The BEST arm workout for beginners! This dumbbell workout targets the biceps, triceps, back, chest and shoulders in under 30 minutes. There are 10 upper body strength exercises in this beginner arm workout. Modifications for each arm exercise are included.
This arm workout targets the upper arm (biceps), back of arm (triceps), top of arm (shoulders), front of the upper body (chest), AND back of the upper body (back) in under 30 minutes.
You choose how challenging this workout is based on the weights you pick up. The last 2-3 reps of each move should feel challenging to complete with good form; that’s how you know you chose the right weights.
Free Beginner Workout Plan
Beginner Arm Workout FAQs
What Are The Best Arm Exercises for Beginners?
The best arm exercises for beginners are the classics: bicep curls, tricep extensions, back rows, chest presses, and shoulder presses. These are staple moves for a reason: they’re effective at building strength and definition in the upper body. You can make them more challenging by increasing the weights you use.
Is One Arm Day A Week Enough?
Start where you are and progress from there. I recommend working your way up to 2-3 upper body workouts a week, depending on your goals. A well-rounded fitness plan includes a variety of workouts to allow your muscles proper time to rest and recover.
25-Minute Beginner Arm Workout
Build strong, toned arms with this beginner arm workout with dumbbells!
A complete arm workout that hits all the major upper body muscle groups in under 30 minutes, using just a set of dumbbells.
Add this arm day workout to your beginner workout plan 1-2 times a week to build and maintain strength in the arms.
Medium Set of Dumbbells.
I recommend between 5-25 lbs depending on your fitness level. We used 10, 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in today’s dumbbell arm workout. You can also add a chair or bench for modifications as needed.
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Targets: Both the lower back and upper back (specifically the lats and rhomboids), biceps and core.
How To Do A Single Arm Reverse Grip Row
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
Grip one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing out away from the body.
Hinge at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor (neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button and rib cage pulled in).
Pull the weight back towards your right hip (simultaneously pulling your right shoulder blade down).
Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position with control.
Modification: Brace your non-working arm on a bench or chair for additional core support.
Back Row and Bicep Curl
Targets: The lower back and upper back (specifically the lats and rhomboids) as well as the bicep muscles.
How To Do A Bent Over Row and Bicep Curl
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Grip one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in towards your opposite hand (hammer curl grip).
Hinge at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor.
Pull the dumbbell back towards your hip, performing a bent over row. Feel your shoulder blades squeeze together. With control, slowly lower the dumbbell back to starting position.
Then, stand tall and squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weight up to shoulder-height as you exhale, performing a hammer bicep curl.
Modification: Place your non-working hand on a bench or chair for core support during the back row.
Flip Grip Bicep Curls
Targets: The bicep muscles (front of your arm), specifically the brachialis (mid-arm) and brachioradialis (forearm). This bicep curl variation targets both the long head and short head of the bicep muscle.
How To Do Flip Grip Bicep Curls
Start standing with feet hip-width apart and core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height.
At the top of the movement, rotate your hands so palms face in towards each other (hammer curl). With control, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your sides.
At the bottom of your movement, flip your grip so palms face out again. Return to the starting position and repeat this movement.
Kneeling Hammer Curl and Neutral Shoulder Press
Targets: Upper arm (biceps), back, shoulders and core.
Performing this exercise from a kneeling position takes the work out of the legs and isolates the shoulder muscles.
How To Do A Kneeling Hammer Curl and Overhead Press
Start in a kneeling position, both knees on the mat with legs bent at 90 degrees, toes tucked under and core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in towards each other.
Squeeze the front of your arm to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, palms facing in. Avoid swinging the weights.
Then, press the dumbbells straight overhead, locking out the elbows, performing an overhead press.
With control, lower the dumbbells to your shoulders. Then, reverse your curl, bringing your dumbbells back to starting position at your hips.
Modification: Perform this exercise from a standing position instead of kneeling.
Dumbbell Chest Press
Targets: Chest (pectorals), shoulders (deltoids) and triceps.
How To Do A Dumbbell Chest Press
Lay flat on your back with legs bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the mat. Hold one dumbbell in each hand (palms facing knees), elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
Exhale as you push both dumbbells overhead at the same time; dumbbells stacked over shoulders at the top of the press, arms straight. Make sure your wrists are strong and in line with your shoulders.
Lower the dumbbells back towards your chest with control.
Single Arm Tricep Kickback
Targets: All three heads of the tricep muscle (lateral head, medial head, and long head).
The tricep kickback is one of best isolation exercises for targeting the triceps brachii muscle.
How To Do A Single Arm Tricep Kickback
Start with feet hip-distance apart, slight bend in the knees and hinge forward. Option to stagger the feet to support the lower back.
Hold one dumbbell in your left hand at your side (palm facing your body) with your left arm bent at a 90-degree angle. Think shoulders down and back, away from your ears.
‘Kickback,’ extending the left elbow so your left arm forms a straight line as you push the dumbbell back past your hips. At the top of the movement, elbow is fully extended.
With control, slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position.
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