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30-Minute Arm Workout with Weights

Build strong, toned arms with this 30-minute arm workout with weights. This upper body workout targets the shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps. Each circuit includes two strength exercises and a power exercise to strengthen and tone. Burn out the entire upper body at home using a set of dumbbells.



 

Build strong arms at home with some of my favorite upper body exercises with dumbbells.

This effective arm workout targets every muscle group in the upper body in just 30 minutes.

Each circuit has a focus – chest and back, biceps and back, shoulders and triceps, and total arms and abs. Each circuit has two strength training exercises and a cardio exercise to challenge your upper body strength and endurance.

You don’t need fancy gym equipment to build strong arms — there are plenty of upper body workouts you can do at home with just a set of dumbbells.

woman performing an overhead tricep extension with dumbbells in an arm workouts with weights

Arm Workout With Weights FAQs

Can I Build Arm Muscle With Weights?

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 Is The Best Arm Workout With Weights?

A good dumbbell arm workout will combine basic strength training exercises that target every muscle group in the upper body. Some of my favorite 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.

How Long Does It Take To Get Toned Arms With Weights?

Arm definition comes from building muscle and muscle building happens with progressive overload or increasing your weights. I suggest dedicating 1-2 days a week to strength training your arms and upper body to see results.

What Is A Good Dumbbell Weight To Use For An Arm Workout?

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).

woman performing a dumbbell lateral raise in an arm workout with weights

Build upper body muscle and challenge your cardiovascular endurance at home with this 30-minute arm workout with weights.

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 pair of dumbbells. I recommend 8-20 lbs depending on your fitness level.

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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:

  • 4 Circuits (2 upper body strength exercises and 1 power or cardio exercise per circuit)
  • Repetition and Timed Intervals (perform each strength exercise for 10 reps and perform 30 seconds of each cardio exercise)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets

Workout Outline

CIRCUIT ONE: CHEST AND BACK 

  1. Push Up and Single Arm Row and Push Up and Side Plank Rotation
  2. Narrow Chest Press and Chest Fly
  3. 4 Mountain Climbers and Push Up

CIRCUIT TWO: BICEPS AND BACK

  1. Bicep Curls and Half Bicep Curls
  2. Back Fly and Back Fly and Dumbbell Back Row
  3. 1 Burpee and 2 Bicep Curls

CIRCUIT THREE: SHOULDERS AND TRICEPS

  1. Narrow Strict Overhead Press
  2. Lying Tricep Extensions and 3 Push Press and 3 Overhead Tricep Extensions
  3. Plank Army Crawl and 2 Plank Jacks

CIRCUIT FOUR: ARMS AND ABS

  1. Dumbbell Woman Maker (Plank and Row and Squat and Curl and Overhead Press)
  2. Lying Dumbbell Pullover Leg Raise
  3. Sprinter Sit Up and Punch

Woman performing overhead tricep extensions with dumbbells in a 30 Minute Arm Workout with Weights

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Arm Workout

8 Arm Exercises with Weights

Push Up And Single Arm Row And Push Up And Side Plank Rotation

Targets: Arms, chest, shoulders, triceps, back, core, abs and obliques.

woman performing a push up and single arm row from a plank

How To Do A Push Up And Single Arm Row And Push Up And Side Plank Rotation

  1. Start in a high plank position, straight line through your torso. Place your right hand on a dumbbell, left hand on the mat.
  2. Lower your chest towards the mat to perform a push up; elbows fall back towards your hips.
  3. Push back up into a high plank position, then perform a back row on your right arm. Pull your right elbow up to meet your rib cage. Squeeze the shoulder blade to lift the dumbbell off the mat. Hips stay square to the mat in high plank.
  4. With control, lower the dumbbell back to the mat and perform another push up.
  5. Then brace your core and perform a side plank rotation by opening your right hip as you pull your right hand and the dumbbell overhead. Pause briefly as you hold the dumbbell overhead in a side plank. Your body should look like a sideways “T”.

Modification: Option to drop to your knees, performing the push up and row from your knees, keeping your left knee on the mat as you open into a modified side plank. You can also take this exercise to an incline by placing your hands on a chair or bench. Option to perform this entire exercise without a dumbbell.

Narrow Chest Press And Chest Fly

Targets: Chest, shoulders and triceps — your upper body push muscles (with an extra emphasis placed on the chest or pec muscles).

woman performing a dumbbell narrow press and dumbbell chest fly in an arm workout at home

How To Do A Narrow Chest Press And Chest Fly

  1. 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.
  2. Activate your core by pressing your low back into the ground.
  3. 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, straightening your arms overhead.
  4. 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.
  5. Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to the starting position. Keep your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent.

Bicep Curls

Targets: Upper arms as well as the long head and short head of the bicep muscles.

woman performing bicep curls with dumbbells in an upper body workout

How To Do Bicep Curls

  1. Start with feet hip-width distance apart, core engaged, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing out (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. 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.
  3. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your sides.

Modification: Perform alternating curls, curling one dumbbell or one arm at a time.

Dumbbell Back Fly And Back Row

Targets: Upper and mid-back muscles — latissimus dorsi (middle back), rhomboids (upper back between shoulder blades), trapezius (neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles).

woman performing a dumbbell back fly and back row exercise in an arm workout at home

How To Do A Dumbbell Back Fly And Back Row

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width distance 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.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
  3. 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.
  4. Control the dumbbells back down. Return to the starting position, trying not to let the dumbbells touch at the bottom.
  5. Then, perform a back row. Pull the weights back towards your hips as you squeeze your shoulder blades together; elbows meet rib cage.
  6. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Modification: Perform an alternating back fly and back row, flying or rowing one dumbbell or one arm at a time. Option to place the non-working hand on a chair or incline bench to support your low back.

Narrow Overhead Press

Targets: Arms, shoulders, chest and triceps (upper body push muscles).

woman performing a narrow overhead press with dumbbells

How To Do A Narrow Overhead Press (Close Grip Overhead Press)

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder-width distance apart, slight bend in your knees.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows pointing straight ahead, in line with your shoulders. Palms are parallel and facing in towards each other (neutral grip or close grip).
  3. Press the dumbbells straight overhead. Straighten your arms, locking out the elbows with biceps by the ears.
  4. 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. Option to perform from a seated position on a chair or bench.

Push Press And Overhead Tricep Extensions

Targets: Shoulders, triceps, rear delts, upper back muscles and core (with some assistance from the lower body on the push press).

woman performing a push press and overhead tricep extension in an arm workout

How To Do A Dumbbell Push Press And Overhead Tricep Extension

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width distance apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height, elbows pointing straight ahead and palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip).
  2. Drop into a shallow squat; about a two-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.
  3. Lower the dumbbells down to the starting position at shoulder-level and repeat, performing three push press reps.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 tricep extensions with one dumbbell held horizontally.

Dumbbell Woman Maker (Plank, Row, Squat, Curl and Press)

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and core.

A big, full-body movement to build strength while also getting your heart rate up.

woman performing a dumbbell man maker exercise in an upper body workout

How To Do A Dumbbell Man Maker

  1. Start in a high plank position, both hands on your dumbbells, shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged.
  2. Perform a single arm plank row (or renegade row) on each side, pulling first your right elbow to right hip, then planting it on the ground and pulling left elbow to left hip before returning it to the ground.
  3. Then, step or jump your feet up to meet your hands, landing in a low squat position.
  4. Press through your heels to stand tall, pulling the dumbbells up your body as your hips drive forward.
  5. As you stand, curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, then press overhead, stacking dumbbells over shoulders and keeping your core tight.
  6. Reverse the movement, bringing the dumbbells back to shoulder height, lowering the dumbbells to your hips, and bending your knees to lower into a squat.
  7. Plant the dumbbells on the mat between your feet at the bottom of your squat, and step or hop your feet back, landing in high plank position.

Modification: Perform this exercise without the dumbbells. Option to take this exercise to an incline by placing your hands on a chair or bench. Or drop to your knees, performing the rows from your knees.

Lying Dumbbell Pullover

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.

woman performing a lying overhead lateral pull with dumbbells in an arm workout

How To Do A Lying Dumbbell Pullover And Leg Raise

  1. Start lying on your back with legs extended straight overhead. Hold one or two dumbbells in your hands, palms facing in, arms extended straight overhead.
  2. With control, lower the dumbbell(s) overhead towards the ground, arms straight.
  3. Then pull the dumbbells back overhead, engaging the lats (back muscles), to return back to the starting position.
  4. Option to alternate lowering one or both legs towards the mat as you lower the dumbbells overhead. Then 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, the easier the exercise becomes).

Pin this 30-Minute Arm Workout At Home With Dumbbells

30-Minute Arm Workout At Home With Dumbbells

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8 comments
  1. Hi Lindsay! Thank you so much for posting these great workout videos! I’ve really enjoyed them…especially the prenatal ones. You’ve been such an inspiration to me throughout this pregnancy…I’ve been able to lift heavier than I was able to pre pregnancy and feel stronger than ever! I’m almost 39 weeks pregnant now and am thinking ahead to the 4th trimester. If you have time, I would really appreciate a post on your latest journey from having a baby to getting back to working out again. I’m interested to navigate this part of having a baby and there’s not a whole lot of information out there for women who have been lifting heavy and have been active right up until the end.

    • Haley! I’m so glad you’re loving the workouts! I’m so glad you are feeling STRONG and I hope you are proud of all your hard work during pregnancy! Keep up the great work and yes, we have lots of great postnatal content ready for you after baby too! -Lindsey

  2. Needed a good strength workout after being sick and not having a lot of breathe the last few weeks, this was great! Ease back into cardio while getting a hard upper body workout. Thanks Lindsey!

    • Kim! Thanks for giving this workout a try! And glad to hear you’re feeling better; summer sickness is never fun. Thanks for giving this workout a try! -Lindsey

  3. Did this workout this morning! I was a little slow to catch on at times but it was great. I look forward to doing it again!

    • Yeah Gina! Thanks for giving the workout a try and yes, I hope you come back and do it again! And try the other full-length workout videos on the blog too! -Lindsey