All you need is 1 dumbbell and 4 exercises to work your entire body

a photo of a woman doing a dumbbell snatch
(Image credit: Getty/Juan Algar)

Whether you’re short on time and are looking for a quick full-body HIIT workout, or you want to mix up your next strength session with a fun finisher, I’ve found exactly what you’ve been looking for. All you need to do is grab one of the best adjustable dumbbells (or any dumbbell for that matter) and give these four exercises a try. The best part? You’ll get your heart rate up, and target all of the major muscle groups in your body. 

The workout, designed by fitness coach Aubrie Edgington, uses four different exercises, repeated for four to five rounds to work the body. Edington writes, “You can use it as a warm-up, workout finisher when you’re on a time crunch or just for fun!” 

As a reminder, if you’re new to exercise (or you’re returning to exercise following an injury) it’s a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer before adding weight, or reps to your workout. Exercising with bad form can put you at risk of injury. 

All you need is one dumbbell and 4 exercises for this full-body HIIT workout 

Ready to find out more? The workout consists of 4-5 rounds of the following four exercises. Aubrie recommends doing 10-15 reps of each exercise and taking a 60-second break between each round. 

Dumbbell snatch: 10 reps on each side

Start with the dumbbell on the floor between your feet, feet hip-width apart, push your hips back, keeping a flat back, and lower your left arm down. Grip the dumbbell handle with the left hand, as you stand, extend your hips, straighten your knees, shrug your left shoulder, and swing the dumbbell upwards, driving your arm up overhead. Keep your core engaged throughout — think about sucking your belly button into your spine. With control, lower the dumbbell back to the floor — that’s one rep. Complete all your reps on one side before switching. 

Here’s more on how to snatch with the correct form to maximize muscle growth

Goblet squat: 10 reps

A goblet squat is the same as a regular squat, but with the addition of a heavy weight, held in front of your chest. To do a goblet squat, get into your normal squat position — with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and your core engaged. 

Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest, holding it with both hands, like a goblet. Brace your core, and squat down, sitting back into your heels and keeping your chest up. Drive through your heels to raise back into your starting position.

Read what happened when I tried 100 goblet squats a day for a week.  

Surrenders: 10 reps on each side

For this exercise, start kneeling down, holding a dumbbell with both hands against your chest. From your kneeling position, step one foot forward, with your knee bent, and press into the floor to lift your weight up. Stay in a low squat position, then lower back to your kneeling position. The next rep, lead with the other leg, and keep alternating sides until you have completed all reps. 

Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise, and keep the squat as low as possible. 

Pull over toe touch: 10 reps

For this exercise, start by lying on your back, with your legs outstretched and your outstretched arms holding the dumbbell behind your head. Engage your core and crunch up, lifting your legs up to the ceiling, and your head neck, and torso as you lift the dumbbell to touch your feet (it doesn’t matter if they don’t completely touch). Use your core to lower your legs and arms back to the floor, and complete a dumbbell pullover, lowering the dumbbell behind your head with your arms outstretched slowly, and with control. That’s one rep.

What are the benefits of this workout? 

Aubrie’s workout targets all of the major muscle groups in your body, and is designed to get your heart rate up. It’s worth using a heavier dumbbell for this workout, as the reps are relatively low. That said, remember when selecting a weight you should opt for one that feels challenging by the final few reps, but not impossible — at no point should the weight of the dumbbell force you to change your form. 

This workout follows a HIIT pattern — high-intensity interval training. HIIT training involves bursts of intense exercise, followed by recovery, which is why it’s important to lower the dumbbell to the floor and rest for a minute between each set.  HIIT training is a great way to get your heart rate up, and burns more calories than regular weight training, as your metabolic rate remains elevated after you’ve finished the workout. 

Studies have also found that HIIT training is an effective way to lose fat, despite working out for relatively short intervals. It has also been proven to increase muscle mass in certain individuals. One of the main benefits of HIIT training is that you don’t need to spend hours in the gym, or on the treadmill to see results, so be sure to add this quick workout to your routine next time you’re in a hurry.

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.