Dreaming of trim triceps, sleek shoulders and toned biceps? This dumbbell arm workout will carve those strong arms you’re aiming for…

Want to improve the definition and strength in your shoulders, biceps and triceps? You’ve come to the right place. ‘The variation of exercises in this workout will improve your upper body strength and eradicate those typically stubborn-to-target areas such as the back of the arms,’ says personal trainer Alex Petitt-Ward, head coach at Sweat Society.

Want to work your whole body? Check out our full-body dumbbell workout for women

How to do this dumbbell arm workout:

If it’s muscle and definition you’re after, Petitt-Ward recommends you aim for between 10 and 15 reps, and you should be working at an 8-out-of-10 difficulty level. This means that the exercise will not be easy at all by the time you reach the higher rep count. For every exercise, aim to keep your form strong and consistent. When you tire, you’re more likely to rush through movements, perhaps swinging and using momentum to complete the exercise. In order to avoid this, your core should be engaged at all times. Capiche?

Short on time? Try this 10 minute full body dumbbell workout

Dumbbell Arm Workout

Perform 10-15 reps for each exercise.

  1. Standing shoulder press with neutral grip
  2. Lateral shoulder raise
  3. Half-kneeling single-arm shoulder press
  4. Standing dumbbell curl
  5. Standing dumbbell triceps extension
  6. Dumbbell hammer curl
  7. Laying dumbbell skullcrusher

Keep reading for full workout instructions.

standing shoulder press demonstration woman demonstrates standing shoulder press in dumbbell arm workout

1. Standing shoulder press with neutral grip

Works your shoulders and triceps

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height, with a neutral grip (palms facing inwards; A).
  • Brace your core, squeeze your glutes and take a deep breath in as you drive the dumbbells to the sky. Aim to press them up until your arms are fully extended (B).
  • Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height in a controlled manner and repeat.
lateral shoulder raise demonstration woman demonstrates lateral shoulder raise in dumbbell arm workout

2. Lateral shoulder raise

Works the lateral (outside) part of the shoulders

  • Stand tall with the dumbbells at your sides and palms facing inwards, then lean your torso forward slightly (A).
  • With a slightly bent elbow and your core engaged, raise the dumbbells out to shoulder height (B).
  • At the top point of this movement, the dumbbells should be slightly in front of your torso. Return to start and repeat.
woman demonstrates kneeling shoulder press with dumbbell kneeling dumbbell arm shoulder press workout

3. Half-kneeling single-arm shoulder press

Works shoulders and core, and increases stability in the hips

  • Start in a split kneeling position on one knee. Make sure that your front foot is planted and stable, and engage your core.
  • Raise a dumbbell up to shoulder height, using the opposite hand to whichever foot is forward in the stance position. Put the opposite arm out to one side to stabilise the position (A).
  • From here, with your palm facing inwards, squeeze your glutes and core, then drive the dumbbell up until your arm is fully extended (B). Lower the dumbbell back to shoulder height and repeat.
woman demonstrates standing dumbbell curl in arm workout standing dumbbell curl

4. Standing dumbbell curl

Works the biceps

  • Stand upright holding two dumbbells at your sides with palms facing forwards (A).
  • Engage your core and curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders (B). Imagine trying to squeeze a piece of fruit between your forearm and biceps.
  • Slowly return the weights down towards the starting position in a controlled manner, then repeat.
woman demonstrates standing dumbbell triceps extension in arm workout standing dumbbell triceps extension

5. Standing dumbbell triceps extension

Works the triceps

  • Stand and bring one dumbbell overhead by holding it in both hands, palms facing up (A)
  • From this position, let the dumbbell slowly come down behind your head until you feel the stretch in the back of the arms (B).
  • When the triceps are stretched, lift the dumbbell back up to the top until your arms are fully extended. Lower, then repeat.

You might also like this 30-minute dumbbell workout

dumbbell hammer curl dumbbell hammer curl arm workout demonstration

6. Dumbbell hammer curl

Works the biceps

  • Standing tall, hold two dumbbells with your palms facing towards your body (A).
  • Keeping your core engaged and glutes squeezed, raise the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Imagine that you are trying to crush a piece of fruit between your forearms and biceps (B).
  • Slowly lower the weights to the start and then repeat.
woman demonstrates skull crusher in dumbbell arm workout laying dumbbell skull crusher

7. Laying dumbbell skullcrusher

Works the triceps

  • Lie down on your back with your feet planted on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in both hands, directly above your shoulders with your palms facing inwards (A).
  • Engage your core and flex your elbows, then slowly lower the dumbbell towards your head by bending both elbows (B).
  • Once the dumbbell is lowered towards your head and you can feel the stretch in the back of the arms, kick the dumbbell up towards the starting position until arms are fully extended, then repeat the movement.

Discover more workouts for women

Words: Alex Petitt-Ward | Model: Nicki Petitt-Ward | Photography: Eddie Macdonald | Clothing: WIT High Rise Soft Women’s 7/8 Leggings and Square Neck Women’s Bra, Under Armour HOVR trainers