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30-Minute Arm Workout (Dumbbells)

Build a strong, toned upper body with my favorite dumbbell arm exercises. An at home workout that targets the shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps. Each circuit includes a strength exercise, a power exercise and an isometric hold. Burn out the entire upper body at home using a set of dumbbells.

Build a strong upper body with some of my favorite dumbbell exercises for arms in this 30-minute arm workout.

This efficient arm workout targets every upper body muscle group in around 30 minutes. And we’re bringing back the strength, power and isometrics format we did in this 30-Minute Leg Workout!

Each circuit targets a specific upper body muscle group — the shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps. We’ll start with a strength training exercise as your base, then amp things up and challenge your endurance with a power move. Finally, we’ll round out each set with a quick isometric hold.

two women performing a single arm bicep curl hold in an arm workout with dumbbells

Dumbbell Exercises for Arms FAQs

Can I Build Arms With Dumbbells?

Yes! Lifting weights, or resistance training, involves working against a force (weight of dumbbells) to build muscle mass. Muscles are what give the look of strong, defined, toned arms. If you want to build your arms, you should lift weights.

What Are The Best Dumbbell Arm Exercises?

When it comes to arm day, I like to start with some of the basics. Some of the best dumbbell arm exercises are back rows, bicep curls, lateral raises, chest presses and skull crushers. These upper body exercises are classics for a reason – they each hit the upper body pull muscles and push muscles, so you get a well-rounded workout by combining them.

What Is A Good Dumbbell Weight To Tone Arms?

Lifting weights is essential for achieving muscle growth and burning body fat (which results in that toned look). If your goal is to improve definition in your arms, reach for heavy weights. I recommend 10-30 lbs depending on the exercise and your fitness level. You’ll know you chose the right weight if the last 2-3 reps in a set are challenging (The American Council on Exercise).

two women performing a single arm row with dumbbells in a dumbbell arm workout at home

30-Minute Arm Workout (Dumbbells)

Build upper body muscle at home with my favorite dumbbell exercises for the arms.

Whether you’re looking for arm exercises with weights for beginners or you’re a seasoned athlete, this 30-minute arm workout is for all fitness levels. You choose the intensity by the weights you select.

I suggest adding an upper body workout like this one to your weekly fitness routine once a week.

Workout Equipment:

Medium-to-Heavy Set of Dumbbells. We’re using 10-20 lbs.

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woman performing a single arm bicep curl in an arm workout with dumbbells

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided 30-Minute Arm Workout with Dumbbells on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Circuits (3 exercises per circuit — a Strength, Power and Isometric exercise)
  • Timed Intervals (40 seconds work for each strength exercise, 30 seconds work for each power exercise, 20 seconds work for each isometric hold. Rest for 10 seconds after every exercise. Complete as many reps as you can in the timed interval.)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets

Workout Outline


  1. Strength: Lateral Raises
  2. Power: Push Press
  3. Isometrics: Uneven Overhead March Hold


  1. Strength: Eccentric Single Arm Rows
  2. Power: Alternating Power Bent Over Rows
  3. Isometrics: Plank And Row Hold


  1. Strength: Dumbbell Chest Press
  2. Power: Single Arm Power Chest Press
  3. Isometrics: Diamond Press Hollow Rock Hold


  1. Strength: Eccentric Curls
  2. Power: Power Alternating Hammer Curls
  3. Isometrics: Half Curl Bicep Hold or Pulse


  1. Strength: Skull Crushers
  2. Power: Single Arm Overhead Tricep Throw
  3. Isometrics: Tricep Push Up Hold

two women performing a single arm overhead press with dumbbells in an upper body workout

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Arm Workout

5 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Arms

Lateral Raise

Targets: The lateral deltoid (also engages the anterior deltoids and posterior deltoid).

The lateral raise is a great isolated shoulder exercise.

two women performing a lateral shoulder raise with dumbbells in an arm workout

How To Do A Lateral Raise

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at hip level, palms facing in towards each other.
  2. With elbows slightly bent, squeeze to lift the dumbbell in the right arm, slightly rotating the arm as you lift so the dumbbell end parallel to the floor. Lift just to shoulder height.
  3. With control, return to the starting position, palm facing inward.
  4. Repeat for the timed interval, alternating the arm that performs the lateral raise.

Eccentric Single Arm Back Row

Targets: The latissimus dorsi (or lats); largest back muscle. This unilateral exercise also engages the biceps and core.

two women performing an eccentric single arm back row with dumbbells in an upper body workout

How To Do An Eccentric Single Arm Back Row

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Option to keep feet parallel or take a slightly staggered stance to better support your low back (stepping your right leg slightly behind your left leg).
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing out away from your body (reverse grip).
  3. Hinge forward at the hips maintaining a flat back, belly button pulled back towards your spine.
  4. Pull the dumbbell back towards your right hip (think of pulling from your elbow joint versus your wrist), as if you were starting a pull-start lawnmower. Stop once your elbow is in line with your rib cage, making a straight line from shoulder to elbow. Hold the row at the top for a moment squeezing your shoulder blade in.
  5. With control, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and repeat. This is a slow deceleration of the weight through the full range of motion, lowering on a two-count in a controlled movement.

Dumbbell Chest Press

Targets: Chest muscles (pecs), shoulders (deltoids) and triceps.

two women performing a chest press as part of arm workouts at home

How To Do A Chest Press

  1. Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, incline bench, or on a stability ball) with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 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. Make sure your wrists are strong and in line with your shoulders.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down on a three-count, towards your chest with control.

Eccentric Bicep Curls

Targets: Biceps (upper arm) and core.

two women performing eccentric bicep curls to tone the upper arms with dumbbells in an arm workout

How To Do Eccentric Bicep Curls

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing away from your body.
  3. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, squeeze your bicep muscles to curl the weights up toward your shoulders.
  4. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position. This is a slow deceleration of the weight through the full range of motion, lowering on a three-count in a controlled movement.

Skull Crushers

Targets: The triceps or back of your arm. 

Skull crushers tighten and tone the back of the arm.

two women performing skull crushers as a dumbbell arm exercise

How To Do Dumbbell Skull Crushers

  1. Lie flat on the ground or on a bench or stability ball; legs bent at a 90-degree angle, feet planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms straight so the dumbbells are directly overhead (palms facing one another).
  3. Bending at the elbows, inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head (just bending at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells towards your temples).
  4. Then exhale as you press the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.

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  1. Oh my God! I can’t even put my glasses on after this one! Love having you guys to challenge me. <3