But if you want an EFFECTIVE upper body workout that hits EVERY arm muscle, then this 30-minute arm workout with weights is for you!
This arm workout at home with dumbbells consists of eight complex arm exercises. From push up and row to chest press and chest fly.
Test your strength by performing 10 reps of each arm exercise and then test your endurance with a 30 second arm burnout exercise to finish each circuit.
30-Minute Arm Workout with Weights
This is one of the best dumbbell arm workouts for building upper body muscle at home.
Whether you’re looking for arm exercises with weights for beginners or a seasoned athlete; this 30 minute arm workout with weights is for all fitness levels. You chose the intensity by the weights you select.
The goal is that the last 2-3 reps of each arm exercise should be a challenge to complete.
This arm workout consists of four circuits. Each circuit consists of two upper body strength exercises (which you’ll do 10 reps of), followed by a 30-second power or cardio exercise. Repeat each circuit x2 sets.
8 Best Arm Exercises with Weights
SET ONE: CHEST AND BACK EXERCISES
Strength: Push Up + Single Arm Row + Push Up + Side Plank Rotation – 10 Reps
1. Push Up + Single Arm Row + Push Up + Side Plank Rotation – 10 Reps Per Arm
Targets: Arms, chest, shoulders, triceps, back, core, abs and obliques.
How to do a Push Up + Single Arm Row + Push Up + Side Plank Rotation:
Start in a high plank position. Place your right hand on a dumbbell, left hand on the mat.
Lower your chest towards the mat to perform a push up; elbows fall back towards your hips.
Push back up into a high plank position, then perform a back row on your right arm. Pulling your right elbow up to meet your rib cage. Squeezing your shoulder blade to lift the dumbbell off the mat. Hips stay square to the mat in high plank.
With control, lower the dumbbell back to the mat.
Repeat Steps 1-2, performing another push up.
Then brace your core and perform a side plank rotation by opening your right hip as you pull your right hand and dumbbell overhead. Holding the dumbbell overhead in a side plank. Your body should look like a sideways “T”.
Modification: Perform this exercises without a dumbbell. Take this exercise to an incline planing your hands on a chair or bench. Or drop to your knees, performing the push up and row from your knees, and then keeping your left knee on the mat as you open into a modified side plank.
2. Narrow Chest Press + Chest Fly – 10 Reps
Targets: Chest, shoulders and triceps — your upper body push muscles. With an extra emphasis placed on the chest or pec muscles.
How to do Narrow Chest Press + Chest Fly:
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, arms extended directly above your shoulders, palms facing in towards each other. Press your feet firmly into the floor.
Activate your core by pressing your low back into the ground.
Inhale as you perform a narrow chest press by lowering both dumbbells in a straight line from your shoulders, stopping when your elbows reach 90 degrees at your sides. Then exhale as you push the dumbbells overhead, straighten your arms overhead.
Inhale as you perform a chest fly; slowly open your arms, lowering the dumbbells in a wide arc until they reach shoulder level (or the ground). Your elbows should remain soft and not over-extended.
Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to starting position. Keeping your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent.
3. Bicep Curls – 10 Reps
Targets: Upper arms, the long and short head of the bicep muscles.
How to do Bicep Curls:
Start with feet hip-distance apart, core engaged, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, brace your core and squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height as you exhale.
With control, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your sides.
Modification: Perform alternating curls, curling one dumbbell or one arm at a time.
4. Dumbbell Back Fly + Back Row – 10 Reps
Targets: Upper and mid-back muscles — latissimus dorsi (middle back), rhomboids (upper back between shoulder blades), trapezius (neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles).
How to do a Dumbbell Back Fly + Back Row:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at the hips until your body forms a straight line, neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine.
Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
Perform a back fly by opening your arms, raising the dumbbells until they come in line with your shoulders as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Control the dumbbells back down. Return to the starting position, trying not to let the dumbbells touch at the bottom.
Then, perform a back row. Pull the weights back towards your hips as you squeeze your shoulder blades together; elbows meet rib cage.
Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Modification: Perform alternating back flies and back rows, flying or rowing one dumbbell or one arm at a time. Option to place the non-working hand on a chair or bench to support your low back.
5. Narrow Overhead Press – 10 Reps
Targets: Arms and shoulders, chest and triceps; upper body push muscles.
How to do Narrow Overhead Press (Close-Grip Overhead Press):
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows pointing straight ahead, in line with your shoulders. Palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip or close grip).
Press the dumbbells straight overhead, straighten your arms, locking out the elbows with biceps by the ears.
With control, lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height. Avoid using your legs to “push” the dumbbells overhead.
Modification: Perform alternating presses, pressing one dumbbell or one arm at a time. Perform from a seated position on a chair or bench.
Targets: Shoulder, triceps, rear delts, upper back muscles and core (with some assistance from the lower body on the push press).
How to do a Dumbbell Push Press + Overhead Tricep Extension:
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees, holding dumbbells at shoulder height, elbows pointing straight ahead and palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip).
Drop into a shallow squat; about a 2-inch dip. Then press through your heels, and push the dumbbells overhead until arms are fully extended, biceps by ears. This is a Push Press.
Lower dumbbells down to starting position at shoulder-level and repeat, performing three push press reps.
Then, perform three overhead tricep extensions. Hold one dumbbell or two dumbbells straight overhead and activate your core by squeezing your glutes and abs to protect your lower back.
Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing the dumbbell(s) behind your head. Think ‘hide the dumbbells, show the dumbbells’ if you were watching yourself in a mirror. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the entire movement (don’t let your elbows flare out as you fatigue).
Modification: Perform the push press and overhead triceps extensions with one dumbbell held horizontally.
7. Dumbbell Man-Maker (plank and row, squat and curl, overhead shoulder press) – 10 Reps
Targets: Every muscle in your body, with an emphasis on the arms and abs, shoulders, back and biceps.
How to do a Dumbbell Man-Maker:
Start in a high plank position, each hand on one dumbbell, shoulders over wrists.
Alternate rowing each dumbbell up towards your hips.
Then jump or step in to a low squat position. Holding your low squat, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
Then stand tall, pressing through your heels, to stand and push the dumbbells overhead. That is one rep. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Modification: Perform this exercises without the dumbbells. Take this exercise to an incline planing your hands on a chair or bench. Or drop to your knees, performing the rows from your knees.
8. Lying Dumbbell Pullover Leg Raise
Targets: The lats(latissimus dorsi) and pecs (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor). Also engaging the core and lower abs for stability.
The dumbbell pullover is a great exercise to get rid of back fat under your bra.
How to do Lying Dumbbell Pullover Leg Raise:
Lying on your back, with legs extended straight overhead. Hold one or two dumbbells in your hands, palms facing in, arms extended straight overhead.
With control, lower the dumbbell(s) overhead towards the ground, arms straight.
Then pull the dumbbells back overhead, engaging the lats (back muscles), to return back to the starting position.
Option to alternate lowering one or both legs towards the mat as you lower the dumbbells overhead. Them pull the legs back up to the starting position as you pull the dumbbell(s) overhead.
Modification: Omit the leg lower and leg raise and focus on the dumbbell pullover. Option to bend your knees at 90 degrees (the shorter the lever away from your body the easier the exercise becomes).
Arm Workouts FAQ’s
Does lifting weights tone your arms?
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.”
Will lifting weights make me bulky?
NO. Lifting weights will make you strong, not bulky.
Women getting ‘bulky’ from strength training is a fitness myth. Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky — just stronger. If you want toned, defined arms, lift weights.
How long does it take to get toned arms with weights?
Arm definition comes from building muscle. Building muscle happens with progressive overload (increasing your weights).
I would suggest dedicating 1-2 days a week to strength training your arms and upper body to see results.
How often should I do this dumbbell arm workout?
It all depends on your current fitness routine and goals. Try adding this arm workout with weights to your workout routine once a week.
A good rule of thumb is giving yourself 48 hours to recover between training muscle groups. So if I train arms on Monday, the soonest I would train arms again is Wednesday.
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