Two dumbbells and these 3 exercises to build muscle and burn calories quickly

You don't need to miss out on the festivities with this short, effective workout

Man bending down in squat position to pick up dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trying to maintain a strict fitness schedule is hard during the festive season, even for the most disciplined fitness enthusiasts. Instead of trying to stick to your usual routine, shorten your sessions instead and substitute it for this dumbbell workout. Not only will it take you around 10 minutes to complete (so you aren’t away from the festivities for too long), but its three moves will help maintain your muscle gains and burn calories in case you feel you’ve overindulged. 

This workout, created by Farren Morgan, Founder of The Tactical Athlete and serving PTI in the Coldstream Guards, is a high-intensity resistant training circuit. Farren says: “HIIT training, when paired with dumbbells, becomes a dynamic and efficient way to build muscle and burn calories at the same time, and this HIIT dumbbell workout is not only time-effective but can deliver impressive results.” HIIT also improves your aerobic capacity, boosts heart health, burns fat, and, due to its short duration, is ideal for when you're pushed on time.

Farren Morgan headshot
Farren Morgan

Farren Morgan formerly served as a Queens Guard, Kings Guard, Paratrooper, and Physical Trainer in the British Army for nearly a decade. He is the founder of The Tactical Athlete and works as a Military Preparation Coach and a Hybrid/Tactical Athlete specialising in transforming ordinary civilians into robust tactical athletes through military-style training.

Farren's three-move workout

This workout is excellent for any fitness level as the exercises are beginner-friendly, and all you'll need is a pair of dumbbells (or two big water bottles). Start by doing a two to three-minute warm-up to prepare your body for the movements ahead (Farren suggests some high knees and jogging on the spot). You've then got three exercises to complete, and you're going to do each one for 40 seconds (on each side for the second exercise), followed by a 20-second rest. Complete the circuit three times, and you're done! Here are your exercises:

Dumbbell thrusters

Squat down, then as you come up, take a deep breath and explosively press the dumbbells overhead.

Farren Morgan dumbbell thrusters

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Dumbbell bent over rows

Hinge at the hips, and keep your back straight. Row the dumbbells towards your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Farren Morgan doing bent over row

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Jumping jacks

Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Jump and extend your feet outwards and extend your arms overhead.

Farren Morgan doing jumping jacks

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Looking for more short, speedy workouts to get your moving over the festive period? Here's a quick four-move dumbbell workout from UK CrossFit Athlete, Reggie Fasa, that'll help develop full-body strength. Want to down the dumbbells? Try this super speedy 10 minute bodyweight workout from one of the UK's top CrossFit athletes, Aimee Cringle, it's a serious calorie cruncher and also helps to build muscle.

Get Fit 2024

This feature is part of T3's Get Fit 2024 campaign. We’ll be bringing you a wealth of guides, features, deals and news to help you get healthy, fit and ready for anything the new year can throw at you. Whether you’re a newcomer to fitness or someone with a passion for it, we’ll bring you all the best workouts, diet advice and gear to set you on the right track.

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.