You only need these five dumbbell exercises to get soldier-fit this Xmas

This 15 minute circuit combines cardiovascular activities with muscle-strengthening movements

Woman performing renegade row
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When looking for a workout to fit in over the festive season, your best bet is opting for a full-body workout, as these target all the muscle groups in your body. They’re also beginner-friendly and quick too, like this 15-minute one, which is perfect for amplifying full-body strength and burning calories. Just grab a pair of dumbbells, two large water bottles, or even a single kettlebell.

Full-body workouts often consist of compound exercises, which are not only great for building strength and muscle, but also improving your cardiovascular fitness. This is because the exercises raise your heart rate more than isolation exercises, which then result in a higher calorie burn.

This workout has been created by Farren Morgan, Founder of The Tactical Athlete and serving PTI in the Coldstream Guards, and is a full-body circuit which, TRAINFitness says, is also great for muscle endurance due to its short rest periods.

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 dumbbell circuit

Before you begin this circuit, make sure you do a five-minute warm-up first (Farren suggests some light cardio and stretches). You’ve got four exercises to get through in total, and you’re going to do each one for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Farren says to opt for a dumbbell weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form throughout the workout. You’ll complete the circuit two times, barely anything, so give it your best effort! Here’s your workout:

Goblet squat

Hold one dumbbell close to your chest. Take your feet a little wider than hip width apart and point your toes out slightly. Sit down into a squat, keeping your chest up, back straight, and knees aligned with your toes.

Farren Morgan doing goblet squat

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Dumbbell deadlifts

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body with a neutral spine. Hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight, and lower the dumbbells towards the ground as you engage your core, and ensure the dumbbells stay close to your body.

Farren Morgan doing dumbbell deadlifts

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Dumbbell lunges

Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Take a large step forward with one leg and lower your body, so your the knee of your back leg is almost touching the floor and your front leg is at a 90 degree angle. Return to the starting position by pushing through the heel of your front foot and repeat on the other side.

Farren Morgan doing dumbbell lunges

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Renegade row

Start in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Row one dumbbell to your hip while stabilising your body with the other arm. If this is too difficult, drop down to your knees.

Farren Morgan doing renegade rows

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Russian twists

Sit on the floor, lean back slightly and lift your feet from the ground. Hold a dumbbell with both hands and rotate your torso, touching the floor on each side.

Farren Morgan Russian twists

(Image credit: Farren Morgan)

Make sure you finish with two to three minutes of stretching to aid muscle recovery. Looking for more workouts, you can easily implement throughout the festive season? Here's a really speedy 10-minute dumbbell workout if you're really struggling to fit a workout around your plans, or try this 20-minute full-body workout if you have a little more time to kill.

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.