But if you want an EFFECTIVE upper body workout that hits EVERY arm muscle, I highly recommend this 30-minute arm workout with weights.
This home arm workout with dumbbells will test your strength and your cardio endurance.
You don’t need fancy gym equipment or exercises like dumbbell bench presses and chin-ups to build strong arms — there are plenty of upper body workouts you can do at home with just a set of dumbbells.
Arm Workout With Weights FAQs
What Are The Benefits Of Arm Workouts With Weights?
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. So strength training with weights will give you that toned look you’re striving for in your upper body! Keep in mind that lifting weights will NOT make you bulky — only stronger. If you want toned, defined arms, you should lift weights.
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.
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 to give yourself 48 hours to recover between training muscle groups. That’s why I love split training – you can increase weights and still allow for proper recovery time.
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 you’re a seasoned athlete, this 30-minute arm workout with weights is for all fitness levels. You choose 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.
Medium-to-heavy pair of dumbbells. I recommend 8-20 lbs depending on your fitness level.
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Push Up And Single Arm Row And Push Up And Side Plank Rotation
Targets: Arms, chest, shoulders, triceps, back, core, abs and obliques.
How To Do A Push Up And Single Arm Row And Push Up And Side Plank Rotation
Start in a high plank position, straight line through your torso. 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. Pull your right elbow up to meet your rib cage. Squeeze 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 and perform 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 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).
How To Do A Narrow Chest Press And 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. Keep your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent.
Targets: Upper arms as well as the long head and short head of the bicep muscles.
How To Do Bicep Curls
Start with feet hip-width 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.
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).
How To Do A Dumbbell Back Fly And Back Row
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.
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 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 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).
How To Do A Narrow Overhead Press (Close Grip Overhead Press)
Start standing with feet shoulder-width distance apart, slight bend in your knees.
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).
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. Option to perform from a seated position on a chair or bench.
Push Press And Overhead Tricep Extensions
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 And Overhead Tricep Extension
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).
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 the dumbbells down to the 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 tricep extensions with one dumbbell held horizontally.
Dumbbell Man Maker (Plank And Row, Squat And Curl, Overhead Shoulder Press)
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 into 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 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.
How To Do A Lying Dumbbell Pullover And Leg Raise
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.
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. 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
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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
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
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
Thanks so much for checking out this workout video! -Lindsey