You only need these 5 moves and set of dumbbells to build full-body muscle and strengthen your core

Andy Speer performing a dumbbell overhead press
(Image credit: Andy Speer / Peloton)

You may think that you need the gym if you’re looking for a way to exercise, build muscle, and boost your metabolism. Fortunately, all you need is this five-move dumbbell and bodyweight workout designed by Peloton Instructor Andy Speer.

If you regularly train at home, it’s worth picking up a set of the best adjustable dumbbells, as these combine several weights, allow you to quickly change the load, and you can gradually increase the weight as you get stronger using the progressive overload technique.

But if you have fixed-weight dumbbells nearby, that’s fine too; just make sure that you choose a load that’ll challenge your muscles but isn’t so heavy it’ll affect your form. It’s vital to do each move with proper technique if you want to get the most from your session and avoid injury.

With weights by your side, you’ll be ready to take on this short exclusive routine developed by expert Peloton instructor Andy Speer. There are four dumbbell-based exercises in the circuit, alongside a push-up variation that only requires your body weight to try.

How to do Andy Speer’s five-move dumbbell workout

You can program these moves in any way you prefer, doing them all five in a row several times, adding them to the end of your usual workout, or adding specific moves into your regular routine, but our favorite technique is high-intensity resistance training (HIRT).

The aim is to exercise intensely in short bursts with minimal rest to work your muscles hard and boost your metabolism. If you want to try, do each move for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start the next. Repeat five times for a 25-minute muscle-building, fat-burning workout.

1. Snatches

You only need a single moderate dumbbell to do a round of snatches. According to Speer, for this move, follow the 3 P’s of the snatch; Pop, Pull, and Punch.

  • Hips pop forward, by pushing down into the ground.
  • Elbow pulls: dumbbells straight up, close to your body to chest level.
  • Fist punches: Using the momentum created by your hips and pull, continue the upward motion by punching the sky.
  • Finish in the standing position with the dumbbell overhead, arm locked.
  • Pause for a moment, then control the dumbbell back to the starting position.

2. Swings

You’ll need two weights for the dumbbell swing. Speer recommends doing this a ski-style swing, as though you’re using two skiing poles at each side, rather than the traditional kettlebell swing, where you move the weight between your legs.

  • Start in a standing position with dumbbells in each hand by your side. Don’t lean back, stand tall.
  • Hips Back Hands Back: Push the dumbbells back as you pull your hips back into the bottom position of the swing.
  • Pop It: Pop your hips forward, by pushing down into the ground.
  • Lock It: Lock in the top position of the swing by squeezing your glutes, tightening your abs, and stopping the dumbbells at (or slightly below) chin level.

3. Walk out to push-up

You can put down the dumbbells for this move, as all you need is your body weight. According to Speer, “This move works your core, and upper body and will increase your heart rate. It’s sneaky and has a ton of benefits.”

  • Start standing tall with a straight back and feet hip-distance apart.
  • Reach down to the floor, find a gentle stretch in your hamstrings, place your hands on the floor, and walk them out to a full plank position.
  • Perform one (or more) push-ups.
  • Walk your hands back in toward your feet and stand tall.

4. Reciprocating rows

If you have adjustable dumbbells or a rack of fixed-load weights, now’s a good time to switch to a lighter set. This will help you keep your technique on track throughout the entire move. As Speer explains, “This move challenges the upper body, core, legs and the constant motion of the dumbbells really jacks up your heart rate.”

  • Holding the dumbbells at your hips, hinge back to bent over row position.
  • I like the wide or sumo stance for this move; you can do a traditional parallel stance as well.
  • Row one dumbbell, then as you lower that weight, row the other, so both are in motion at the same time.

5. Thrusters

You’ll want to take a small increase in the weights to a moderate load for the thrusters. “This is a classic full-body strength move that will make you sweat,” notes Speer.

  • Start with the dumbbells in a racked position at your shoulders.
  • Lower into a squat and hold that position for a moment.
  • Then, in one smooth motion, push back to a stand and drive the dumbbells overhead.

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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.