dumbbell upper body workout for beginners

Looking for a dumbbell upper body workout for beginners? Try this simple yet effective workout featuring dumbbell exercises for arms and shoulders, plus the upper back!

When you’re new to exercise, keeping it simple is key. This strength-based dumbbell upper body workout for beginners is effective and simple. Perfect for a home OR gym workout!

Today I bring you a full upper body workout routine that can be done with just a pair of dumbbells and your body. If you’re searching for arm exercises with weights for beginners to add to your repertoire, look no further!

Arm Exercises With Weights For Flabby Arms

I have to admit, my own arms have been my biggest “problem area” since as long as I can remember. I’ve always been self-conscious about them, since they have been historically flabby and fat.

I don’t say that to exaggerate – whether I have been a size 6 at a healthy weight or a size 12 and a bit overweight, my arms have always caused problems. I can have jackets, shirts, and tanks that fit me great all over – but don’t fit in the arms. A lot of clothes that I would have loved to wear simply didn’t fit in the arms.

Genetically speaking, I think my arms are simply where I hold the most fat. What’s a girl to do?

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I’d rather be muscular than flabby!

In an effort to slim down my arms, I have been playing with a combination of dumbbell exercises to help me build upper body strength. (And lose fat, of course!) So if you’re a beginner asking, “What are the best exercises with dumbbells?” I hope this helps!

Arm Exercises With Dumbbells For Beginners

Anyway, I just got done publishing my 21-Day Postpartum Challenge, so I spent a lot of time taking pictures and writing exercise descriptions. I figured, why not take advantage of my new bank of exercises and pics with a workout in the form of a blog post? While most of these exercises are for arms, I’m calling this a dumbbell upper body workout for beginners because it also hits the upper back and shoulders. So let’s get to it.

Dumbbell Upper Body Workout For Beginners

You can perform these exercises in whatever quantity you like. However, if you’re a beginner and want to know what I’d do as a personal trainer, here it is:

  • Group exercises into sets of 2-4. This means that I choose three exercises to do consecutively.
  • Go through each exercise in a given set 8-12 times each, then repeat the entire set at least once, if not a third time.
  • Move onto the next set of 2-4 exercises.
How I’d Do This Dumbbell Upper Body Workout For Beginners

Set 1: Skull Crushers, Chest Flies, Pushups. Run through each exercises for 10 repetitions, then repeat the set for a total of 2-3 times.

Set 2: Tricep Extensions, Upright Row, Bent Over Row. 10 reps each, then repeat set for a total of 2-3 times.

Set 3: Tricep Kickback, Lateral Flies, Overhead Press, Bicep Curls. 10 reps each, then repeat set for a total of 2-3 times.

*Instructions for each exercise are below!

So, to keep it simple: Do 10 reps of each exercise in the set, then repeat the entire set for a total of 2-3 times!

SET 1: 

Skull Crushers

Begin in a lying position with dumbbells in each hand, with arms extended and dumbbells suspended slightly above your head. Bend at the elbows to lower dumbbells to your head carefully. Maintaining this angle, fully extend arms to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

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Chest Flies

Start with two dumbbells extended above your chest in a lying position. Palms are facing each other. Slowly lower dumbbells down to the floor to each side with a slight bend in your elbows. Return to starting position to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

dumbbell upper body workout for beginners   dumbbell upper body workout for beginners

Push Ups *Modified

Begin on your hands and knees. Walk out to pushup position with your knees remaining on the floor and back flat. Slowly lower your upper body to the floor by bending at the elbows. Depth determines difficulty, so a shallower bend at the elbows is easier. Push up to starting position to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

   

Set 2: 

Tricep Extensions

Begin in a neutral standing position with your core engaged. Holding one dumbbell with both hands, raise your hands overhead, elbows pointing forward. Keeping your elbows tight, lowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Be careful not to arch your back. Extend your arms to raised position to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

dumbbell upper body workout for beginners    

Upright Rows

Stand with one dumbbell resting in front each thigh. While keeping the dumbbells close to your body, lift dumbbells to your chest (by bending elbows). Lower dumbbells to starting position to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

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Bent Over Row

Begin with two dumbbells in front of your thighs in a standing position. Keeping your core engaged, hinge at the waist a small amount. Keep your elbows close to your core while extending your arms toward the floor. Maintaining this angle, bring your elbows back to your body to complete one rep.

arm exercises with weights for beginners     

Set 3: 

Tricep Kickback

Start with two dumbbells, palms facing each other and a slight bend at the waist. Bend elbows to lift upper arms parallel to your flat back. Without swinging, lift your dumbbells back to become fully extended. Keep your arms and wrists close to your body, aiming to use just the triceps (back of the upper arm). Return to start to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

       upper body dumbbell workout for beginners

Lateral Flies

Stand tall with a slight bend in the knees, slight hinge at the hips. and a dumbbell in each hand. Start with wrists just in front of your thighs with a slight bend in your elbows. Slowly lift arms until they are parallel with the floor. (Don’t bend your wrists.) Lower to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

arm exercises with weights for beginners    arm exercises with weights for beginners 

Overhead Press

*I’m sorry I don’t have a better pic for this one!

Start with one dumbbell in each hand. Extend the dumbbells to the ceiling. Lower the dumbbells to a 90 degree angle in the elbow (approximately). Fully extend arms to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

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Bicep Curls

Stand tall with a slight bend in the knees and a dumbbell in each hand. Start with wrists just in front of your thighs with a slight bend in your elbows. Slowly lift arms until they are fully bent at the elbow. (Don’t bend your wrists.) Lower to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times.

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Nice work on this upper body hand weight workout – and thanks for stopping by! If you’re looking for a strength-based workout program + clean eating challenge, check out my 21-Day Postpartum Challenge!

Click here to find me on Insta!

beginner flabby arm workout