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30-Minute Dumbbell Arm Workout For Women

Strength train your way to strong, sculpted arms with this dumbbell arm workout! These dumbbell arm exercises is will challenge your biceps, triceps, chest, back and shoulder muscles. Grab a set of medium-to-heavy dumbbells and follow along with this guided home workout video.

The goal of this dumbbell arm workout is to build strong, toned arms at home.

While I love split training routines that focus on specific muscle groups (like this push workout or this pull workout), sometimes I want an efficient upper body workout that hits EVERY arm muscle.

If that’s what you’re looking for today, I highly recommend this 30-minute upper body workout with weights — the best dumbbell arm exercises you can do at home.

Single Arm Dumbbell Row | part of the best arm workouts for women roundup post

Dumbbell Arm Workout FAQs

Can You Build Toned Arms With Just Dumbbells?

YES! Strength training with heavy weights is essential for achieving muscle growth (and that toned look). If your goal is to improve definition in your arms, reach for heavy weights. You’ll know you chose the right weight if the last 2-3 reps in a set are challenging (The American Council on Exercise).

How Many Times A Week Should I Strength Train Arms?

This varies depending on your personal fitness and training goals. It’s important to allow your body proper recovery time to repair the muscles you broke down during strength training. That’s why I personally love split training muscle groups (arms on Monday, legs on Tuesday, etc.).

Is This Dumbbell Arm Workout Pregnancy-Friendly?

I filmed this arm workout in my second trimester of pregnancy, so most of the dumbbell arm exercises are pregnancy-friendly. Of course, every body and every pregnancy is different. As always, listen to your body and check with your doctor or midwife about what kind of exercise is appropriate for you and your pregnancy. Find more pregnancy-friendly workouts here.

Back exercises for pregnancy

30-Minute Dumbbell Arm Workout

The best dumbbell arm exercises in a 30-minute home workout.

These 12 dumbbell arm exercises target every upper body muscle group — the push muscles (chest, shoulders and triceps) as well as the pull muscles (back and biceps).

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 Dumbbell Arm Workout on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 4 Circuits (3 dumbbell arm exercises per circuit)
  • Repetition Based (perform each strength exercise for 10-12 reps)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets

Workout Outline

CIRCUIT ONE: CHEST AND SHOULDERS

  1. Two-Count Push Ups
  2. Two Push Ups and Four Kneeling Neutral Shoulder Press
  3. Goal Post Chest Tap and Alternating Shoulder Press

CIRCUIT TWO: BACK AND TRICEPS

  1. Narrow Back Row and Tricep Kickback
  2. Single Arm Row
  3. Lying Overhead Pull and Tricep Extension

CIRCUIT THREE: BICEPS

  1. Two-Count Bicep Curls
  2. Alternating Half Bicep Curls
  3. Hammer Curl and Neutral Shoulder Press and Overhead Tricep Extension

CIRCUIT FOUR: TOTAL UPPER BODY  

  1. Gorilla Pulls
  2. Dumbbell Chest Fly
  3. Dumbbell Man Maker

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Arm Workout

12 Best Dumbbell Arm Exercises

Two-Count Push Ups

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and core muscles.

pregnant woman performing a 2-count push up with wrists supported on dumbbells in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Two-Count Push Up

  1. Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly, feet hip-width apart. Option to place your hands on weights if you have wrist pain.
  2. Hold this plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. In this variation, you’re going to perform a slow push up. Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground on a two-count as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides).
  4. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position on a two-count.

Modification: Substitute incline push-ups by placing your hands on a chair or bench; or drop to your knees for modified push ups.

Two Push Ups And Four Kneeling Neutral Shoulder Press

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, rear delts, upper back, abs and core muscles.

pregnant woman performing a 2 push ups and 4 kneeling neutral shoulder presses in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do Two Push Ups And Four Kneeling Neutral Shoulder Press

  1. Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Option to place your hands on weights if you have wrist pain.
  2. Hold this plank position and slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides).
  3. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position. Repeat to perform a second push up.
  4. Following the second push up, sit back on your heels with your toes tucked under. Then, bring the dumbbells to shoulder height, palms facing in towards each other (neutral grip).
  5. Push the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended. Think of peeking your head through your arms as you straighten your arms.
  6. Lower the weights down to the starting position at shoulder level and repeat for four overhead shoulder presses.

Modification: Substitute incline push-ups by placing your hands on a chair or bench; or drop to your knees for modified push ups. Option to drop to one dumbbell when performing the overhead press.

Goal Post Chest Tap And Alternating Shoulder Press

Targets: Chest (pecs) and both the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid.

pregnant woman performing a goal post chest tap and alternating shoulder press in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Goal Post Chest Tap And Alternating Shoulder Press

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows in line with your shoulders and palms facing out with arms bent at 90 degrees (like goal posts). Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders, rather than letting them drop down.
  2. Pull the arms in so palms are facing in towards each other (neutral grip). Keep the arms bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Reverse the movement by pulling the arms out to return to the starting, goal post position.
  4. Then, perform an overhead shoulder press on the right arm by pressing the dumbbell in your right hand overhead until the arm is fully extended.
  5. Lower the dumbbell in the right hand back to shoulder level. That’s one rep. Repeat the goal post chest tap, performing the overhead shoulder press on the left arm during the next rep.

Narrow Back Row And Tricep Kickback

Targets: Mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats) and triceps.

pregnant woman performing a bent over back row and tricep kickback in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Narrow Back Row And Tricep Kickback

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
  3. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line, neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine. 
  4. Pull the weights back towards your hips, elbows high to the sky. Feel your shoulder blades squeeze together.
  5. At the top of the back row, ‘kickback,’ extending the elbows so both arms form a straight line as you push the dumbbell back past your hips.
  6. With control, slowly reverse the movement as you bring the dumbbell back to your hip.
  7. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a one-count, down slow and controlled on a two-count.

Single Arm Back Row

Targets: Mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats; the largest back muscle known for its large, flat “V” shape).

Bonus: Unilateral exercises (single-sided exercises) also work the abs and core.

pregnant woman performing a single arm back row in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Single Arm Back Row

  1. Take a staggered-stance — left foot forward, right foot back.
  2. Start with the dumbbell in your right hand. 
  3. Hinge at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor (neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button and rib cage pulled in). 
  4. Hold this staggered position while performing a single arm row on the right side. Pull your elbow up towards the ceiling while squeezing your back.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a one-count, down slow and controlled on a two-count.

Lying Overhead Pull And Triceps Extension

Targets: Mainly the triceps, lats (latissimus dorsi) and pecs (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor) while also targeting the core and abs for stability.

pregnant woman performing a lying overhead pull and tricep extension in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Lying Overhead Pull And Triceps Extension

  1. Lying on your back, with legs bent at 90 degrees, hold one or two dumbbells in your hands with arms extended overhead.
  2. Maintaining straight arms, with a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells overhead towards the ground. Try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground.
  3. Then pull the dumbbells back overhead, engaging the lats, to return back to the starting position.
  4. Then perform a lying tricep extension (dumbbell skull crusher) by bending at the elbows to slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head (just bending at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells towards your temples).
  5. Then press the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.

Two-Count Bicep Curls

Targets: The long (outer) head of the biceps, and the short (inner) head of the biceps.

pregnant woman performing a 2-count bicep curl in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Two-Count Bicep Curl

  1. Start with feet under hips and keep your core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, and shoulders out of your ears with shoulder blades pulled down, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height on a two-count as you exhale.
  3. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your sides on a two-count. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Alternating Half Bicep Curls

Targets: Increased time under tension strengthens the biceps muscle and increase biceps hypertrophy (muscle growth).

pregnant woman performing alternating half bicep curls in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do Alternating Half Bicep Curls

  1. Start with feet under hips and keep your core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, perform a half bicep curl. Pause at the top to hold both arms at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Then, alternate by lowering the right arm through your full range of motion. Then return to the half curl isometric hold as you lower the left arm full-range before returning to a half curl isometric hold.
  4. Squeeze or flex your bicep muscle to curl the weight back to 90 degrees with each rep.

Note, with isometric holds the shoulders tend to creep up into the ears. It’s important to keep the shoulder blades pulled down. 

Hammer Curl And Neutral Press And Overhead Triceps

Targets: Biceps, shoulders, triceps, rear delts, upper back muscles and core.

pregnant woman performing hammer curl and neutral overhead press and overhead triceps in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Hammer Curl And Neutral Press And Overhead Triceps

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width distance apart, slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in towards each other (hammer curl).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, perform a hammer curl, squeezing your bicep muscles to curl the weights up to shoulder-height as you exhale.
  3. Then push the dumbbells overhead until arms are fully extended, biceps by ears. This is a neutral overhead press.
  4. Then, bring the dumbbells together to perform an overhead tricep extension. Hold the 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).
  6. At the top of the tricep extension, separate the dumbbells and return to shoulder height with control, then slowly lower the weights back to your sides.

Gorilla Pulls

Targets: Mainly the upper back muscles — the trapezoid, rhomboid and rear deltoid muscles.

pregnant woman performing gorilla pulls in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Gorilla Pull

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells using an overhand grip, palms facing towards the body. Arms should criss-cross in front of you; hands are parallel with the right hand in front of the left hand.
  3. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line.
  4. Pull your elbows wide towards the ceiling, aiming for your elbows to line up with the bottom of your sports bra. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position and criss-cross the position of your hands. This time left hand is in front of right hand.

Chest Fly

Targets: Chest muscles, both the larger pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor.

pregnant woman performing a chest fly in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A 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 above your shoulders, palms facing in towards each other. Feet flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale as you 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 (slight bend in the elbows).
  3. Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to starting position, squeeze your chest muscles together. Keeping your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent.

Man Maker (Push Up 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.

pregnant woman performing a man maker in a dumbbell arm workout

How To Do A Dumbbell Man Maker

  1. Start in a high plank position, each hand on one dumbbell, shoulders over wrists.
  2. Perform a push up by slowly lowering your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides).
  3. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position.
  4. Then, alternate rowing each dumbbell up towards your hips.
  5. Then jump or step into a low squat position. Holding your low squat, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  6. 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 push ups and rows from your knees.

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