You only need two dumbbells and six moves to develop muscle all over with this 30-minute workout

Work your core while improving your balance, coordination, and stability with this comprehensive workout

A woman performing a bridge chest press with a dumbbell as part of a home workout
(Image credit: Getty)

One of the hardest parts of exercising is finding the time to do it, which is why home workouts are still so popular after lockdown. But building strength from home can feel like a challenge, especially if you don’t have much equipment.

Fortunately, this six-move workout from personal trainer Julie Ledbetter (MovementWithJulie) works your upper and lower body in just 30 minutes, and you only need a couple of dumbbells. 

Your legs are home to larger muscle groups than your arms and torso, so it's likely you'll be able to lift more weight during exercises like squats than you will for upper-body movements like hammer curls and rows. 

This is why we recommend investing in a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells, which allow you to quickly change their weight during the workout. But, if you don't have a set of these, you can still give this session a go with a pair of fairly light fixed weight dumbbells. 

To get the most from your training and avoid injury, it's essential to practice your technique before you start. Watch Ledbetter demonstrate each of the exercises in the Instagram post below, with tips on how to perfect your form. 

Watch Movement With Julie's full-body workout

This is a circuit-style workout, challenging you to complete six movements one after the other for three rounds, resting for two minutes between rounds.  

If you're short on time, make sure to choose weights you can lift for the prescribed number of repetitions without breaking them up into smaller sets. These dumbbells should feel challenging, while allowing you to complete the workout with minimal rest between exercises. 

Most of the movements Ledbetter includes are compound exercises that engage multiple muscles at once. For example, the bridge chest press will work your chest, shoulders, and triceps while also engaging your glutes and core. 

These moves build full-body strength and improve your coordination and balance, even when you're short on time. If you want to continue working your core, you could add this 10-minute ab workout to finish your session. 

Or, opt for this yoga stretching routine if you’re ready to cool down. This will help you avoid injury and reduce post-workout pain, often known as DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). 

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.