Build muscle all over with this five-move beginner dumbbell workout

If one of your goals is to build more muscle, this workout can help you do it at home, or the gym

man doing dumbbell workout at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Contrary to popular belief, strength and muscle isn’t just made in the gym – it can be made at home too. This full-body workout can be done in both environments and is great for beginners as no muscle will be left un-fired. It will only take 30 minutes too, so it’s also a good alternative for those who are more advanced with their fitness and don’t have time for a full blown session. All you need is a pair of dumbbells

This workout is made up of antagonistic supersets – where you perform two exercises that use opposing muscles, back to back, with no rest in between – to pack as much into your workout as possible. "Antagonist supersets are also a great way to build muscle and strength in less time,” says Sean Murphy, Global Personal Training Director at Ultimate Performance. “By contracting antagonistic muscular groups alternatively, you can often enhance motor unit recruitment, leading to greater strength. You’ll also get an incredible ‘pump’ since you’re working two antagonistic muscle groups in the same area.”

Sean Murphy Ultimate Performance
Sean Murphy

Sean’s role is to oversee Ultimate Performance's entire worldwide personal training team. In addition to being an exceptional personal trainer, Sean also leads on recruitment, education, exercise execution, program design development, performance, and client management to ensure U.P.’s global training team produces world-class results.

Sean's full-body workout

Fit young woman doing bicep curls with dumbbells

(Image credit: Pexels)

For this workout created by Sean you've got two supersets to get through in total, with a little finisher at the end to fire up your core muscles. You'll do each exercise for six reps, followed by a 60 second rest, and repeat the superset three times. As the reps are quite low, Sean says to maximise the quality of every rep by lowering for three seconds for each exercise (trust us, you'll feel the burn). Ready? Here's your workout:

Superset 1

  • Dumbbell chest press 
  • Bent over dumbbell Row

Superset 2

  • Dumbbell Romanian deadlift 
  • Dumbbell goblet squat


Walk holding the dumbbells by your sides for 20 metres, followed by a 60 seconds rest and repeat four times

  • Farmer’s walk - 20 metres 

We hope you enjoyed this beginner workout and there's plenty more on T3. If you're in need of a beginner upper body workout, then check out this five-move dumbbell workout that'll also only take you 30 minutes. If it's your lower body, then check out this four-move leg workout using weights and featuring lots of compound exercises to work multiple muscle groups. 

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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.