Are you having a hard time finding an hour or more to exercise? Do you want to improve your fitness level without having to go to the gym? This 30-minute workout at home gives you the tools to build strength and muscle in the comfort of your living room in half an hour or less.
All you need is a set of dumbbells, your own body weight, and to be prepared for a high-intensity session that will leave you sweaty but feeling great.
This workout is available in our workout tracker, which you can download for free using the button for your device:
Who Is the 30-Minute Workout at Home For?
This workout is for anyone who wants to get in shape and stay fit and healthy with short but highly effective strength training workouts. It’s perfect if you have a busy schedule and can’t dedicate hours to a fitness routine, enjoy quick but effective at home workouts, or want to squeeze in a superb 30-minute full-body workout during your lunch break.
- If your goal is to gain muscle and size, it will help you gain lean mass when combined with a moderate caloric surplus.
- If you’re on a weight-loss diet, it will ensure you’re losing fat, not muscle.
Regardless of age, sex, or training experience, this 30-minute workout routine is ideal for almost anyone who wants to maximize their results in less time with a combination of compound exercises and isolation work – all with dumbbells.
“Almost anyone,” because high-level bodybuilders and powerlifters need more specialized and extensive training for the best results. But even then, you can use this workout to tide you over if you ever find yourself with little to no time to train or without a gym.
Benefits of Full-Body Workouts
Full-body workouts have been around since the dawn of strength training. They are the best way to maximize the benefits of a strength workout when you have a short period of time to train.
- You exercise your whole body in one go. Instead of having separate days for different body parts, you get a complete workout in less time, which is great for busy schedules.
- Since you’re working all major muscle groups in a single session, it doesn’t matter if you happen to miss a workout. Miss a session on a split routine and your entire schedule gets thrown out of whack.
- Training your whole body in the same session often means a higher calorie burn during the workout, a great way to boost fat and weight loss.
- It’s easier to track strength improvements because you’re doing the same exercises more frequently.
Can You Build Muscle and Strength Using Only Dumbbells?
You might think that you need a fully equipped gym to get an effective workout.
That is not true. Your body has no idea if the resistance and tension you place on your muscles come from a barbell, an exercise machine, a resistance band, your own bodyweight, or a pair of dumbbells.
As long as you practice progressive overload, meaning you train a little heavier or do one more repetition when you can, your muscles respond by getting bigger and stronger.
Dumbbells are incredibly versatile, and you can train your entire body without any other equipment. These are a few of the many benefits dumbbells offer:
- You can train every single part of your body with just one set of equipment. You can do curls for your arms, squats for your legs, presses for your chest, and even deadlifts, all with dumbbells.
- Dumbbells allow you to work out at home without spending money on expensive training equipment or a recurring gym membership. Dumbbells are a one-time investment and last you a lifetime.
- Dumbbells are small and portable, ideal for when you work out at home or have limited space for training equipment. You can get an excellent workout for your entire body in your living room.
- With dumbbells, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck under a heavy weight if you work out alone at home. You don’t need a spotter, as you can drop them to the floor if you get stuck. Just make sure you have a protective mat on the floor, or failing a set can get very expensive!
- Last but not least, dumbbells have proven to be one the most effective tools to build muscle and gain strength for more than a century. There is no need to change a winning concept.
What Equipment Do You Need for StrengthLog’s 30-Minute Workout at Home?
A set of dumbbells.
You can use regular dumbbells, but if you don’t want to collect enough of them to fill a dumbbell rack, you should consider getting a pair of adjustable ones.
You will require heavy dumbbells for some exercises, and light dumbbells for others.
Adjustable dumbbells allow you to change the load on the fly with the flip of a switch, and you won’t have to find room to store half a dozen dumbbells of various sizes.
A yoga mat or a soft carpet for comfort and to protect the floor will also be helpful.
StrengthLog’s 30-Minute Workout at Home: The Exercises
This 30-minute workout is divided into four parts: two circuits consisting of three exercises each and two superset bouts.
You perform three rounds of each circuit and two rounds of each superset. Rest ~30 seconds between rounds and ~60 seconds between different circuits and supersets.
Perform each circuit or superset with as little rest between exercises as possible. For example, after one set of goblet squats, you immediately move into dumbbell floor presses.
Do one set x 10-12 reps of each exercise in a row, rest for 30 seconds, then do them again for a total of three rounds.
Rest: 60 seconds
Do one set x 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, rest for 30 seconds, then do them again for a total of three rounds.
Rest: 60 seconds
Do one set of each exercise: 10-15 reps of push-ups and 30-60 seconds in the plank. Rest for 30 seconds, then do them again for a total of two rounds.
Do one set of each exercise: 6-8 reps of deadlifts and 10-15 reps of sit-ups. Rest for 30 seconds, then do them again for a total of two rounds.
You can view the 30-minute workout at home in detail with sets and repetitions for all the different exercises in StrengthLog.
Warming Up for the 30-Minute Workout at Home
Increasing your heart rate, blood flow, and muscle temperature makes your muscles more flexible and ready for movement.
A warm-up prepares your body for your training session, may reduce the risk of injuries, and should precede all great workouts. A proper warm-up also helps to improve your range of motion and coordination.
Here’s a step-by-step warm-up routine for a full-body workout.
Start with a few minutes of light cardio to boost your heart rate and body temperature. A brisk walk, a light jog in place, or jumping jacks will do the trick.
After the cardio, do some dynamic stretches that involve your major muscle groups:
- Arm circles: Extend your arms out to the sides and make small circles in the air, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
- Torso twists: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and twist your torso from side to side, keeping your hips stationary.
- Leg swings: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and swing one leg forward, keeping it straight, then swing it back and repeat with the other leg.
- Squats: Hold a light dumbbell to your chest and do nice and deep goblet squats.
Do 15–20 reps of each movement, and your body should be warm and ready to go.
StrengthLog’s 30-Minute Workout at Home
Let’s break the 30-minute workout at home down, with detailed descriptions of every exercise.
30-Minute Workout: Circuit 1
Perform each exercise in order, resting as little as possible between exercises. Once you finish one round, take a 30-second breather, then start over. Do this for a total of three rounds.
Easy to learn, yet effective regardless of fitness level and experience: that’s the goblet squat in a nutshell.
The goblet squat targets your core muscles, quadriceps (the muscles at the front of your thigh), and glutes. The instruction gif above shows the kettlebell version of the exercise, but a dumbbell works equally well.
Holding a dumbbell in front of your chest helps you squat right by removing much of the mobility requirements of the regular barbell squat. It’s an excellent exercise for all levels, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been lifting weights for a while.
How to Perform Goblet Squats
- Stand with your feet hip-width, holding a single dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands at chest level, close to your body, and with your toes pointing slightly outward.
- Inhale, brace your core muscles and keep your chest up with your shoulders back and down.
- From the starting position, squat down as deep as you can comfortably go. At the bottom of the squat position, your elbows should be inside your knees.
- Straighten your legs and return to the standing position, exhaling and pushing your hips forward as you rise.
- Repeat the movement for your desired number of repetitions.
Without resting, adjust your dumbbells to the appropriate weight and get your yoga mat out – it’s time for the dumbbell chest press on the floor.
Dumbbell Floor Press
The floor press is a great exercise for building your chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles using nothing but dumbbells. It’s a compound exercise with complete stability where you can use heavy weights.
While the dumbbell floor press takes your chest muscles somewhat out of the equation due to the limited range of motion, you can target them by focusing on squeezing your pecs at the top of the movement.
Note: if you do have a training bench at home, do the regular dumbbell chest press instead.
How to Perform the Dumbbell Floor Press
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight and a pair of dumbbells beside you.
- Pick the dumbbells up and place them in your hip creak.
- Lay down while you bring the dumbbells up to your chest.
- Press the dumbbells to straight arms, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Lower the dumbbells slowly until the back of the arms hit the floor, keeping your lower and upper back on the floor at all times.
- Reverse the motion and push the dumbbells up to straight arms again.
- Repeat the movement for your desired number of repetitions, then gently drop the dumbbells to the floor to finish the set.
Once again, with as little rest as possible, get ready for the next exercise. This time, you’re targeting your upper back with one of the best exercises for the purpose: the dumbbell row.
The dumbbell row is a fantastic exercise for the entire back of your upper body: your lats, rhomboids, trapezius, and rear deltoids. As a bonus, it even hits your biceps.
You don’t need a training bench to perform the dumbbell row. Anything stable you’ve got in your home, like a chair, a couch, or even a staircase, will do fine.
When rowing with your right arm, place your left leg on the chair and your right foot on the floor. Conversely, put your right leg up and your left foot down when rowing with your left arm.
How to Perform Dumbbell Rows
- Place a dumbbell on the floor beside a bench or chair. Stand facing the bench or chair and place your left hand and left knee on top of it.
- Grip the dumbbell with your right hand and pull the dumbbell up, keeping your elbow close to your body.
- Pull the weight until it touches the side of your body, around the belly button level. Keep your back flat and parallel to the ground throughout the movement.
- Contract your lats and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement, then lower the dumbbell back down to the start position with your arm fully extended.
- Go for a complete range of motion with a nice stretch at the bottom, then repeat the movement for your desired number of repetitions.
- Place your right knee on the bench or chair, grip the dumbbell with your left hand, and repeat the movement for the other side of the body.
That’s your first circuit done! Take half a minute to rest, then get right back into it by starting over with another set of goblet squats.
Once you have completed three rounds, you’re ready to move to the next circuit. But first, take a minute to regain your breath and let your muscles recover.
30-Minute Workout: Circuit 2
Circuit number two consists of another three exercises: lunges, overhead presses, and biceps curls, all with dumbbells. They translate smoothly into one another, and the muscles worked don’t overlap, so you should be able to maintain a steady pace without getting overly fatigued.
Like last time, perform each exercise in order, resting as little as possible between exercises. Take a 30-second rest after one round, then start over. Do this for a total of three rounds.
The dumbbell lunge has a lot going for it. Not only is it one of the best lower body exercises for your thighs and glutes – it also works your hamstrings to a lesser degree, and it helps you train your balance, coordination, and body control.
For variation, you can step backwards instead of forwards as in the instruction gif above. Doing so involves your hamstrings a bit more, and some people feel that the reverse lunge is easier on their knees.
How to Perform Dumbbell Lunges
- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Your palms should be facing your body.
- Take a big step forward and sink as deep as your comfort and flexibility allow into a lunge position. The front knee should be directly above your ankle, and the back knee should hover just above the ground. Your rear knee should not touch the floor.
- Return to the starting position by pushing yourself back with the front leg.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions, switch legs, and perform the exercise on the other side.
Without resting, move into the second exercise of the circuit, the dumbbell shoulder press.
Dumbbell Overhead Press
The dumbbell overhead press is one of the best overall upper body exercises, perfect for a 30-minute workout when you want the most bang for your lifting buck. It works multiple muscle groups in your upper body, including your shoulders, triceps, and traps. In addition, it effectively engages your core to keep your body stable as you push the dumbbells over your head.
Remember to maintain good form even when you get tired at the end of the set, and avoid using your entire body to move the weights.
You can also perform the dumbbell press seated, but doing so removes some of the core action from the exercise.
How to Perform the Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbells up to shoulder level with your palms facing forward.
- Engage your core and press the dumbbells up overhead, fully extending your arms.
- Pause momentarily at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder height.
- Repeat the movement for your desired number of repetitions.
Once you’ve completed your last rep, lower the dumbbells to your sides and get ready for the third and last exercise of the circuit.
Some people claim that you don’t need to train your biceps directly, and while it is true that they get their fair share of work when you train your back, the dumbbell curl makes sure they don’t get left behind.
It’s the perfect final exercise to close the second circuit of your 30-minute workout: it is easy to do and allows your larger muscle groups to rest up and prepare for your next bout while you’re getting things done.
How to Perform Dumbbell Curls
- Hold a pair of dumbbells in an underhand grip (palms facing forward), arms hanging by your sides.
- Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders by only moving your forearms.
- Don’t let your upper arms travel back during the curl. Keep them at your sides or move them slightly forward.
- Reverse the movement and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Whew! That’s the second circuit done! If it was your first round, you still have two more to go. Rest for 30 seconds and get back to work!
Once you have done three rounds of the circuit, take a minute to recover, then get ready for the superset part of this 30-minute workout at home.
30-Minute Workout: Superset 1
The push-up is a classic exercise for training your chest muscles using your own body weight. In addition, it works your shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. It’s as close to a perfect exercise for at-home workouts as you can get because it doesn’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere.
Push-ups have been a staple in calisthenics since forever. In the last decade, they have gotten a little bit of a resurgence in bodybuilding after several studies showed that they can be just as effective as the barbell bench press for building muscle and strength.1 2
You can make the exercise easier by standing on your knees or harder by using a resistance band to increase the load:
How to Perform Push-Ups
- Place your hands on the floor or an exercise mat, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Assume the push-up position by extending your legs straight behind you, keeping your toes on the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. If you’re doing the kneeling variant, form a straight line from your head to your knees instead.
- Engage your core muscles to keep your body stable and maintain a neutral spine position. Avoid arching your back or letting your hips sag.
- Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows while inhaling. Keep your elbows close to your body at about a 45-degree angle from your torso. Your chest should lead the way.
- Continue to lower your body until your chest is just above or lightly touches the floor. Keep your body in a straight line throughout the descent.
- Push through your palms and straighten your arms to raise your body back up. Exhale as you push up.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Once you’ve completed your reps, stay on the floor, as it is time for the second exercise of the superset, everyone’s favorite: the plank.
The plank is an excellent exercise for your entire core. When done right, it doesn’t require any additional weight to strengthen every muscle fiber in your midsection.
In the plank position, move your elbows closer to your head and focus on squeezing your glutes as you hold the plank position. Research shows these two slight modifications make the plank five times more effective!3 In addition, they make the exercise that much more challenging, meaning 30–60 seconds is enough.
Do kneeling planks if you can’t hold the position for 30 seconds.
How to Perform the Plank
- Stand on your elbows and feet (or knees).
- Brace your abs and lower back, and form and hold a straight line from your head to your feet. If you’re doing the kneeling variant, form a straight line from your head to your knees instead.
Take 30 seconds of rest, do one more round of push-ups and the plank, rest a minute, then get ready for the final act of StrengthLog’s 30-minute workout at home. And you guessed it: it’s another superset! This one features more core work and one of the best exercises for your entire posterior chain.
30-Minute Workout: Superset 2
This is it: the home stretch. Keep the tempo up and grind out the final supersets to complete this 30-minute workout in time.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
The dumbbell Romanian deadlift is a variation of the dumbbell deadlift and the most efficient way to develop your hamstrings using dumbbells. It’s also a great exercise for the rest of your posterior chain, including your glutes and lower back.
How to Perform Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length by your sides.
- Inhale, brace your core slightly, and lean forward by hinging your hips. Imagine pushing your hips backward as if you were trying to close a car door with your butt. Keep your back straight and maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise.
- Lower dumbbells down the front of your legs, keeping them close to your body. Your back should remain straight, and your knees should slightly bend.
- Continue to lower the dumbbells until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep going until your back is almost parallel to the ground or as far as your flexibility allows. Avoid rounding your back.
- Return to the starting position by pushing your hips forward and bringing your torso back up to a standing position. Keep the dumbbells close to your body during the ascent.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Once you’ve completed your Romanian deadlift reps, immediately get down on your back for the finishing move, the oblique sit-up.
The oblique sit-up works both your six-pack muscle (the rectus abdominis) as well as your obliques located at the sides of your abdominal area. It improves your core stability and helps you get stronger in movements that require trunk rotation.
If you’re struggling to complete full sit-ups, feel free to do oblique crunches instead.
How to Perform Oblique Sit-Ups
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. You can place your hands behind your head or across your chest, but be careful not to pull on your neck during the exercise. Use your dumbbells or something stable to stick your feet under so they don’t lift from the ground.
- Lift your shoulders off the floor and twist your torso to one side, bringing your right elbow towards your left knee. As you twist, exhale, and squeeze your obliques.
- Lower your upper body back to the starting position while keeping your core engaged. Avoid resting your head or shoulders on the ground.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions, then twist your torso to the other side, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee. You can alternate sides in a controlled and rhythmic manner instead of doing one side at a time if you prefer.
After the first superset, take a short rest and repeat the two exercises one more time.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed this 30-minute full body workout! Give yourself a pat on the back – you deserve it.
How Often Should You Do StrengthLog’s 30-Minute Workout at Home?
This 30-minute exercise program is designed for two or three weekly workouts.
If you can only do it once per week, it is much better than not working out at all. However, you should get at least two sessions for the best results on your fitness journey.
Two weekly workouts produce much better results than one, but the jump from two to three, while still significant, is less dramatic than going from one to two.
In short, if you can squeeze in three 30-minute weekly workouts – fantastic. If you can’t, two are sufficient to make progress and get stronger.
Just make sure you have a rest day between workouts. Your muscles don’t grow bigger and stronger during your workouts but when you rest and recover afterward.
Follow the 30-Minute Workout at Home in Strengthlog
Want to start StrengthLog’s 30-Minute Workout at Home?
It’s available exclusively in our workout tracker app.
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It even has a bunch of free programs and workouts. However, our more advanced programs (such as this one) are for premium users only.
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- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: January 2015 – Volume 29 – Issue 1 – p 246-253. Bench Press and Push-up at Comparable Levels of Muscle Activity Results in Similar Strength Gains.
- Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness. Volume 15, Issue 1, June 2017, Pages 37-42. Low-load bench press and push-up induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain.
- Sports Biomechanics, Volume 13, 2014 – Issue 3. An electromyographic comparison of a modified version of the plank with a long lever and posterior tilt versus the traditional plank exercise.