Forget burpees — this low impact 20-minute dumbbell workout strengthens your whole body without jumping

a photo of a woman lifting dumbbells above her shoulders
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Doing your entire workout from a standing position makes a big difference to how much impact it puts on your body.

Dropping to the floor to do moves like push-ups and planks, or jumping exercises like burpees, puts extra impact through your joints and while those are all effective exercises, you can build a stronger body while staying standing.

This 20-minute workout from fitness trainer fitbymik is a great example of a standing workout that hits all the major muscle groups in the body. You’ll be working hard, but it’s still a relatively low-impact session because you don’t hit the floor for any exercises, so if you’re someone who’s keen to protect your wrists in particular it’s a great option.

You need a set of dumbbells for the workout, with Mikala suggesting medium weights of 10lbs. However, if you have more than one set to hand, or one of the best adjustable dumbbells, that’s even better, because for some of the moves like squats it’d be better to use heavier weights, while others like the overhead press are best done with light weights.

Watch fitbymik’s 20-minute dumbbell workout

You can watch Mikala demonstrating the whole workout above, including a warm up and a cool down, both of which are well worth doing to reduce the risk of any muscle soreness the next day. 

Each exercise in the workout itself is done for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second break, during which Mikala gives the info on the next move you’ll be doing. But there’s no need to go hell-for-leather and do each exercise at maximum speed.

It’s better to move with control to get the most out of each move by engaging the target muscles correctly, and since you’re doing long sets you’ll still feel the burn in your muscles by the time your next break comes around.

The workout is full of compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, including deadlifts and squats, as well as isolation exercises like biceps curls. The exercises come thick and fast and no part of the body is left untouched, which means the muscles you’re targeting change with pretty much exercise. 

The session is great for all fitness levels and would make for a good beginner dumbbell workout that will help you get used to the form for exercises like deadlifts while using light weights. If you’re looking for a harder session this full-body dumbbell workout is a good option.

Aside from dumbbells you don’t need any equipment for the workout, but one of the best yoga mats would be useful to protect your floors from sweat and the dumbbells if you put them down between exercises. A mat will also provide reliable grip when you’re doing exercises like lunges where you step out to the sides or behind yourself.

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Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.