Burn fat and build muscle with this 20 minute full-body dumbbell workout

It’ll work your arms, legs and core all in one

Woman doing dumbbell shoulder press
(Image credit: Getty)

There’s nothing worse than wanting to workout, but struggling to find the time to do so. If that's you, then a full-body workout, like this one, is what you need. Not only will its powerful moves use multiple muscle groups simultaneously, building muscle and burning fat, but it will take you 20 minutes tops – all you need is a pair of dumbbells.

This workout uses compound exercises, movements that require the use of multiple muscles at the same time. Typically, when we think of compound exercises our minds turn to the ‘big three’ – squat, bench press and deadlift – as these work the muscles in your upper and lower body all at once. They're ideal for building muscle and the more muscle you develop the more calories you burn throughout the day (yes, that means even when not exercising), which contributes towards fat loss.

This workout has five exercises which are easy to moderate to perform, as they'll put your balance to the test too (but we've added some easier alternatives). Make sure you have your best workout shoes on to help with stability. You'll do 10 reps of each exercise (on both sides where appropriate) with a 30 to 60 second rest in between each one. Once you've completed one round of all the exercises take a 90 to 120 second rest and repeat the workout four more times. Here's your exercises: 

  • Reverse lunge snatch (alternative: reverse lunges)
  • Romanian deadlift into a bent over row
  • Goblet squat marches
  • Side lunge into hammer curl
  • Crouching push-ups (alternative: floor or wall push-ups)

Well done for getting through that! If you enjoyed this workout, then why not give this upper body dumbbell workout a try? There's only six exercises altogether, so it's another speedy one. If it's a lower body workout you're after, then we've got this dumbbell leg workout instead. Otherwise, if it's another fast, full-body session you want, then here's another full-body workout that uses one dumbbell and will take you 30 minutes. Also, remember if you don't own a pair of dumbbells, you can always use a pair of kettlebells instead.

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.