10-Minute Upper Body Dumbbell Workout

10-minute Upper Body Workout using Dumbbells

Gahh it’s been forever since I’ve posted! Which is weird because I have been CRANKING out content over the last two weeks. Photographing and writing it, anyway. Publishing … not so much. The lighting in today’s video and workout pics is kinda brutal (rookie mistake) but you’re just going to deal with it OKAY??! 😉

Nothing too fancy about this workout, but foundational, basic exercises are important! This no-frills, 10-minute workout will target your upper body. Grab a set of dumbbells and give it a go!

10-Minute Upper Body Dumbbell Workout

Equipment I Used:

You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds, moving one exercise immediately to the next without rest. Once you’ve done all six exercises, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat a total of 3 times.

You’ll notice the progression of the circuit is biceps to shoulders to triceps (heavy on the biceps and shoulders).


Biceps Circle Curls | Start standing holding a weight in each hand, palms facing front. Make sure you have a soft bend in your knees and abs are engaged so that you have a supportive base. From this starting position, curl the weights up and over to the right in a circular shape. At the top of the contraction, weights will be up at your chest (12 o’clock if we’re thinking of the motion as hands on a clock. From there, slowly lower the weights down and over the left, ending back in your starting position. Every time your hands reach this point (6 o’clock), you’ll switch directions so that the next circular curl is up and over to the left, down and over to the right. Forearms should stay parallel to each other as you do this; elbows stay locked in tight by your bottom ribs.

*A consideration when choosing your weights: Bicep curls with the elbows braced by our sides are generally easier than those done with the elbows lifted in front of your body. Keep this in mind and maybe choose a set of weights a few pounds heavier than you’d normally use for bicep curls.

Hammer Curl | This is a bicep curl with the palms facing in towards each other the whole time. Start standing holding a weight in each hand, palms facing in. Make sure you have a soft bend in your knees and abs are engaged so that you have a supportive base. From this starting position, curl the weights up towards your shoulders and then release back down to your sides.

Hammer Curl to Press | Add on to the previous movement. Curl the weights up towards your shoulders and then press them overhead (shoulder press). Reverse the movement, lowering weights back to shoulder height and then down to starting position.

Arnold Press | This is a shoulder press where you fluidly circle your head with your forearms at the bottom. It’s easiest to start in the middle of the movement: elbows bent to 90 degrees out to your sides in goal post position. Shoulders should be down and back, not shrugged up towards your ears. From here, press the weights overhead and together. Lower them back down to 90-degree bends (elbows should be at armpit height, no lower) and as you do, close your forearms in front of your face, rotating the palms to face you. When weights tap together in front of your face and your forearms form the number 11, reverse the movement, opening up your arms to goal post as you rotate your palm outward and press the arms straight overhead.

If you’re doing these standing, make sure you have a soft micro-bend in your knees and core is engaged (think of gently tightening a corset). This will help prevent any undue stress on the low back.

Shoulder Press Ups | Imagine your forearms and elbows have magnets on them. Holding a weight in each hand, press the weights together and hold your forearms in front of you, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Fight to hold the elbows as close to each other as you can throughout the whole movement. From here, you’re going to press your hands straight up, lifting the elbows, keeping forearms close together (they form the number 11). Be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you do this. After pressing up as high as you can, slowly return back to starting.

If this is too heavy, just hold one weight as you do this.

Overhead Tricep Extension | Start with a dumbbell in each hand, arms overhead, palms facing in and dumbbells held together (press them into each other). From this starting position, bend the elbows as you lower your hands and weights behind your head. Contract the triceps to then extend the weights back up overhead to starting position. As you do this exercises, hold the upper arms in towards the side of your head; elbows shouldn’t bow out to the sides in a diamond shape. As with all standing arm exercises, keep a soft bend to your knees and the core engaged so that you have a supportive base.

If you need to modify, just hold one of the weights.


WEARING | Spiritual Gangster tank c/o Shopbop (sold out but this tank is similar) & Sweaty Betty Urdhva leggings (c/0)

BTW these Sweaty Betty leggings are reversible–I love them! Super soft, too. They have a high waist so are great for pairing with a crop top if you don’t want to show too much midsection. 🙂 sweaty-betty-leggings

I know it’s only Thursday but have a fun weekend! I’m off to Scottsdale for a wedding (’tis the season!).

Let me know in the comments if you try this workout!


(Visited 6,761 time, 4 visit today)


  1. Great workout. Love the workout outfit. So cute.

  2. 15minutestofit says:

    Perfect, needed a quick workout I can do this weekend in a hotel gym. Thanks!

  3. Love it! I really enjoyed the video, too. I’ve been slacking on my blog reading so this is the first of your videos I’ve seen.
    I’m getting my cardio in this afternoon with a run, so I’m going to add this on when I get home and give my neglected upper body some love!

  4. Nice upper body dumbbell workout. Just what I needed. Your workout gear is cute. Have fun at the wedding!

  5. Sara Chrobot says:

    Love simple dumbbell workouts!!!! I also LOVE videos! THANK YOU!

  6. Great post. Gonna try this workout tomorrow. Been trying to work my arm more, and thus coukd be the perfect workout for me.

Share Your Thoughts: