You only need three moves and two light dumbbells to develop muscle all over

Boost your strength (and your mood) with this 15-minute dumbbell routine

A woman doing a dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty / Zinkevych)

Your workouts don't always need to last an hour or more; sometimes a quick 15-minute routine is the perfect fit for your fitness needs and the time you have available, like this three-move dumbbell session. 

You'll need a set of light dumbbells, so grab some from the rack if you're at the gym, but for home workouts, it can be useful to invest in some of the best adjustable dumbbells, as these combine several weights to help you save space.

According to the trainer behind the routine, Alexia Clark, "It’s amazing how effective a quick full-body workout is, not only physically but also mentally. We all have 10-15 minutes to do SOMETHING, and it will boost our mood, give us more energy, and boost our metabolism."

To give it a go, perform 10-15 repetitions of crawl renegade squat curls, then move straight into 10 repetitions each side of a side plank press followed by 40-60 seconds of dumbbell alternating leg raises. Repeat this sequence for five rounds in total, resting as little as possible between moves.

If any of these exercises are new to you, don't worry. Clark demonstrates each one in her video below to help you learn how to do them with perfect form. This will help you get the most from your training and avoid injury.

Watch Alexia Clark's three-move dumbbell workout

This session contains a series of compound exercises — movements that use multiple muscles at once — to work your upper body, lower body, and core with just three moves. 

The crawl renegade squat curl, for example, will recruit your back muscles to row the dumbbells towards your body during the first portion of the movement, then fire up your legs to spring into a squat before taxing your arms with a biceps curl

It also offers a comprehensive core workout as your mid-body muscles act to keep your spine straight and stable — not a bad return from a single movement! Plus, we like that Clark highlighted the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

Regular exercise can reduce anxiety and depression while boosting your mood, according to research in The Primary Care Companion To The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry. So, even if you only have a few minutes spare, it's usually worth squeezing a bit of activity into your day. 

If you want to exercise for happiness, but don't have time for an extended gym session, you can build strength, work your core, and boost your mood with these five-minute workouts instead. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.