Two dumbbells, seven exercises and 30 minutes are all you need to build full-body muscle

Forget hours spent in the gym, work all your major muscles with this express workout

Woman doing dumbbell lunges in an open room on an exercise mat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just because time may not be on your side lately doesn't mean your training needs to fall to the wayside. This workout will see you in and out the gym in just 30 minutes, working every muscle from your glutes to your shoulders, arms and core. Can't get to the gym? No worries, it can easily be done from home too, all you'll need is a pair of dumbbells

Not only are full-body workouts time efficient and great for your cardiovascular health (compound movements work multiple muscles raising your heart rate), but they're highly effective when it comes to building strength and muscle. A study published by Frontiers in Physiology found that multi-joint movements and single-joint movements are "equally efficient in improving body composition". But, unlike single-joint movements, multi-joint movements also provide greater results when it comes to physical performance, such as strength and aerobic capacity.

For this workout you're going to want to have an exercise mat (as some of the exercises are floor-based) and be wearing a good pair of workout shoes to aid stability and balance. Work your way through the seven exercises for the reps stated below, resting for 30 seconds between each exercises (if needed). Once you've completed an entire round, rest for 60 seconds, then complete the workout two more times. Here's your exercises:

  • Dumbbell curl to overhead press - 10 reps
  • Dumbbell upright rows to lateral raise - 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Romanian deadlift - 12 reps
  • Leg Raise into reverse crunch - 10 reps (alternative: leg raises)
  • Glute Bridge (use one dumbbell) - 15 reps
  • X Plank - 12 reps
  • Double-Pulse Jump Squat - 8 reps

Looking for more full-body workouts? Give this 15-minute session a go next, it contains lots of combination exercises (two exercises in one movement), to help pack more into your workout. If you have more time on your hands and want to target separate areas of the body, try this six-move dumbbell arm workout, or this four-move workout to light up your legs and glutes.

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.