You only need 30 minutes to build strength and boost your metabolism — here's how

This short dumbbell workout works your whole body, raises your heart rate, and burns fat

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

You're often told that building muscle and burning fat requires two different workout styles. Fortunately, that's not the case, as you'll find with this personal trainer's 30-minute high-intensity dumbbell routine.

If you're training at home, you only need a set of the best adjustable dumbbells to get started. These customizable weights combine several dumbbells in one for easy storage, and you can quickly change the load mid-exercise.

When you're at the gym, you can get similar results using these beginner strength training tips to choose a fixed weight load that'll challenge you but not affect your form. With weights at the ready, you can start DanielPT Fitness' (opens in new tab) dumbbell session.

The 30-minute routine blends high-intensity cardio exercise with resistance training moves to help you build muscle and burn fat in a single workout. The key is to train intensely throughout, taking only short rests between activities.

Perfecting your technique helps you get the most from your session and enables you to avoid injury. So, If you're new to dumbbell strength workouts or could use a refresher, you can follow along with Daniel's demonstrations.

Watch DanielPT Fitness' dumbbell workout

This exercise style is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to work intensely in short bursts with minimal rest. Keeping the intensity high helps get muscle-building results, but there are other benefits.

Training in this way also raises your heart rate and burns more energy during the session than a comparable steady-state workout. Plus, sustaining a high heart rate boosts your metabolism, the amount of energy you burn at rest.

It's a similar technique behind other high-intensity routines like this HIIT workout for fat loss. And thanks to this metabolism-boosting effect, DanielPT's short session develops strength and burns fat with just a set of dumbbells.

As you get stronger, you might find that your chosen weight doesn't feel challenging anymore. That's where progressive overload training encourages you to gradually increase the load and grow your muscles.

If you're after another weights-focused move to build muscle and burn fat, pick up one of the best kettlebells and learn how to do kettlebell swings. This single exercise works your whole body, boosts your metabolism, and develops core strength.

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.