This Dumbbell Workout Strengthens Every Muscle Group In 30 Minutes

full body dumbbell workout
This Full-Body Dumbbell Workout Hits Every MuscleHearst Owned

Fancy workout equipment is nice, but that doesn’t mean you need a stacked gym to crush your goals. In fact, all you really need to hit every one of your muscles is a set (or two) of dumbbells. Whether you’re in a pinch or just prefer sweating at home, you can keep it simple and work your upper and lower body in one full-body dumbbell workout.

Dumbbells are one of the most widely available strength training tools, and they’re incredibly easy to use, says Tina Tang, CPT, an NCSF-certified personal trainer and strength coach. And you can nail just about every exercise with your trusty dumbbells.

Meet the expert: Tina Tang, CPT, RKC, SFL is an NCSF-certified personal trainer, strength coach, and founder of Iron Strong Fitness. She focuses on helping women in middle age build strength.

Plus, when you prioritize full-body dumbbell workouts (like the one below), you’ll get serious bang for your buck. A full-body session means you don't have to spend an hour or more on strength training specific muscle groups multiple times throughout the week, says Tang. In this case, you'll be done sweating in 40 minutes.

“Dedicated lower- and upper-body workout days tend to be more ideal for those who will be going to a gym more than three days a week and have the time to focus on the different muscle groups,” says Tang. What’s more, full-body workouts can lead to similar gains in muscle strength and size as split workouts for beginners, so long as the weekly training volume is the same, according to a 2021 study.

The below 13 moves will train your body from head to toe and all you need is a set of dumbbells. It features functional exercises that mimic daily movements and is designed to build strength in all your major muscle groups across multiple planes of motion, says Tang. For best results, she recommends completing the routine twice a week.

Time: 30-40 minutes | Equipment: dumbbells | Good for: full body

Instructions: Choose 6 moves that target different areas of the body (think one variation of a squat, lunge, and deadlift, two upper body moves, and one core exercise). Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps and adjust rest breaks according to your goals:

  • Boost strength: Complete all six moves in order circuit-style, then rest for two minutes and repeat twice more.

  • Build muscle: Perform all reps and sets of a given move before proceeding to the next and rest for 60 to 90 seconds between each set.

  • Cardio endurance: Perform all reps and sets of a given move before proceeding to the next and minimize rest to less than a minute between each set.

Pro tip: When deciding which weight to use for each exercise, think about your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), Tang suggests. You'll know you picked a weight that's heavy enough if your final three reps feel really challenging but you're able to complete them with proper form, she notes.

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