10 Best Dumbbell Exercises For Arms

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Toning your arms doesn’t require a gym full of equipment. All you need is a pair of dumbbells to create a killer arm workout. So here are the 10 best dumbbell exercises for arms that will deliver maximum results from your wrists to shoulders.

1. Bicep Curls

best dumbbell exercises for arms

Bicep curls are some of the simplest and most effective dumbbell exercises you can do. But the key point for sculpting your arms with this exercise is maintaining proper form. Instead of just trying to go as heavy as possible, focus on making the movement perfect.

If you find it difficult keeping your body straight and not swinging during the movement, try sitting down on a bench that has back support. You can also do bicep curls with either both arms at the same time or perform it by alternating arms.

How To Do It:

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip distance apart. Pull back the shoulders, squeeze your glutes and keep your body straight without leaning back or forward.
  2. Let the arms hang at your sides with the elbows close to your torso and the palms of your hands facing forward.
  3. Exhale and start curling the dumbbells. Raise them until they reach your shoulder level or until your biceps are fully contracted. During the movement, make sure to keep your upper arms, elbows and hips stationary.
  4. Inhale and slowly lower back to the start.

2. Bench Press

dumbbell bicep workout

The barbell bench press is a classic upper body exercise. It targets your chest muscles, shoulders and triceps. But if you’re ready to look beyond the barbell bench press, we recommend trying the dumbbell bench press, which also has its advantages.

Using dumbbells for bench press allows for greater range of motion. It also engages more the stabilizer muscles since the movement requires more stability in the shoulder.

How To Do It:

  1. Pick a dumbbell in each hand and lie down on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold the dumbbells to the sides of your shoulders with the palms facing your feet. The upper arm and forearm should be at about 90-degree angle. And the upper arm should also be perpendicular to your torso.
  2. Breathe out and press the dumbbells away from your chest until they lockout at the top directly over your shoulders.
  3. Breathe in and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

3. Overhead Press

upper body dumbbell workout

The overhead press works almost every muscle above your waist but really focuses on the anterior deltoid. You can do the exercise either with a barbell or with dumbbells. The barbell makes it easier to maintain stability throughout the exercise, while the dumbbells help to avoid any asymmetrical stability issues and ensure that each side of the body grows equally strong.

You can also do the overhead press in either a sitting or standing position. A seated overhead press helps to stabilize the back, while a standing one engages more muscles.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep the knees soft, the core engaged and the back straight.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders. Rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing forward. Point the elbows out.
  3. Exhale and press the dumbbells up over your head until your arms are straight.
  4. Inhale and return the dumbbells back to shoulder level.

4. Triceps Extension

arm exercises with dumbbells

The tricep extension is an isolation exercise for your triceps. It strengthens the 3 muscle parts, which include the lateral, medial and long heads of the triceps.

You can do it either standing or sitting down. You can also do it with just one dumbbell or with a dumbbell in each hand.

How To Do It:

  1. Grab one dumbbell with both hands and stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Throughout the movement of the exercise, keep your core braced and the glutes squeezed.
  2. Raise the dumbbell above your head until your arms are fully extended. The dumbbell should be resting in the palms of your hands, which, in turn, should be facing toward the ceiling.
  3. Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Keep your upper arms close to your head and don’t flare your elbows out too much.
  4. Once your elbows reach a 90-degree bend, breath out and return the weight back up to the starting position.

5. Hammer Curl

biceps workout at home with dumbbells

The hammer curl is another popular exercise for developing the biceps muscle. The movement is similar to the bicep curl but the difference is that it allows developing additional strength and size of the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing the body. Hold the weights at your sides.
  2. Contract your abdominal muscles and pull back your shoulder blades.
  3. Keep your upper arms stationary, exhale and lift the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Stop just short of touching them. At the top, pause and squeeze the biceps.
  4. Inhale and start lowering the weights in a controlled manner.

6. Wrist Curl

dumbbell tricep exercises

The dumbbell wrist curl is an isolation exercise for your wrist and forearm. The movement works the entire forearm muscle group, improving your overall arm appearance.

How To Do It:

  1. Grab two dumbbells with an underhand grip and sit down on a flat bench. Rest your forearms on the thighs so that the wrist hang just beyond the knees.
  2. Flex the wrists and curl the weights upward, while keeping the forearms stationary.
  3. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

7. Lateral Raise

dumbbell exercises for arms and shoulders

The lateral raises build stronger, larger shoulders. The lateral deltoids work as prime movers but in addition, it also works the synergistic and stabilizer muscles.

How To Do It:

  1. Pick two moderately light dumbbells and stand straight. Hold the weights at arm’s length by your sides with the palms facing each other. Keep the arms straight with just a slight bend in your elbows.
  2. Exhale and raise your arms to the sides until your arms are parallel to the floor, all the while maintaining a slightly bent elbow position.
  3.  Pause at the top and as you inhale, start lowering the dumbbells back to your sides.

8. Upright Row

dumbbell arm workout

The upright dumbbell row targets your upper back, shoulders and arms. The exercise also promotes unilateral muscle development and helps to avoid any movement imbalances.

How To Do It:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and let them rest in front of your thighs. Stand with a shoulder-width stance. Keep the back straight and the chest high.
  2. Exhale and lift the dumbbells up. Keep the weights close to your body and let the elbows lead out to the sides. Stop at about shoulder height.
  3. Inhale and slowly begin to lower the dumbbells.

9. Kneeling One Arm Row

bicep exercises with dumbbells

The main movers of the kneeling one arm row exercise are the latissiumus dorsi muscles, which run from underneath your arms all the way down to your lower back. But the movement also requires assistance from the biceps, rhomboids and the trapezius.

As you focus on one arm at a time, it allows you to really focus on the muscles targeted by this movement. It also prevents you from relying on just one side to do the work and thus prevents any imbalances.

How To Do It:

  1. You’ll need a weight bench or some other platform on which you can lean on during the exercise. You’ll also need two dumbbells, which you should place on each side of the bench.
  2. Put one of your legs on one end of the bench and place the same-side hand on the other end. Your torso should be bent forward so that your upper body is parallel to the floor. Keep the spine and head in a neutral position for the entire movement.
  3. Use your free hand to pick up the dumbbell with the palm facing inward and let it hang on your extended arm.
  4. Exhale and bring the weight up to your chest, while keeping your torso stationary. Raise it until your forearm is parallel to the floor.
  5. Inhale and lower the weight back down.

10. Triceps Kickback

arm workouts with weights

The tricep kickback is a dumbbell exercise movement that isolates your triceps, hammering all three heads of the muscle. In addition, it works other related muscle groups and at the same time, strengthens your core.

How To Do It:

  1. Start by standing straight with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing inward.
  2. Sit back into a slight squat and bend your torso forward so that your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. The arms should be bent at about a 90-degree angle with the weights brought to the sides of your chest.
  3. Keeping your back straight, the core contracted and the upper arms stationary, straighten your elbows and press the weights back past your hips.
  4. Slowly bring the weight back to the starting position.

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