You only need to do three moves to build muscle all over—Here they are

Improve muscle strength and definition with minimal moves and minimal equipment using this speedy strength workout

Woman lunging forward with a pink resistance band around her thighs
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're looking to increase muscle mass and strength we have good news: it doesn't have to be hard. It's really about being efficient with whatever exercise you use, and this three-move strength circuit is a great example. It uses minimal lightweight equipment to target multiple muscles.

If you're newer to strength training then it's a good idea to forget about big weights for now and master what it feels like to engage your muscles with a less demanding resistance. For this workout, you only need to use one of the best resistance bands and one light dumbbell. Some of the best adjustable dumbbells are great for this kind of training, as you can tweak the weight to how heavy or light you want it.

These three key strength moves come from Kira Stokes, a personal trainer, health and wellness expert who has over 25 years of experience in the fitness industry. The full routine is designed to target your whole body but Stokes says the exercises will especially help target the glutes and hamstrings.

Each exercise involves unilateral training which just means you will work on a single arm or single leg for each move, before alternating. Some of the exercises will have you engaging one of your arms and one of your legs in one rep so it will help to watch Stokes demonstrations before trying them out yourself. Don't forget to ease into your workout either, our guide on how to warm up is a good point of reference.

Watch Kira Stoke's three move muscle building workout

The rep range for each exercise stays within a 10-15 rep maximum, but you can increase or reduce this depending on your fitness ability. Learning how to build muscle is a lot about doing things like exercise and diet properly and this workout includes a visual guide to the correct form. Performing each exercise with good form increases your chance of getting results quickly and will help to avoid injury.

Not only will this routine help you to strengthen and build your muscles but you will also be exercising your balance, coordination, and focus as you complete each exercise. You just need to make sure you're fuelling properly to recover after each workout, which means getting plenty of protein into your diet. Our best protein powder for weight loss list can help there. 

Stokes's workout is meant to be done three times over. If you get through this and find it quite manageable then don't be afraid to increase your dumbbell weight or use a band with stronger resistance. The more you train your muscles, the more they will be able to handle, and that is why so many fitness lovers use progressive overload in their training.

You want to avoid overtraining and feeling in pain all the time. Find what and when works best for you and your muscles with regard to training and don't neglect the simple recovery accessory that is one of the best foam rollers.  It only takes a few minutes to sit and roll out any tensions using one of these after a workout.

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.