Lockdown taught us many things: toilet roll is the most valuable commodity on Earth, fresh air is really quite nice and, for the purposes of this article, you don’t need a ton of equipment to get – or stay – in shape.

Sure, variety can make working out more interesting, and being able to cycle between a range of weights and stations requires less imagination, but if you’ve got just one pair of dumbbells at your disposal, you’re fairly well set. 

For this full-body workout, the exercises are to be completed back-to-back, with minimal rest between each move.

Perform 10 reps of each exercise and rest for 60-90 secs once the whole circuit is complete. Repeat the whole thing 3-5 times.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1a. Dumbbell Deadlift

Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, core, traps, rhomboids, lats

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

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1b. DB Press-Up

Muscles worked: pecs, triceps, delts, core 

  • Begin in a press-up position, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and your hands gripping the dumbbells in a neutral position. 
  • Now, perform a deep press-up while keeping your hips level.
  • Press yourself back up to the top and go again.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1c. DB Windscreen Wiper

Muscles worked: abs, obliques, pecs, triceps, delts, lats 

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended, a dumbbell in each hand and your feet together.
  • Keeping your arms straight throughout, lift your legs up then move them towards your right hand.
  • Return your feet to the ground and immediately lift them back up to your left hand. That’s one rep.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1d. DB Thruster

Muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, delts, traps, triceps 

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells on your shoulders, with your hands in a neutral position.
  • Do a deep squat, keeping your back in good alignment.
  • Drive up through your heels and punch the weights straight up in the air.
  • Drop down into the next squat and repeat the process.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1e. DB Alternating Reverse Lunge

Muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core 

  • With a pair of dumbbells at your side, take a big step backwards until your knee lightly grazes the floor.
  • Keeping your shoulders back, return to the starting position and go again on the other leg. That’s one rep.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1f. DB Bent-Over Row

Muscles worked: core, lats, rhomboids, posterior delts, erectors, biceps 

  • Holding the weights in front of you, bend your knees, press your hips back, keep your chest up and your shoulders down. This is your starting position. 
  • Row the weights up to your side, turning your hands as you go and keeping your elbows tucking in.
  • Pause at the top, then return to the start.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1e. DB Swing

Muscles worked: glutes, quads, hamstrings, core 

  • Holding the dumbbells close together, hinge your hips backwards, then snap them forwards.
  • 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.

Build Full Body Muscle With Just One Pair Of Dumbbells | Men's Fitness UK

1f. DB Power High Pull

Muscles worked: traps, delts, biceps, quads, glutes, calves, core 

  • Begin with your hips back and chest up, holding a pair of dumbbells just above your knees.
  • Drive your hips forward, come up onto your toes and drag the weights up in the air, pausing briefly at the top of the move with elbows wide.
  • Return to the start position and go again.