Scores of simple and effective free workout routines that have stood the test of time!

Short Home Workout

The 12 Minute Full-Body Micro Workout

Struggling to fit in a whole gym session these days? No worries! Micro workouts are your new best friend. These are quick bursts of exercises that you can literally do anywhere, anytime.

Micro workouts also provide the means and rationale for splitting your workouts into smaller sessions throughout the day, allowing you to train below your fatigue level.

They can be as short as a few seconds or last up to 20 minutes, all depending on you. You can even split them up throughout the day if that works better.

Think squats by the coffee maker, lunges while waiting for the kettle to boil, or push-ups throughout the day while working from home.

The point is, there's always a little pocket of time to sneak in some strength training, even if you don't have an hour to spare. Forget that long gym slog – micro workouts are all about fitting fitness into your busy life!

For the past few weeks I've been doing this routine, using just one set of dumbbells.

This dumbbell-based workout is incredibly efficient, all 10 exercises hit every major muscle in the body, with an emphasis on your glutes and core.

Cycling through each exercise one after the other with minimal rest in between is what makes this so effective for fat loss and conditioning as well as building an athletic physique.

If, like me, you also like simplicity and minimalism, you will love this as other than needing basically one set of dumbbells, you don't need anything else.

This brief but strenuous, fast-paced, time-saving routine will leave you wondering what you need the gym for if your goals are just all around fitness, muscularity and fat loss.

dumbbell plank rows
dumbbell plank rows - image credit Pexels

The 12 Minute Full-Body Micro Workout 

Each exercise should take you close to a minute, doing each movement with a cadence of 3 seconds down, 3 seconds up for each rep. The rest period between each movement should be no more than 10 seconds.

Select a pair of dumbbells that are appropriate for being able to complete the prescribed number of repetitions per exercise. (I use a pair of 40-pound rubber hex dumbbells, but this will depend on you. You may find anywhere between 15-40 pounds will suit you, depending on you)

Perform one set each of:

  • Dumbbell Squat-Curl-Press 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Bear Rows 10 reps each arm 
  • Push-ups 20 reps 
  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Squats 12 reps each leg 
  • Dumbbell Swings 30 reps
  • Dumbbell Single-Stiff Leg Deadlift (unilateral) 12 reps each leg or Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift (bilateral) 12-15 reps
  • Side planks 30 seconds each side 
  • Feet Elevated Push-ups 20 reps 
  • Dumbbell Racked Front Squats 15 reps 
  • Glute Bridge With Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 25 reps

Notes: again, try to make each set last 45-50 seconds, rest 10 seconds. Most days I actually cycle through this twice and then do some jump rope after, but you will find that going through this twice is a fairly taxing workout in itself as well.

Bonus Workout! 

With the Squat-Curl-Press being a full body exercise in itself, you could also perform a stripped down version of the above like this:

  • Dumbbell Squat-Curl-Press (15 reps)

Superset that with:

  • Dumbbell Renegade Rows with Push-ups (One push-up after each arm row, so you would do a total of 8 rows each arm, 16 push-ups)
  • V Sit-up 8-12 Reps

Repeat the entire circuit 3-5x. This gives you a squat, upper body push and pull and hinge/core.

The Exercises

Dumbbell Squat-Curl-Press 

Dumbbell Bear Rows 

Dumbbell Bulgarian Squat

Dumbbell Swing

Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlifts

Feet Elevated Push Up

Dumbbell Front Racked Squat

Glute Bridge With Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Renegade Row with Pushup

Hope you find this as productive and efficient as I did. Let me know what you think of this!