Try this two-rep dumbbell circuit to build size and strength at-home

It'll only take you 10 minutes, no really!

Man doing one arm dumbbell row
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is everyday life getting in the way of your fitness goals? If so, then this workout could be a game changer. Not only is it super speedy and will take you just 10 minutes to complete, but it will leave you with a serious pump afterwards. Commit to it a few times a week and your strength will increase too. All you’re going to need is a pair of dumbbells or, alternatively, you can just use your bodyweight. 

The workout is called ‘the terrible twos’ and was created by award-winning fitness and nutrition writer Adam Bornstein, who also contributes and edits Arnold Schwarzenegger's ‘Pump Club’ newsletter. In Arnie’s most recent newsletter, Adam said he created this workout after he became a dad and realised his time for working out was limited, but still wanted to train hard — so if you struggle to fit in a session, then this one's for you. The name 'terrible twos' itself is down to the workout's pattern of two repetitions, which Adam says "might cause you to develop a love-hate relationship".

Woman holding two dumbbells above her shoulders

(Image credit: Getty)

For this workout you need to grab two medium weight dumbbells that you can lift for five to six reps. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do the five exercises below for two reps each. Keep repeating until the 10 minutes is up and don’t rest unless you need to. You’ll be completing lots of reps in total at a relatively heavy weight, which is great for building muscle and your strength is going to develop too. If you decide to do this using just your bodyweight, Adam says the same rules apply. Here’s your workout:

  • Dumbbell Romanian deadlift or bodyweight good morning
  • Dumbbell rows 
  • Dumbbell or bodyweight Bulgarian split squats
  • Dumbbell overhead press or push-ups
  • Dumbbell front squat or bodyweight squat

We hope you enjoyed that different style of workout and that you're loving the results. If you don't have dumbbells, you could opt for a different form of resistance, such as a pair of the best kettlebells, or if you're in a gym you can even do these movements using an Olympic barbell. Arnold's also shared lots of other quick and effective workouts that you can do at home, like this 15 minute full-body dumbbell workout. If, however, you have way more time on your hands, he's even shared his exact Golden Era back and chest workout that you could attempt (although even Arnie says it's for the 'hardcore crew'.

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.