Two dumbbells, five moves and 30 minutes to build strength and endurance

Build muscle all over, improve your cardio fitness and boost your metabolism with this time-efficient dumbbell workout

A man performing a dumbbell lunge
(Image credit: Getty / Antonio_Diaz)

You don't need to go to the gym to build strength and muscle. With the right combination of bodyweight exercises you can get a great workout at home; add a couple of weights into the mix and your horizons expand even further. 

This dumbbell exercise routine, from fitness trainer James Stirling (aka the London Fitness Guy), is a five-move circuit which challenges you to complete each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. It targets a broad range of muscles across your whole body in just 30 minutes, so it’s a super-efficient session.

Watch the full sequence below, making a note of the correct form for each move, before plunging into the workout. 

Watch the London Fitness Guy's full-body workout

There's not a lot of downtime in this session. Stirling recommends you complete five rounds of the five different exercises, with no additional rest in between rounds. 

This style of workout is an example of high-intensity resistance training, or HIRT for short. It combines weighted resistance exercises with low rest times, so it's essentially a strength training session with some cardio thrown in. That means you'll be working your muscles and keeping your heart high at the same time. Very efficient.

Building muscle is an effective way to boost your metabolism, as muscle is a metabolically active tissue which requires more energy to maintain than fatty tissue. Simply put, this means you'll burn more calories at rest if you build more muscle.

Resistance training is only part of the puzzle when building muscle, however. You also need to fuel your body the right way, and a big part of this is consuming enough protein. 

Lifting weights causes tiny microtears in your muscle fibers, and protein contains the building blocks your body needs to repair these tears and make your muscles bigger and stronger than before. 

You can find protein in whole foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses. If you need a little protein boost, the best protein powders for weight loss could also help, offering an extra 20g of protein per serving without any unwanted fat or sugars.

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.