Half an hour to spare? Get your whole body working with this sub-30 minute dumbbell circuit workout, guaranteed to pump up your muscles and fire up your metabolism…

“My ethos is that fitness should always be balanced with a person’s lifestyle to remain sustainable,” says James Stirling, otherwise known as @london_fitness_guy.

“It should be accessible and enjoyable, while being tailored to measurable and realistic goals. 

On his Instagram, Stirling provides minimal and no-equipment workouts for people to do from home.

“My training won’t turn you into a bodybuilder,” he says, “but it’s an accessible style that can be done from anywhere to improve your fitness and support you in achieving your goals.”

Here’s one of those workouts – requiring just one pair of dumbbells, a patch of floor and avoidance of any low-hanging lights.

How to do this dumbbell circuit workout:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells.
  • Complete the exercises back to back in one continuous circuit.
  • Do each exercise for 30 secs.
  • Take 15 secs rest between exercises.
  • Take 1 min rest at the end of the circuit.
  • Repeat for a total of 4 rounds.

Dumbbell Circuit Workout (In 30 Minutes Or Less)

This Full Body Dumbbell Circuit Takes 30 Mins Or Less| Men's Fitness UK This Full Body Dumbbell Circuit Takes 30 Mins Or Less| Men's Fitness UK

1a. Thruster

  • Rack the dumbbells at shoulder height, with palms facing in and elbows raised. 
  • Squat down, keeping your chest up.
  • Power up and, as soon as you reach the top part of your squat, thrust the dumbbells overhead into a full press.
  • Bring the dumbbells back to the rack position.

This Full Body Dumbbell Circuit Takes 30 Mins Or Less| Men's Fitness UK

1b. Press-Up to Renegade Row

  • Assume a press-up position with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand directly below your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core engaged and elbows tucked, lower your chest until it’s almost in line with your hands, then push back up to the starting position.
  • Row the dumbbell in your left hand to your ribs, then straighten your elbow, raising the weight behind you until your arm is fully extended.
  • Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and perform a press-up.
  • Continue alternating sides, performing a press-up after each row.

1c. Single-Arm Snatch

  • Using an overhand grip, grab a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Lower your hips to the floor until your knees are bent at 90° and the dumbbell is resting on the floor.
  • Quickly pull the dumbbell toward the ceiling while simultaneously extending your knees and hips, and raising your body on the balls of your feet. Keep the dumbbell close to your body.
  • As the dumbbell reaches its highest point, quickly rotate your elbow under the weight and extend your arm. The dumbbell will rest over the top of your shoulder with the palm facing away from your body.

1d. Glute Bridge Chest Press

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart, lying on your back.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, in line with your chest.
  • Raise your hips up, ensuring you squeeze your glutes and draw your belly button in.
  • Press the weights above your chest, feeling the tension in your pecs.
  • Lower the weights, press back up and repeat – maintaining the glute bridge.

1e. Devil’s Press

  • Think of it as a dumbbell burpee followed by an overhead press (ouch).
  • Stand holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides.
  • Squat down, placing the dumbbells under your chest.
  • Kick your legs out into a press-up position, then drop into a press-up.
  • Press back up and kick your legs back into the squat.
  • Stand up, dumbbells in hands, and swing them up to shoulder height.
  • Keep your core tight and press the weights overhead.
  • Repeat.

1f. Reverse Lunge

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart, your back upright and the dumbbells by your sides.
  • Step back into a lunge, bending your back leg so that your back knee nearly touches the floor.
  • Keep your torso upright throughout the move and make sure your front knee is over your front toe.
  • Push off the back foot to return to the start.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

1g. Dumbbell Swing

  • Holding the dumbbells close together, hinge your hips backward, then snap them forward.
  • Allow the weights to swing up to about shoulder level and then fall back down into the next swing.
  • Keep your posture in check throughout the move and make sure you’re not lifting the weights with your arms. All the momentum should come from your hips.

This Full Body Dumbbell Circuit Takes 30 Mins Or Less| Men's Fitness UK

1h. Deadlift

  • Stand tall with soft knees, shoulders back and a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
  • Press your hips back, keep your chest up and slowly lower the dumbbells towards the ground.
  • Once the dumbbells are midway down your shins, pause, squeeze your glutes and return to the starting position.

Model: James Stirling | Photography: Eddie Macdonald

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