Build muscle all over and boost your metabolism in just 40 minutes with this full-body dumbbell workout

Man working out with dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re tight on time but still want to build stronger muscles, fortunately, you don’t need to find time for an extended gym session, as you can work your whole body, boost your metabolism, and strengthen your core in just 40 minutes with this high-intensity dumbbell workout.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do this at the gym. All you need to do is pick up a pair of dumbbells that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles but won’t affect your form, so you can do each exercise with the proper technique.

Though, if you regularly train at home, it’s worth investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells. These space-saving weights combine several ‘bells, and you can switch loads between moves or gradually as you get stronger using progressive overload training.

Then, with weights by your side, you’ll be ready to tackle this short, effective routine from personal training duo Tiff x Dan. It’s a no-repeat workout to keep things interesting, so you won’t do the same move twice (unless the exercise has left and right variations).

The duo uses a “combination of exercises [ensuring] a balanced, comprehensive workout that will leave no muscle untouched,” and the session is also split into sections targeting specific areas, including your shoulders, back, legs, chest, and arms.

To pack it all into a 40-minute session, you’ll exercise for 50 seconds, take a 25-second rest, and then start on the next move. It’s challenging, but the most important thing is that you do each move with good form, so follow along with Dan’s demonstrations to practice your technique.

Watch Tiff x Dan’s 40-minute full-body dumbbell workout

This style of exercise is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to exercise intensely in short bursts with minimal rest. This works your muscles hard but also helps raise your heart rate to burn more energy than during an equivalent steady-paced routine.

Sustaining this high heart rate also has longer-term effects, like boosting your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn throughout the day) for muscle-building, and fat-burning results, even when you don’t have a lot of time for your training.

Plus, Tiff and Dan make good use of several compound exercises, which work multiple muscles simultaneously, so you can work more of your body than during single-muscle isolation exercises like biceps curls, further improving the efficiency of your training.

Whether you’re new to resistance training or an experienced lifter, you’ll likely feel the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the days after this full-body routine. This post-workout pain is caused by small tears in your muscle fibers, which your body needs to repair.

To boost your recovery, it’s important to eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, promote blood flow to your muscles with some of the top yoga stretches for beginners, and get enough high-quality sleep, which you can monitor with a fitness tracker or smart ring like the Oura Ring.

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James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.

Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.

He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.