Fast and simple 20-minute workout with dumbbells

I’ve probably said this before here, that I have not bothered to join a gym for years now. It takes me about half an hour to get to the nearest one. So that’s a full hour just for travel. And then if I factor in having to throw in my bag a change of clothes, towel, toiletries, and having to lug around my wet and used workout clothes and towel, especially if I have to go somewhere afterwards, ugh, it’s just too much time and trouble.

If I want to do some cardio, I just put on some running shoes and get out there for a jog. I take about 35 minutes to do a slow jog of 5K. For resistance training (weights with simple dumbbells) it’s so easy to just exercise at home by following a routine on YouTube.

There are so many videos there, for different types of workouts and fitness levels, that if we’re not careful we might end up wasting a lot of time deciding which video to use. Just pick one that looks reasonably suitable for what you want, and stick with it for a couple of weeks to give it a chance. And if you don’t like it, move on to something else.

The best part about working out at home is that you can just do it in any old pair of shorts and t-shirt. There’s no need to worry about looking nice or presentable. You can even be naked, who cares. (But just remember to draw the curtains!)


I like this one above because the routine is just 20 minutes, so it’s great for when I don’t have time (and, let’s face it, for when I do have time but am feeling kinda too tired or lazy to do more).

About the workout:

  • It is made up of 10 different exercises.
  • For each, work for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. So that’s 10 minutes.
  • Repeat for a second round. So total time is 20 minutes.
  • The instructor in the video Scott Herman does the entire workout, so you’re guided all the way.
  • There’s a timer shown on screen so you don’t need to prepare your own.
  • Equipment: just a pair of dumbbells (or even just soup cans, bottles of water, etc. Whatever convenient you have around that you can use as weights.)

If you find an exercise is too hard, remember that you don’t have to do the whole 30 seconds each time. Depending on what you can safely do, aim for, say, 15 or 20 seconds, then build up slowly over the next few days or weeks to be able to do it for 30 seconds straight. That’s one way to modify a routine to suit your fitness level.


Of course we’re not going to look like the instructor Scott Herman working out for just 20 minutes. But even if we are not seeking to build a muscular and ‘shredded’ body like his, it’s important to do some form of resistance training for general good health, with or without weights, regardless of age or fitness level.

You can read more about that online, for example in this article: Why Strength Training is a Must for Everyone.

2 thoughts on “Fast and simple 20-minute workout with dumbbells

    • Haha! If only, Tom! That would only be fair, since sometimes I feel like I put on a kilo or two just by inhaling the delicious smells of a buffet spread! :-)

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