You only need six moves to build strength all over and boost your metabolism

This short dumbbell routines takes only 20 minutes to develop muscle all over and burn fat

Man exercising with dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You don't need to spend hours at the gym to hit your fitness goals. Whether you're training at home or short on time, this six-move strength workout builds muscle all over, increases your heart rate and boosts your metabolism for all-day fat-burning. 

All you need is a set of the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab) to start. These space-saving weights combine several dumbbells, and you can quickly change the load, even mid-workout. This makes them an excellent investment, as you can use the progressive overload technique to increase the weight as you get stronger.

If you've got fixed-weight dumbbells to hand, choose a load that'll challenge you but won't affect your form. Then you'll be ready to take on personal trainer Rhiannon Bailey's (opens in new tab) full-body dumbbell workout. You'll work your shoulders, arms, abs, core, glutes, and legs across the six moves for a comprehensive full-body session. 

The aim is to exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next move. Complete each exercise back-to-back as a circuit, then repeat this for four rounds. "Just make sure you work hard with the time you have and the session you are doing, and you'll reap the rewards," says Bailey. You can use her demonstrations to perfect your form before starting, too. 

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's six-move full-body workout

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Bailey's routine is made up of a series of compound exercises (opens in new tab) (moves that work several muscles simultaneously). This contrasts isolation moves, like bicep curls, which focus on a single muscle. It's part of the reason this workout is so effective, even though it only takes 24 minutes with minimal equipment. 

The training style plays a role here, too. Bailey uses a technique known as high-intensity resistance training (opens in new tab) (HIRT) where the aim is to work intensely in short bursts with minimal rest. This makes your muscles work hard, but there are other benefits. 

Keeping the intensity up also raises your heart rate, which means you burn more energy than during an equivalent steady-paced routine. And, in the longer term, this helps increase your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn at rest) for all-day fat-burning results. 

HIRT is related to similar-sounding HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, but with a focus on strength exercises rather than cardio. However, both achieve similar metabolism-boosting results, which is why many people also turn to a HIIT workout for fat loss (opens in new tab) to drop pounds. 

Though, if you prefer training with one of the best kettlebells (opens in new tab) instead of dumbbells, it's worth learning how to do kettlebell swings (opens in new tab). This single compound exercise works your whole body, strengthens your core, and boosts your metabolism. 

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.