You only need seven moves and two dumbbells to build full-body functional strength

This short workout works muscles all over your body and helps make everyday tasks easier

Woman holding a dumbbell goblet squat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Functional workouts are gaining popularity, but how do you know if they're worth switching your existing routines for? Well, with this seven-move session, you can give it a try in less than 30 minutes. 

Functional workouts help to strengthen your body for every day use, so you can complete tasks like climbing the stairs, carrying your shopping, and standing up from your desk with greater ease (not to mention less risk of injury).

All you'll need is a pair the best adjustable dumbbells for personal trainer Rachael Sacerdoti's workout, while a yoga mat is an optional extra to add some grip and cushioning to your workout surface.

The routine is a seven-move circuit, recruiting muscles across your upper and lower body. Sacerdoti recommends performing the circuit three times in total, resting for 30 seconds between each round.

To get the most from your training, it's important that you do each exercise with perfect form. Fortunately, you can use Sacerdoti's demonstrations to practice your technique before you start and avoid injury. 

Watch Rachael Sacerdoti's full-body workout

The aim is to do 8-12 repetitions of each move, but if you're struggling to hit that target, consider grabbing a lighter dumbbell for your next set. If you're wondering what dumbbell weight to use, you should find a load that'll challenge your muscles to get through a set but won't negatively impact your form. 

This routine differs from some muscle-building workouts as Sacerdoti has designed it to build functional strength. So the exercises mimic real-life activities, like picking up heavy items, reaching high, or carrying groceries. 

Rather than targeting an individual muscle to increase its size, functional training usually works your entire body with multi-muscle compound exercises, improving useful attributes like your mobility, flexibility and strength. 

If you're new to workouts like this, chances are you'll feel some soreness in your muscles the following day — this is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (or DOMS).

To aid recovery, some people drink protein shakes, giving their bodies the fuel they need to repair the tiny tears in your muscles caused by strength training. This helps your muscles rebuild stronger than before — an example of the progressive overload principle in action. 

Some protein powders are designed for adding bulk to your body, but if you want to develop lean muscle instead, the best protein powders for weight loss can support your recovery without additional fat or sugars. 

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors,, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.