20 minutes, two dumbbells and this low-impact workout for full-body strength

Get fit, while going easy on your joints

Woman doing glute bridge with a dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Full-body workouts are great if you’re pressed for time and still want to train efficiently. But, many of them can include high intensity plyometric exercises, like burpees or, worse, box jumps. While these can provide a practical full-body workout, they also put a tremendous amount of stress on your joints. This workout, however, has no jumping involved and will only take you 20 minutes. All you need is a pair of dumbbells.

Low-impact workouts can offer just as many benefits as high-impact workouts, the main difference is that you’re going easier on your joints. This particular workout is a circuit combined with strength training exercises – so you’ll move from one exercise to the next and rest once you’ve completed all of them. Healthline says circuits provide many benefits, from improved muscle endurance, to increased strength and weight loss. It’s different from HIIT in the sense that you’re not putting in maximum effort with short rests in between each exercise and every movement focuses on different muscle groups. 

For this circuit you’ve got five different exercises to get through. Nearly all of these are two exercises combined into one movement, so you get more bang for your buck. Make sure you’ve got on your best workout shoes and an exercise mat beneath you for extra support. Try to do these exercises back-to-back, then once you’ve completed one full round of the circuit take a 30 second rest before repeating it two more times. Here’s your workout: 

  • Flutter kicks with alternating dumbbell press - 20 reps
  • Squat into calf raises with an overhead dumbbell press - 10 reps
  • Plank dumbbell row into walk-up - 10 reps
  • Squat into standing oblique crunch - 16 reps
  • Inchworm - 10 reps

Opt for light to medium dumbbells for this workout and don't go for anything too heavy. Remember, it's a low-impact circuit, therefore you have the opportunity to really focus on doing the movements properly with good form. If you don't have any dumbbells, you could use other weights, like a pair of kettlebells, or even two weight plates. Otherwise, just fill up two large water bottles. If you enjoyed this workout, then give this other low-impact full-body workout a try (you don't need any equipment either) or this 15 minute one to build muscle in your legs and glutes.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.