Use this six-move workout to build muscle all over and strengthen your core

This short routine develops strength, works your core, and all you need is a set of dumbbells

A man performing push-ups on a pair of dumbbells as part of a full-body muscle-building workout
(Image credit: Getty)

For many people, time is the biggest barrier stopping them from working out. After all, it can hard to carve out an hour or more of your day for a trip to the gym. Luckily, there are ways to save time while still enjoying a fun, effective workout. 

This muscle-building session will tax your arms, chest, back, legs and core using only a pair of dumbbells, so you can give it a go pretty much anywhere. If you don't have a set already, we recommend checking out our roundup of the best adjustable dumbbells as these clever, compact contraptions allow you to change the weight to suit your strength level. 

When you've got your hands on some dumbbells, you'll be ready to take on this accessible session from UK-based fitness trainer the London Fitness Guy (real name James Stirling). 

It's a circuit of just six moves, repeated three times through. Each exercise is performed for 12 to 15 repetitions, with the exception of the challenging L-sit which is held for 20 to 30 seconds. Before you launch into the workout, give this challenging core exercise a go, and if you find it too tricky we advise substituting it out for a plank. 

Complete each exercise back to back, taking as little rest as possible between movements. Take a 60-second break between rounds, then return to the first exercise and continue working through the circuit until you've run through it three times. 

Watch Stirling's video below to find out which six exercises await you, and take notes on his technique during his demonstrations to help you nail down the form for each one. 

Watch the London Fitness Guy's six-move workout

This is a great workout for anyone short on time and equipment because it doesn't take long and only requires a couple of dumbbells. If you don't have any, you can even use other free weights — like one of the best kettlebells — instead.

However, if you're looking to build muscle and increase your strength, there are a couple of additional things to consider. Firstly, think: What dumbbell weights should I use? 

If you're using a weight that allows you to perform 15 repetitions of each exercise with minimal effort, you won't reap the rewards of this session. This is down to something known as progressive overload.

When applied to weight training, this technique means you need to lift a load that your muscles finds challenging to force your body to adapt. As you grow stronger, the weight you were lifting before may begin to feel easier, so you have to increase the load of your lifts accordingly to ensure your progress doesn't falter. 

The other thing to consider when trying to increase your strength and muscle mass is your diet. Protein is one of the key nutrients you need to maintain, repair and build muscle, but it's not always clear how much protein you need to eat to gain muscle, though the current recommended daily allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. 

Most of your quota should come from whole foods, but if you're struggling to hit your protein goals then the best protein powders for weight loss can help supplement your daily total. 

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.