You only need two dumbbells to build muscle all over your body with this workout

This 20-minute no-repeat exercise session will ensure you work major muscle groups without getting bored or fatigued

Young fit African American man doing pushups with dumbbells in the gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Full-body workouts are the best. They are time efficient, work all your muscles and provide a sense of accomplishment once you're done with the session. They are also the best for burning fat; lots of muscles worked equal lots of calories expended, after all! This 20-minute no-repeat workout is an excellent place to start, especially if you like working out with dumbbells (who doesn't?).

Resistance training – any workouts done using some sort of resistance, such as dumbbells, resistance bands or even your own bodyweight – might not be the first thing recommended to people when you tell them you want to lose weight. Indeed, studies have shown that aerobic training is the optimal exercise mode for reducing fat and body mass. However, the same research mentioned that a program including resistance training is needed to increase lean mass in middle-aged, overweight/obese individuals. In essence, walking/running will help you lose weight while building muscle will help keep it off.

This workout features 20 exercises. You'll do each exercise 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second break, before moving on to the next one. There are no sets; you only perform the moves once, and only for a short while, so push as hard as you can (without injuring yourself) and focus on slow, controlled motion. The instructor uses a set of medium dumbbells (not too heavy, not too light), in this case a 40Lb/18kg pair, but feel free to use a weight that best suits your fitness level. The exercises in this workout are as follows:

  • Chest Press
  • Alt ISO Chest Press
  • Chest Flyes
  • Narrow Chest Press
  • Suitcase Squat
  • Goblet Squat
  • Sumo Deadlifts
  • High Squats
  • Bent Over Row R
  • Bent Over Row L
  • Bent Over Supinated Row R
  • Bent Over Supinated Row L
  • Static Lunge R
  • Static Lunge L
  • Staggered Squat R
  • Staggered Squat L
  • Shoulder Press
  • Rear Delt Row R
  • Rear Delt Row L
  • Shoulder Shrugs
  • FINISHER (90 SECONDS, NO BREAK, 30/30/30)
  • RDL
  • Gorilla Rows
  • Thrusters

If you liked this and don't mind using weights for your workouts, check out the best full-body workout: it's only five moves and helps build muscle like no other workout. There is also a beginner-friendly, barbell-only full-body strength workout for those who have one at their disposal. How about this single dumbbell full-body muscle workout? It's only half an hour. In terms of weights, you will need a pair of dumbbells for this workout, and if you haven't got one, T3's best dumbbells and best adjustable dumbbell guides are a must-read. Alternatively, have a look at the best resistance bands; they are almost as effective as dumbbells but less intimidating and more space-saving.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.