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25-Minute Beginner Arm Workout

The BEST arm workout for beginners! Targets the biceps, triceps, back, chest and shoulders – all in under 30 minutes, using a set of dumbbells. There are 10 upper body strength exercises in this Beginner Arm Workout. Including modifications for each arm exercise depending on your fitness level.

This workout is brought to you in partnership with lululemon.

Our beginner workout plans are some of our most popular posts. So we’re bringing you a brand new UPPER BODY workout that’s perfect for beginners, pregnancy/postpartum, or anyone looking for a solid strength-only arm workout.

This is a naturally low impact upper body workout that is ALL strength training.

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.

two women lying on their backs performing skull crushers

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 classic 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.

two women performing a staggered back row as part of beginner arm workout

25-Minute Beginner Arm Workout

Build strong, toned arms with this ALL STRENGTH 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.

Workout Equipment:

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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Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Upper Body Workout for Beginners on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 4 Circuits (1-2 beginner arm exercises per circuit)
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds rest; complete as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets
  • 1-Minute ‘Burnout’ Arms and Abs Exercise Between Circuits

Workout Outline

CIRCUIT ONE: Back and Biceps

  1. Single Arm Reverse Grip Row
  2. Back Row and Bicep Curl

Burnout: Bird Dog Row

CIRCUIT TWO: Biceps and Shoulders

  1. Flip Grip Bicep Curl
  2. Kneeling Hammer Curl and Neutral Shoulder Press

Burnout: Two Push Press and Two Overhead March


  1. Dumbbell Chest Press

Burnout: Push Up and 3-Second Side Plank Hold


  1. Single Arm Tricep Kickback

Burnout: Skull Crusher and Alternating Leg Lowers

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Beginner Arms

6 Arm Exercises for Beginners

Single Arm Reverse Grip Row

Targets: Both the lower back and upper back (specifically the lats and rhomboids), biceps and core.

two women performing a single arm reverse grip back row as part of beginner arm workout

How To Do A Single Arm Reverse Grip Row

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing out away from the body.
  3. 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).
  4. Pull the weight back towards your right hip (simultaneously pulling your right shoulder blade down).
  5. 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.

two women performing a bicep curl and back row as part of arm workout for beginners

How To Do A Bent Over Row and Bicep Curl

  1. 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).
  2. Hinge at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  3. 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.
  4. Then, stand tall and squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights 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.

two women performing flip grip bicep curls as part of arm workout for beginners

How To Do Flip Grip Bicep Curls

  1. 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).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

two women performing a kneeling hammer curl and neutral shoulder press

How To Do A Kneeling Hammer Curl and Overhead Press

  1. 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.
  2. Squeeze the front of your arm to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, palms facing in. Avoid swinging the weights.
  3. Then, press the dumbbells straight overhead, locking out the elbows, performing an overhead press.
  4. 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.

two women lying on their backs performing a standard dumbbell chest press

How To Do A Dumbbell Chest Press

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

two women performing tricep kickbacks to target the back of the arm

How To Do A Single Arm Tricep Kickback

  1. Start with feet hip-distance apart, slight bend in the knees and hinge forward. Option to stagger the feet to support the lower back.
  2. 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.
  3. ‘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.
  4. With control, slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position.

Shop This Post: lululemon Favorites

lululemon makes quality apparel designed to last – through all seasons of life.

Today’s workout features some of our favorite training leggings and tank tops that hold up to your toughest workouts.

two women kneeling and performing a bicep hammer curl as part of beginner arm workout

Lindsey’s Outfit Details:

lululemon chargefeel Training Shoes. Good training shoes can make or break your workout. Our team loves these shoes because you can truly use them for any workout: strength training, HIIT, running, group fitness classes – they work for all of the above! You can find our full review here: lululemon chargefeel Training Shoes Try-On and Review.

lululemon Base Pace Leggings. These were made for runners, but we love them for strength training and HIIT too. They’re smooth and lightweight but still supportive.

lululemon All Yours Cropped Cotton Tank Top. The BEST basic tank. This cotton tank is so soft and cropped at the perfect length for high-waisted jeans or leggings.

Energy Bra. Our team considers this the MVP of sports bras because of how versatile it is. It offers good compression and support without restricting movement or being too tight. It also comes in a high-support version which is great for high impact sports and bigger bust sizes.

Want more? Check out our top picks from lululemon with a full size guide and review here!

Megan’s Outfit Details:

lululemon Align High-Rise Leggings. The most flattering yoga and lounge leggings. These are great for low impact workouts and daily wear. I lived in these during pregnancy and postpartum as well!

lululemon Train to Be Tank Top. This breathable tank is perfect for your sweatiest workouts. It’s sweat-wicking and has minimal seams to reduce chafing.

Energy Bra. Our team favorite sports bra!

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