High-intensity interval training offers a highly effective (and highly sweaty) fast track to fat loss.

And unlike some fitness fads, there’s a lot of evidence to support its effectiveness as a training system.

One of the benefits that you don’t need a degree in exercise science to understand is that HIIT workouts tend to be short. (This one can be over in as little as 25 minutes.)

And while you do need to set some time aside for slower, steadier cardio, for most people a short HIIT workout is a far more attractive option than spending an hour in the gym or pounding the pavements endlessly.

In fact, in a study published in the journal Topics In Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, researchers found that when they asked subjects to list their barriers to exercise, ‘lack of time’ was the most common response.

Similarly, if motivation is a problem, HIIT could be the answer, because the intense, dynamic and challenging nature of the workouts mean that they are always engaging. You’ll get tired, for sure, but you won’t be bored.

This dumbbell circuit starts with squats, the classic lower-body exercise and a fundamental human movement pattern, followed by the renegade row, which is one of the most challenging and effective upper-body exercises around.

The important thing to remember, however, is that it’s the quality of your reps that count, so take your time.

The third exercise is where we see the tempo increase. The swing is an explosive move, so speed and intensity are important to get the most out of this pulse-raising exercise.

The two arms exercises at the end of the circuit are less demanding on your heart and lungs but ensure that you get a solid full-body workout.

  • Do 12 reps of each exercise (6 each side for the renegade row).
  • Move from one exercise to the next with minimal rest.
  • At the end of one round, rest for 2 minutes.
  • Do 4 circuits in total.

1a. Dumbbell squat
1b. DB overhead press
1c. DB press-up renegade row
1d. DB swing
1e. DB hammer curl
1f. DB triceps extension

Home dumbbell HIIT workout: exercise instructions

Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK

1a. DB Squat

Why: The dumbbell version of this classic legs move will also develop your grip because you have to hold the dumbbells securely for the duration of the set. Keeping your shoulders back throughout the set will recruit your back muscles too.

How to do a dumbbell squat:

  • Stand with your chest up and core braced, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your knees to squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground, then press down through your heels to return to the start.

Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK

1b. DB Overhead Press

Why: Your aim here should be to go as heavy as possible because the rep count is comparatively low. As well as developing shoulder strength and size, this move also works your core because you have to stabilise your torso. 

How to do a dumbbell overhead press:

  • Stand tall with your chest up and core braced, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with palms facing forwards.
  • Press the weights directly overhead so your arms are straight, then return slowly to the start.

Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK

1c. DB Press-Up Renegade Row

Why: This is a demanding exercise so you do it while you’re fresh. You work your chest muscles during the press-up and your back muscles during the row, giving you a lot of bang for your muscle-building buck.

How to do a dumbbell press-up renegade row:

  • Start in a press-up position, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Perform a press-up then, keeping your core braced, row your right hand up, leading with your elbow.
  • Lower it back to the floor.
  • Alternate sides with each rep. 

1d. DB Swing

Why: This should be done as an explosive, high-energy exercise. Doing so will help you to develop a powerful hip drive (the key to this move) and also get your heart rate soaring towards the end of the circuit for a greater fat burn. 

How to do a dumbbell swing: 

  • Stand holding a dumbbell between your legs.
  • Bend forwards, hinging at the hips, to send the dumbbell between your legs, then push your hips forwards to straighten up and swing the dumbbell up to shoulder height. 

Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK

1e. DB Hammer Curl

Why: The hammer-grip version of the classic curl provides a real challenge to your biceps muscles, ensuring that you stimulate as many muscle fibres as possible so they repair themselves and grow. 

How to do a dumbbell hammer curl:

  • Stand with your chest up and core braced, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other.
  • Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the weights up to shoulder height.
  • Slowly lower the weights to the start.

Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK Home Dumbbell HIIT Workout For A Full-Body Burn | Men's Fitness UK

1f. DB Triceps Extension

Why: This is one of the few moves that effectively isolates the triceps muscles, giving you balanced gains in your upper arms after the previous exercise and more all-over muscle mass to help you burn fat.

How to do a dumbbell triceps extension:

  • Stand tall with your chest up and core braced, holding a dumbbell in both hands behind your head with your elbows pointing up.
  • Straighten your arms to lift the weights, then lower them to return to the start.

Photography: Glen Burrows, Tom Miles, Danny Bird 

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