7 workout exercises using dumbbells for a stronger and leaner upper body!
I am convinced that there are only two types of people in this world: those who LOVE to work out their upper body and those who would rather have noodles as arms than food.
But here’s the truth, whether you fit into the category of loving it or hating it, we should all include working out our upper body into our fitness routine!
If we only worked out one part of our body, then we would be disproportionate and put ourselves at risk for injury or bad posture (which we do not want).
By now, you are probably wondering how to build upper body strength at home with limited space and equipment.
Fear not, friend. This killer 30-minute upper body workout at home will help you do just that!
Alright, for this upper body workout, you will need 3 things:
A set of dumbbells
Yoga mat (or towel) to lay on
and… yourself! 😉
As for the weights, try to find a pair that is neither too light nor too heavy. You want to pick weights that will challenge you instead!
If you don’t have a set of dumbbells at home, you can always opt for household items as your weights!
Things such as canned food or heavy bottles can be used as an alternative and are at a low cost (what a steal)!
But enough of this, let’s get into the full upper body workout at home routine!
The Upper Body Workout
For this upper body workout at home, you will have 7 workout exercises.
Most of the exercises are beginner-friendly, but you can always modify them to make it harder or more challenging.
Here is the list of exercises you will be doing for these dumbbell exercises at home:
Tricep Extension Into Overhead Press
Plank Single-Arm Rows
Chest Press Into Chest Fly
Bicep Curl Into Bent Over Row
Alternating Front and Side Raise
Plank Dumbbell Pass-Through
Side Lying Dumbbell Raise
You will also be doing 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each workout exercise!
Okay, let’s get into how to do each exercise in the 30-minute upper body workout at home!
#1 Tricep Extension Into Overhead Press
We have made it to the first exercise: a tricep extension into an overhead press!
Start by standing up straight and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge at the hips to slightly bend your upper body forward and bend your elbows.
Your palms should stay facing each other and keep your elbows tight against your ribs.
To do the tricep extension, extend the elbows until your arms are straight behind you.
Then, bring your hands back in and stand up straight while raising the dumbbells to your shoulders. Your palms should still be facing each other as well!
For the overhead press, use your shoulders to press the dumbbells up to the sky. Make sure to not move your body while doing this!
Many people tend to use their lower back while attempting this exercise. Because this is not an easy workout, it is important to squeeze your abs at all times during this combination!
Your ab muscles will help in stabilizing your whole body from moving.
#2 Plank Single-Arm Rows
For this upper body exercise at home, start in a high plank position. Instead of placing your hands directly on the floor, hold the dumbbells in your hands.
A very common mistake people have with a plank is raising their hips.
To avoid this, make sure your hands (or dumbbells in this case) are directly under your shoulders and keep the rest of your body as straight and flat as possible! Keep your head in line with your spine as well.
Now for the single-arm row! Bring the arm backward while bending the elbow. Keep your arm close to your side and squeeze the back muscles to guide your arm backward.
The key to this upper body workout is to avoid rotating your hips!
When you start to rotate the hips, you don’t use your back muscles anymore. You begin to rely on your hip and core muscles, which are not the target muscles for this workout.
#3 Chest Press Into Chest Fly
For most females, working out the chest is often looked over. I know this because I am guilty of this!
However, if we only work out our back and lower body muscles, we will start to develop bad posture and risk muscular imbalance, or even injury.
So, I’m going to throw in a chest exercise (sorry in advance for all the women out there that hate working out chest haha).
Okay, for this exercise, start laying down flat on your back with your knees bent and holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Your palms should be facing each other while your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.
To do the chest press, use your chest muscles to press the dumbbells straight up to the sky.
From this position, you will slowly lower your dumbbells to the floor, keeping your arms in a rounded position.
Stop once the back of your upper arms touch or graze the floor.
Then, you will lift the dumbbells back slowly and perform this upper body workout at home again!
#4 Bicep Curl Into Bent Over Row
Alright, we are more than halfway through the workout! Pat yourself on the back for this one.
This next upper body workout will work your biceps and back muscles.
To start the bicep curl, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly to give you a stronger base and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Your arms should be fully extended with your palms facing directly in front of you.
Now, you will slowly curl the dumbbell by bending the elbow and keeping that elbow tight against your ribs.
Don’t finish curling until you reach the top!
Then, you will slowly curl the dumbbell down back to the starting position.
Once you reach this position, you will rotate your wrists so your palms face inward, while hinging at the hips to bend your upper body forward.
Keep your back straight and palms next to the outer part of your thighs/knees.
Then, you will do a bent-over row! To do this, bring the elbows back and squeeze your back muscles.
Do not lift your elbows further than shoulder height! If you find that you can go further, this could mean your weights are too light.
Instead, try to switch out your weights for heavier ones!
#5 Alternating Front and Side Raise
Alright, we have reached one of the toughest exercises of the upper body workout. For this reason, you can always start by using no weights or do the workout with bands instead!
Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hold one dumbbell directly on your side with your palm facing your thigh.
With the other hand, rotate the palm to face the top of your quadricep and bring it to the front of your body like so!
Next, you will raise both arms straight to the front and to the side in an “L” shape. Squeeze your core tight and remember to breathe!
Although this is predominately a shoulder exercise, your abs play a big role in helping you lift the heavy weights as well as keeping the rest of your body still.
You will then lower the dumbbells slowly and perform the exercise on the opposite side!
#6 Plank Dumbbell Pass-Through
For this next exercise in the upper body workout at home, you will only need one dumbbell!
Hold the dumbbell in one hand with the other hand pressed to the floor.
Keep the body as straight as possible with your wrists directly under your shoulders.
You will then “roll” the dumbbell to your other hand, as shown in the pictures below, while still in the high plank position!
The biggest thing to avoid in this exercise is using your hips. It might feel easier to rotate your hips as you roll the dumbbell, however, this will defeat the purpose of the workout.
So try to keep the whole body as still as possible as you roll the dumbbell from side to side!
#7 Side Lying Dumbbell Raise
Welcome to the final workout exercise! Think about that yummy protein shake you will have after this to get you through this last workout 😉
So just like the alternating front and side raise, this is another hard exercise. You can also opt to use no weights or try it with resistance bands first to gain enough strength to do it with weights!
You will also only need one dumbbell for this upper body workout!
Start by lying on your side with the bottom arm holding your head for support.
Extend the other hand with the dumbbell straight out in front of you.
Then, lift the dumbbell straight up to the sky. Try to keep your arm as straight as possible. This is also working out your chest muscles!
Final Thoughts on Upper Body Workout At Home
Hey, congrats for making it to the end of the upper body workout! You deserve a pat on the back for this one.
If you would like to see more workouts, you can check out any of the articles down below! All of these range from HIIT, dumbbell workouts at home for beginners, bodyweight exercises, and even a workout using towels!
I can’t wait for you to try these workouts! Talk soon, friend!