You only need these four moves to build upper-body strength and work your core

Grab a pair of dumbbells and put your arms and core to the test with this 20 minute workout

Woman holding a pair of dumbbells at her shoulders
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are plenty of ways to get an effective workout without lots of equipment. You can use bodyweight exercises to get your heart rate up (hello, burpees) or gear up with some basic weights to start a strength training program.

Exercise bands and adjustable dumbbells are particularly useful for anyone working out at home. They are simple to use and don't take up much space, but they allow you to challenge your muscles with some extra resistance.

If you're currently building up your home gym, have a look through our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells and best resistance bands. Once you've got the gear, jump into this routine from personal trainer Sadielee Thomas. It targets the muscles in the back, core and arms with just four moves. 

Watch Sadielee Thomas' four-move dumbbell workout

This is an interval style workout, so you'll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Go through all of the exercises and then repeat them five times, in a circuit style.

While this workout targets specific muscles in the back and biceps, try to think about engaging your core muscle throughout the entire routine, which will help you build strength in this area.

Engaging your core, by tucking your ribcage in and squeezing your abdominals, can also improve posture and balance, so it's worth thinking about this whenever you workout.

This workout will take 20 minutes, so it works well as a quick morning session or a lunchtime blast. For a full-body session, pair it with this lower-body workout. You could do this the following day, or you could be ambitious and add it onto the end of the above routine.

If this is your first time exercising in a little while, you might experience some delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the day after finishing this session. This is normal; make sure you fuel up with adequate protein, to help your muscles repair, and give them some rest before targeting them again. 

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.