These instructions are for an upper body dumbbell workout. Each exercise will give you a step by step of how to perform each move with an image showing how the particular exercise is done.
These will work the upper body muscles including the biceps, triceps, pectorals (chest), the shoulders and to some extent some back muscles.
When using dumbbell weights you want to have multiple weights available. This way you can use the heavier weights for the larger muscles like the biceps and a lighter weight for the less used muscles like the triceps.
There are two exercises for each of the major muscles in this part of the body. You can do them in the order shown below, or pick and choose the ones you want to include in your routine. As with any exercise, make sure to do it correctly in order to minimize risk of injury and to properly strengthen the muscles.
To view the instructions these upper body dumbbell workouts, use the links below or simply scroll down the page. If you are looking for just the upper back area, check out this page..
To strengthen the muscles in the body, you need to provide resistance while doing the exercise. You can do this by using your own body weight, with resistance bands, weight lifting or using dumbbell weights. Dumbbell weights are an easy way to provide varying levels of resistance by using different weighted dumbbells.
They can easily be used at home or in the gym. You don't have to spend lots of money to get started with dumbbells. While there are limitations on how much weight you can have with dumbbells, they are a great way to start any strength training routine.
As you build and tone your muscles, you may have to move up on the weights or begin to use free weights and a weight bench to add additional resistance. However, if you are just looking to continue toning your body, the dumbbells will do the trick.
This upper body dumbbell workout will really isolate the bicep muscles and is the primary muscle strengthened with this move. This large muscle is located in the upper front part of the arm between the shoulder and elbow.
Make sure to use a weight that is proper for your fitness level. This is a larger muscle, so try using a heavier dumbbell for this workout.
If you are just starting out, try fewer reps to start with and then work up to more repetitions. Be sure to breathe in and out as you do this exercise.
The dumbbell hammer curl is very similar to the bicep curl. In this move, you will hold the weight slightly different than the typical bicep exercise. By holding the weight differently, you are focusing the strength training in other parts of the muscles.
With a hammer curl, you are still strengthening the bicep muscle, but to a lesser extent. Instead, the brachialis muscle is more of the focus with this move. This muscle runs along the outside of your upper arm. While this is the primary muscle targeted with this curl, it's not the only one that will be strengthened. Additional muscles engaged and used with this move include the biceps, shoulders and the trapezoids.
As the name suggests, this upper body dumbbell workout will strengthen the tricep muscles. The tricep brachii muscle, Latin for three-headed muscle, is the large muscle in the back of your upper arm. The primary purpose of this muscle is to facilitate the extension of the elbow. In other words, straightening your arm.
The opposing muscle is the biceps which are located in the front of the upper arm. It's always a good idea to exercise the opposing muscles in the same workout to really strengthen that area of the body.
The tricep muscle is one of the most under used muscles. So use your lighter weights to start out for this part of your upper body dumbbell workout. Use the steps below to do this move correctly.
Note: You can do this exercise with just one arm at a time or as explained above. If you want to do this with just one arm at a time, just use one hand to grip the weight and place your arm straight up with your elbow by your ear.
Remember the tricep is an under used muscle, so if you are just starting out, don't over do it the first day of you workout.
While the bicep is the muscle many like to flex and show off, the triceps actually make up two thirds of the upper arm. This particular exercise will only target these muscles. There are no additional stabilizers or extensors used while doing this move.
Since the tricep is a smaller muscle in comparison to many others, you may want to use a lighter weight. Use the steps below to do this exercise correctly.
You can also do this upper body dumbbell workout without a bench. Simply bend your body at the torso until your back is even with the floor. Keep your feet shoulder width apart.
The side lateral raise using dumbbells will really work and strengthen your shoulder muscles. The shoulder muscle is known as the deltoid named after the Greek letter delta (triangle) due to it's shape. This upper body dumbbell workout is an isolation move that focuses on the deltoids, primarily the lateral shoulder fiber. An isolation exercise, versus a compound exercise, will primarily strengthen the focused muscle.
Below are the step by step instructions along with an illustration of this workout to ensure you are stengthening this muscle correctly.
Since this exercise only targets the shoulder, for a complete upper body strengthening routine you want toinclude other dumbbell exercises for the upper body.
The dumbbell shoulder press will target the deltoids, which are the muscles in the shoulder. Unlike the side lateral, this will strengthen more muscles in one move. The primary focus is the anterior deltoid, or the front of the shoulder.
It will also strengthen the remaining deltoid muscles which are the lateral (middle) and the posterior or back of the shoulder. Additional primary muscles used in this workout include the triceps. These muscles assist in the pressing motion.
Use the steps below and the illustrations to do this move correctly. Doing an exercise properly ensures that you strengthen and tone the muscles while minimizing injury.
If you prefer, you can sit on a workout bench that has a back, and do this upper body dumbbell workout while sitting down.
As the name of this exercise suggests, the chest is the primary target for this move. The chest, known as the pectoralis muscle, is the broad muscle that covers your chest. There is the major and minor pectorals in this part of the upper body. Both of these are used during this workout.
While the most common position for this move is lying flat on an exercise bench, you can use an incline, decline or even an exercise ball. The instructions below are for a flat bench. If you use an incline or decline, the steps are exactly the same, your body is just at a different angle.
Tip: When you are done, be sure you don't just drop the weights as this can cause injury to the shoulders. Instead, return the weights by using your thighs to guide them as you come back to a sitting position.
The dumbbell fly is the last of the upper body dumbbell workout exercise in this instructional series. This is another great move for building strength in the chest muscles.
Both the pectoralis major and minor are used during this workout. In addition to the pecs, the deltoids are strengthened with this workout. In addition to the pecs, the deltoids are strengthened during this exercise. The deltoids are the muscles in your shoulders.
Tip: If you don't have an exercise bench, you can modify this and do it standing up. When doing this standing up, be sure to keep your arms approximately shoulder high.
Find out the pros and cons of using dumbbells for your strength training routine.
Resistance Band Exercises
If you don't have dumbbells handy, try using resistance bands instead. Check out the benefits of resistance band exercises.
Upper Body Stretches
After giving your upper body a great workout, stretch out those muscles with these upper body stretches.