You only need 5 moves and 25 minutes to build full-body muscle and boost your metabolism

Man doing a forward lunge with dumbbells outside
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High-intensity resistance training (HIRT) is a great way to work your whole body and raise your heart rate, even when you're tight on time. You train intensely in short bursts with minimal rest, often completing a session in less than 30 minutes. 

When compared to continuous exercise, this type of training also leads to greater excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC) meaning you’ll continue to burn calories even after your training is complete. 

This five-move workout, designed by HYROX master trainer and Represent 247 athlete, Jake Dearden, is no different. “Performing each movement in quick succession will ramp up your heart rate and increase your aerobic capacity,” Dearden says.

“The incorporation of weights will also enhance your strength endurance and thus muscle development,” the fitness trainer adds. As Dearden mentions, you’ll need some equipment for this session. Along with some dumbbells, you’ll also need to use a rowing machine and a box.

So it’s a good idea to find a quiet corner in a gym, so you can make use of the facilities. You may also want to roll out one of the best yoga mats to help cushion your joints as you complete some of the floor-based moves.

Headshot of Jake Dearden
Jake Dearden

Jake Dearden is a fitness coach for 247 Represent, HYROX Master Trainer, and a HYROX Open and Pro World Record Holder. 

How to do this 5-move full-body workout

The aim is to complete three rounds of this five-move circuit. Dearden recommends completing these moves as quickly as you can inside 26 minutes. So use the seconds it takes to move from one exercise to the other as your rest period. 

“You will need to move pretty much non-stop throughout the workout to get it done in time so choose the correct weights which allow you to do this,” Dearden explains. And hopefully, this should be doable.

“As the workout involves a lot of full-body movements, it allows you to push through and work more consistently for longer periods as opposed to having a workout which is predominantly leg-focused which would require longer rest periods whilst your body recovers,” he adds.

But just remember that it’s never worth sacrificing your form for your time. You don’t get an injury just to unlock a new personal best. So adopt a good form, keeping your core engaged and your back straight as you move through these moves. 

1. 500m row

Dearden says: “Rowing is a full body movement so engages all of the main muscle groups: the back (predominantly upper and middle including the lats and traps), legs (quads, hamstrings, calves), glutes, arms (biceps, triceps) and chest pecs.”

  • Begin by setting your feet up in the foot straps so that the strap is level with the bottom of your laces and secure to prevent your feet from excessively moving when you row.
  • Take the handle of the rower, beginning with your arms straight, knees bent, and a slight forward lean of your torso. 
  • Start the drive by pressing with your legs until your hips are extended and your torso is leaning back slightly.
  • You can then initiate the pull with your arms until the handle reaches just below your ribs.
  • Finally, complete the movement in reverse to take you back to your starting position, extending your arms until they straighten, then bending your knees to bring you close to the monitor end of the machine.
  • Repeat until you have completed 500m. 

2. Walking lunges

You can use whatever weights are available for this. From the best kettlebells and adjustable dumbbells to a sandbag or barbell. Either way, “Choose a weight which allows you to do the 40 reps in a maximum of 3 sets,” Dearden says. 

  • Stand tall, holding your equipment in whichever way it requires. 
  • Take a step forward with one leg, bending your front knee until the back knee touches the ground, then push through the front foot so that you travel forward. 
  • The back leg can continue stepping forward straight into the next rep or you can place your feet together in a standing position to help with balance.
  • Aim for 40 reps in total. 

3. Box step-ups

You can perform these with one dumbbell held in a goblet position, behind your neck, or unweighted. Dearden recommends women use a 20-inch box and men should opt for a 24-inch box. 

  • Place a box in front of you. Step up onto it with one foot, pressing through the whole foot to straighten the leg. 
  • Bring the other foot to meet the foot already on the box so that your hips are fully extended then step back down. 
  • Repeat with the other foot stepping onto the box first. Continue this cycle until you hit 30 reps. 

4. Burpees

Whether you love them or loathe them, the humble burpee is a type of compound movement that will work your shoulders, chest, triceps, core, hamstring quads, and glutes.

  • From standing, hinge at the hips and bend at the knees to bring your hands to the ground, and explosively jump both feet backward (or step) so you are in a plank position. 
  • Lower your whole body to the ground so your thighs, stomach, and chest are in contact.
  • Press yourself back up, then jump or step your feet back up and return to standing.
  • Bring both hands behind your head to finish the rep to ensure you are extending your hips fully.
  • Repeat until you hit 20 reps. 

5. Dumbbell thrusters

Another multi-joint and multi-muscle movement, dumbbell thrusters combine a squat with a shoulder press. Dearden suggests using a dumbbell weight that is challenging but manageable enough for you to complete 10 reps unbroken each round. 

  • Grab two dumbbells and hold them with one head resting on your shoulders with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Lower your body into a squat stance, so that your hips break parallel. 
  • As you stand, when your hips extend, press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully locked out and the dumbbells are directly above your shoulders. 
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, and repeat. 

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Becks Shepherd

Becks is a lifestyle journalist who specializes in writing about wellness and home products, from mattresses to weighted blankets and cooling comforters. She has tested a number of mattresses for Tom's Guide, putting them through their paces to see if they stand up to the brand's claims, and offering recommendations as to the type of sleeper they will (and won't) suit.