Build strong arms at home with this 30-minute upper body strength workout! The “triset” format targets both the upper body push muscles (shoulders, chest, triceps) and the upper body pull muscles (back and biceps).
The most effective upper body strength workouts combine isolation exercises and complex multi-joint exercises. For example, a bicep curl targets the front of the arm (isolation exercises) while a stack on row to curl targets the back, biceps and core (complex exercise). This arm workout includes both isolation and complex exercises.
Can You Build Upper Body Strength Without Going To The Gym?
Many of the most effective upper body exercises can be done at home with just a set of dumbbells. Dumbbell back rows, tricep extensions, bicep curls and shoulder presses are all examples of strength training exercises that can be done at home.
What Is A Triset Workout?
A triset workout combines three exercises performed back to back that target the same muscle group in slightly different ways. This workout includes a “push” triset (targeting the shoulders, chest and triceps) and a “pull” triset (targeting the back and biceps).
30-Minute Upper Body Strength Workout
All you need is a set of dumbbells to build muscle in the arms at home!
This triset workout focuses on the upper body push muscles (shoulders, chest, triceps) and the upper body pull muscles (back and biceps).
Targets: Chest (pecs), shoulders (deltoids) and triceps.
How To Do A Dumbbell Chest Press
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a flat 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.
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.
Lower the dumbbells back towards your chest with control.
Modification: Option to substitute standing dumbbell chest flys if laying on your back isn’t comfortable for you.
Kneeling Single Arm Shoulder Press
Targets: The deltoid muscles (shoulder muscles) while also strengthening the hips and core as they stabilize an uneven load.
How To Do A Kneeling Single Arm Shoulder Press
Start in a half kneeling position — left knee bent at 90 degrees, left foot on the mat in front of you (left knee in line with left hip). And right knee bent at 90 degrees on the mat (right knee stacked underneath right hip).
Hold one dumbbell in the right hand at shoulder height with a neutral grip (palm facing your neck).
Perform a single arm overhead press. Rotate the dumbbell in your right hand so that your palm faces out and raise the dumbbell overhead, arm straight as you lock out the right elbow by the right ear.
Slowly lower the dumbbell back down towards the right shoulder. As you do so, rotate the dumbbell so your palm faces in again towards your neck.
Modification: Option to perform a single arm shoulder press from a standing position.
Quad 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 Quadruped Single Arm Tricep Kickback
Start in a table top position, quadruped on all fours, shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees.
Place the left hand flat on the mat in front of you, in line with the left knee. Send the right leg long behind you, flexing the right foot to drive the toes into the ground for stability.
Hold one dumbbell in your right hand at your side (palm facing your body). Pull the right elbow up to meet your right rib cage and hold it there. Think shoulders down and back away from your ears.
Then ‘kickback,’ extending the right elbow so your right 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.
Modification: Option to perform single arm tricep kickbacks from a standing position.
Single Arm Back Row
Targets: Mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats; the largest back muscle), biceps and core.
A great back exercise to target both the upper and lower back muscles, while improving core stability.
How To Do A Single Arm Back Row
Start with feet hip-width distance apart. Option to find a staggered stance, left foot in front of you, right foot slightly behind you. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing out.
Hinge at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor (neck in line with your spine, flat back, belly pulled in, core tight).
Hold this bent over position while performing a single arm row on the right side. Pull the dumbbell in your right hand back towards your right hip; squeezing your back muscles.
Control the dumbbell back down to the starting position and repeat.
Flip Grip Bicep Curl
Targets: The long and short heads of the biceps muscle (upper arms).
How To Do Flip Grip Biceps Curls
Start standing, feet shoulder-width distance apart and core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supinated grip).
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; alternating a standard bicep curl on the way up and a hammer curl on the way down.
Stack On Narrow Row And Hammer Curl
Targets: Back muscles (lats, rhomboids, posterior delts, traps and erector spinae), biceps and core.
A great arm exercise to work both of your upper body pull muscles (back and biceps) at the same time.
How To Do Stack On Narrow Rows And Hammer Curls
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in the knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in towards each other (hammer curl).
Hinge forward at the hips maintaining a flat back.
Pull the dumbbells back towards your hips (think of pulling from your elbow versus your wrist). Stop once your elbows are in line with your rib cage, making a straight line from shoulder to elbow.
Hold at the top for a moment, squeezing your shoulder blades together. With control, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. This is a narrow back row.
Then, return to standing and curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. Maintain a hammer curl grip (palms facing in towards each other) for the bicep curl.
Repeat this pattern, adding on a row and a curl each time you do the movement. So start with 1 row, 1 curl, then 2 rows, 2 curls, and so on.
We were so excited to have Dr. Taylor Spronk join us for today’s workout – she is a wealth of knowledge and we learned so much from her! Dr. Taylor is a veterinarian (and a former MN Pork intern) who works with farmers daily.
The Minnesota Pork Board (MPB) administers checkoff programs relating to pork promotion, consumer and producer education and research on behalf of more than 3,000 family pig farms in Minnesota.
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