You only need 6 moves and less than 30 minutes to build lean mass

Pick up a pair of dumbbells and give this a go (at home or at the gym)

A woman performing a devil press with a pair of dumbbells
(Image credit: Future)

You might think a lengthy trip to the gym is a prerequisite of a top workout, but in reality you only need two dumbbells and 24 minutes to build lean muscle and full-body strength. 

If you don't already have a set of weights, we think it's worth investing in a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab). You can change the weight of these clever contraptions in seconds with the twist of a dial or press of a button, so you can choose a load that suits your strength level. But if you want a more cost-effective option, the best kettlebells (opens in new tab), fixed weight dumbbells or even a pair of full water bottles will do the trick for this session. 

This workout has been masterminded by ace trainer and yoga instructor Rhiannon Bailey (opens in new tab), who says it's a great way to "build lean muscle mass and improve fitness", especially for anyone who's short on time. 

It's devilishly simple too, comprising a circuit made up of just six exercises; thrusters, Russian swings, squat hammer curls, alternating snatches, devil presses and crunch presses. 

You have to perform each exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then start on the next movement. Following this model, each round of this circuit takes just six minutes, and you can scale the total number of rounds to suit your fitness leveland the time you have available. 

However, if you want a rough guide, Bailey suggests performing between four and six rounds in total.  Aim to move with purpose throughout to maintain intensity, but don't push yourself to the point where your technique suffers. 

Watch Bailey's video below to find out how to perform each exercise, and take notes on her technique to ensure perfect form. 

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's full-body strength workout

A post shared by Rhiannon Bailey (@rhiannoncbailey) (opens in new tab)

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There are three key components to this workout's effectiveness. Firstly, it uses compound exercises (opens in new tab) to work multiple joints and muscle groups at once – for example, a thruster will work leg muscles including the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps, as well as muscles in your back, shoulders and core. 

Secondly, it uses the AMRAP training method, giving you a set amount of time (40 seconds) to complete as many repetitions as possible of each movement. By doing this, it ensures the workout is time-efficient and suitable for all fitness levels. After all, the fitter you are the faster you can move, and the faster you move the more challenging the session becomes. 

Lastly, this workout is an example of high-intensity resistance training (opens in new tab) or HIRT. Similar to HIIT workouts for fat loss (opens in new tab) you may have encountered before, it combines intense bouts of exercise with short rest periods to burn calories and provide a comprehensive cardio hit. But it also includes resistance exercises that task your muscles with moving heavier loads (such as a pair of dumbbells). This means it has greater muscle and strength-building benefits than traditional HIIT sessions.

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.


When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.


Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.