Five exercises, a dumbbell and 25 minutes to develop full-body strength

Forget fancy gym equipment, one dumbbell is more than enough for this strength training session

Woman doing goblet squat with dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ll be pleased to hear that you don't have to spend endless hours in the gym to have an effective workout or need lots of fancy equipment. In just 25 minutes you can improve the strength in your entire body – upper, lower and core – using not even a pair of dumbbells, but just a single dumbbell. 

If you’re someone who struggles to divide your training between your upper and lower body consistently, then full-body workouts are the way forward for you. Not only are they efficient, consisting of compound exercises that workout multiple muscles in your body at once, but they also burn more calories because of this. Plus, because lots of muscles are having to work hard at the same time, they’re a great at building strength across the entire body. Especially if you’re using a heavier weight.

For this workout you’ve got five exercises to complete and you’re going to do each one for 10 reps (on both sides where applicable). You want to use a medium to heavy dumbbell for this where the last two reps feel a lot more challenging. Between each exercise take a 45 second to a minute rest. Once you’ve completed one set, rest for 90 seconds then repeat the workout two to three more times. Here’s your workout: 

  • Kneeling single arm overheard press
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Lateral lunge with a reach
  • Goblet squat
  • Push-up into renegade row (if this is too difficult revert to normal push-ups)
  • Russian twists

A single kettlebell is also suitable to use for this workout if you don’t own a dumbbell, or an adjustable dumbbell is particularly handy as you can change the weight as required for different exercises. We’ve got plenty of more full-body workouts in the T3 bank too if you enjoyed this one; like this four-move dumbbell workout (you will need two weights for it though), or give this 30 minute full-body workout a go if you've got more time on your hands.

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.