5 workouts to build muscle and strengthen your core this weekend

Woman holding a plank position
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you’ve spent the week at your desk, on your feet in a store, or with little time to spare, you may be after an effective, efficient way to move your body over the weekend. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours searching YouTube, as we’ve found five great routines for you to try.

Plus, you don’t need the gym to get started! All you need is a few weights, like adjustable dumbbells or kettlebells, and maybe a yoga mat for floor-based exercises. But don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment, as we’ve also included a bodyweight-only option for you.

Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore, so we’ve made sure that each workout is varied, fun, and accessible whether you’re just starting or are a regular exerciser. And the routines are all under 30 minutes, so they’re ideal if you’ve got a packed schedule over the weekend.

1. Tiff x Dan’s 30-minute full-body dumbbell workout

This routine from YouTube fitness duo Tiff and Dan is designed to work muscles all over your body, thanks to the use of several multi-muscle compound exercises. Ideally, you’d have two sets of dumbbells or an adjustable pair, but fixed-weight will be fine too. There are six rounds of four moves, and you’ll do each for 60 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next exercise.

2. Growingannanas’ 20-minute low-impact HIIT workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a great way to boost your cardio fitness and increase your metabolism, but movements like running and jumping can be a challenge if you have sore joints. Fortunately, this short routine includes no jumping, so you can keep noise to a minimum and protect your knees. You’ll do two rounds of exercise, starting with 40 seconds of movement and a 10-second rest, then 30 seconds with a 10-second break.

3. Fit By Zoe’s 25-minute Pilates core workout

If you’re after a no-equipment way to work your midsection, Pilates is an effective way to strengthen your core without weights. This short session, led by certified instructor Zoe, is designed to develop stronger abs and core (mid-body muscle that connects your upper and lower body for improved stability and posture). It’s arranged like a yoga flow sequence, so you’re guided seamlessly between exercises.

4. Workout With Roxanne’s 20-minute kettlebell session

Kettlebells are extremely versatile and can be a great way to build muscle, raise your heart rate, and burn fat without just a single weight. But it’s not easy to know where to start. That’s where this short workout comes in. It’s led by personal trainer Roxanne, so you can follow along, practice your technique, and perfect your form, and is designed to get you a full-body session in just 20 minutes.

5. Yoga With Adriene’s 25-minute yoga flow routine

Adriene Mishler is one the most popular online yoga teachers, and for good reason; her classes are easy to follow, work your core, are often less than half an hour, and ease you into the practice, whether you’re a yoga beginner or an experienced yogi. This particular class is a short yoga flow, where you gently move between poses rather than resetting after each position — all you need is a mat and a bit of space.

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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.