.

Dumbbell chest press

  • Lay on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. 
  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms straight up, palms facing towards your feet.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells outwards, bending your elbows to a 90⁰ angle.
  • Slowly push the dumbbells back up to complete the rep.   

Weighted hip thrust

  • Lay on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. 
  • Place a dumbbell across your pelvic bone, holding it steady with both hands.
  • Engaging your core and squeezing your glutes, push your hips into the air, pause, then lower back down slowly to complete the rep.

Love the convenience of working out at home? You can take things a step further and invest in some of the best workout equipment for home for even more flexibility. TRX rigs and multi-gyms, for example, can offer an even wider variety of resistance training solutions, taking your home gym to the next level. 

Claire is a freelance health, fitness and food journalist who has written for titles including Women’s Health, Top Santé, Woman & Home, Feel Good You, the Telegraph and Independent. She has a passion for being outside in nature and you’re more likely to find her walking in the woods or joining an exercise class in the park than pounding a treadmill in the gym. She also has a special interest in nutrition and healthy eating, having previously been Food Editor at Top Santé magazine. Her top fitness tip? Take your exercise outdoors wherever possible. It has been shown to boost the physical as well as mental health benefits of a workout and also to make you more likely to want to do it again!