This four-move dumbbell workout builds strength all over in just 30 minutes

Strengthen your core, develop full-body muscle, and boost your metabolism with this short session

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

If you work out at the gym, you've probably used some exercise machines. But if you're away from the gym or don't have much equipment to hand, you can still strengthen your whole body in just 30 minutes with a set of dumbbells.

All you need to get started is a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells. These are ideal for when you're training at home as they combine several dumbbells in one, saving you on a weights rack, but also can quickly adjust mid-workout between moves so that you can focus on your training.

If you prefer exercising at the gym, use these beginner strength training tips to find a load to help you hit your fitness goals. You'll need a weight that'll challenge you but won't affect your form. Then, find a bit of clear space, and you can take on personal trainer Rhiannon Bailey's (opens in new tab) dumbbell workout.

There are just four moves in the routine, and the aim is to complete up to eight rounds for a 30-minute workout. To fit all of this into the time, you'll exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next move.

If you're new to dumbbell routines or could use a refresher, you can practice your technique with Bailey's demonstrations before getting started. This helps develop your form so that you can get the most from your training and avoid injury, which is a particular concern when working with weights.

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's four-move dumbbell workout

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This workout style is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where you exercise intensely in short bursts with only minimal rest. This is similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but focuses on strength-building moves rather than cardio-based exercises.

But HIIT and HIRT help raise your heart rate, which means you burn more energy during the workout than during an equivalent steady-state session. But sustaining this high heart rate leads to longer-lasting changes, like boosting your metabolism for all-day fat-burning results.

This is part of the reason that it's an efficient session, especially when paired with the multi-muscle exercises Bailey chose for the routine. Thrusters, renegade rows, dumbbell swings, and devil presses are all compound exercises — moves that work several muscle groups simultaneously — and help you get a full-body workout from a short session.

If you liked this session's muscle-building results, it's also worth picking up one of the best kettlebells and learning how to do kettlebell swings. This compound move works your whole body, develops your core, and boosts your metabolism.

James Frew
Staff Writer

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.