This one-dumbbell workout is the easiest way to develop full-body strength

You don't need tons of equipment to build muscle, just this simple but effective routine

Woman doing a cossack squat with a dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You don't need to spend hours in the gym to improve your strength. You can get great results by exercising at home, either by doing bodyweight-only moves or by copying simple routines like this single dumbbell workout. 

This short dumbbell session was created by SWEAT app trainer Britany Williams and features seven compound exercises. These challenging moves recruit several muscles at the same time; they require a lot of energy to perform and will increase your calorie burn while also strengthening your entire body. 

Wondering what dumbbell weight to use? Choose something that's manageable yet challenging. The last few repetitions of each exercise should feel difficult, but not impossible to execute. 

Watch Britany Williams' single dumbbell full body workout

Complete between 10 to 12 repetitions (reps) of each exercise on each side of the body. Aim for the lower end of the rep range if the weight you're using feels very challenging. As you get stronger and more comfortable with the exercises, you can gradually work up to 12 reps before moving onto a heavier weight.

Take 20-30 seconds of rest between each exercise and move through the entire circuit between three and four times, with 60-90 seconds of rest in between rounds.

Use the rest time to shake out your muscles and do some stretching exercises. It's also important to warm-up and cool down before and after a workout like this one, in order to prevent injury.

Why everyone should strength train

Strength training has all kinds of benefits: it helps you maintain muscle, boosts your joint health and it can even improve bone density.

Regularly engaging with this kind of exercise will also make everyday tasks a little bit easier. Lifting up your kids, putting away your shopping and even climbing the stairs will feel like less of a challenge. 

Plus, strength training exercises can help with weight loss. As muscle is a metabolically active tissue, it burns calories, even when you're resting. So having a greater muscle mass will improve your metabolism. 

Need some new weights? Have a look at our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells

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.