12 Dumbbell Exercises For Strong


When you want to isolate specific muscle groups in the arms, using dumbbells is truly effective — get ready to feel the burn! Depending on your strength, grab at least two size weights ranging from five to 15 pounds so you can switch up the appropriate size dumbbells for each move.

Sumo Squat With Bicep Curls


Work your middle arms and your lower body at the same time.
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your arms straight and your palms facing away from you. Step your feet apart so there's about 20 inches between your heels. Point your toes out slightly.
  • When you're ready, bend your knees and elbows at the same time. Keep your shoulders over your hips, and lower down so your weight is back in your heels. Then straighten your legs and arms. This is one repetition.
  • Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Upright Row


This move will work the upper arms and shoulders.
  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart, and place a dumbbell in each hand. Your closed palms should be facing your body. The shoulders should be over your pelvis, with knees slightly bent.
  • Keeping the dumbbells close to your body, raise them to your shoulders, bending your elbows out to the sides.
  • Slowly lower them to the starting position. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Overhead Triceps Extensions


Here's a move you probably know and love that'll target the backs of the arms.
  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
  • Hold one dumbbell (go for your heavier weight) with both hands, bending the elbows behind your head.
  • Straighten your arms to lift the dumbbell into the air, then slowly bend the arms to lower. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Bent-Over Row


Get ready to feel this in your upper back and triceps.
  • Lean forward and bend both knees, remembering to keep a flat back.
  • Extend your arms so they are straight. Lift the dumbbells straight up to chest level, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upward. Don't arch your back.
  • Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Bent-Over Reverse Fly


You'll feel this one in your shoulders and upper back.
  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with the knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hip joint.
  • Exhale and lift both arms to the side, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then, with control, lower the dumbbells back toward the ground. This completes one rep.
  • Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Bicep Curl and Overhead Press


This move works both the biceps and shoulders.
  • Stand with your feet directly under your hips, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out. Bend the elbows, bringing the weights to your shoulders, performing a bicep curl.
  • Stabilize your torso and keep your arms moving upward, straightening the arms above you, performing an overhead press with the palms facing out.
  • Bend the elbows coming back to the end of your bicep curl, then straighten the arms coming back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Single-Leg Scarecrow


Challenge your sense of balance while shaping the shoulders and upper back.
  • Stand on your left leg, and lift your right knee up until it is level with your hip. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms out to the side until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees.
  • Maintaining a strong sense of balance, rotate your upper arms forward to bring your fists to the floor; then rotate the upper arm backward to bring the fists up. Do not lower or raise your upper arms; keep them parallel to the floor. This completes one rep.
  • Do 10 reps, then switch legs lifting the left leg up, and stand on the right foot for another 10 reps to complete the set.
  • Complete another set.
Lateral Arm Raise


Here's a basic yet effective move to target the shoulders.
  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand so your palms face in toward the sides of your body.
  • Start with the right side first. With control, keep your arm straight (but don't lock that elbow) and as you inhale, raise your right hand up toward the ceiling. You want your palm to be facing down and your arm to be parallel to the floor. Then as you exhale, slowly lower your hand back to your body. You should be able to see your hand in your peripheral vision. Your arm won't be directly out to the side but slightly forward.
  • Do the same move with your left arm.
  • Then do both your right and left arms at the same time.
  • Continue these moves of right, left, together, right, left, together, for a total of two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Pilates Boxer


This move will target your entire arm, especially the triceps.
  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Bend your elbows behind you, keeping your upper arms even with your back.
  • Bend your knees to come into a half squat while creasing at your hips so your spine is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your spine neutral with the pelvis and head forming one long line.
  • As you exhale, simultaneously extend your right arm straight out in front of you and the left arm straight behind you. Rotate both wrists so your front palm is down and your back palm is up.
  • With control, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This completes one rep.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps on each arm, and repeat for two to three sets.
Reverse Lunge and Press


This shoulder-shaping move will also target the thighs and butt.
  • Stand with your feet together, holding the weights at your shoulders with your palms facing out.
  • Step your left foot back coming into a lunge, making 90-degree angles with your front and back knee.
  • Push off your left foot, bringing your left knee forward so it is even with your left hip, while raising your arms above your head. Do this motion with control.
  • Without touching the floor with your left foot, step back into the lunge to start your second rep.
  • To complete one set, do 10 to 12 reps, then switch legs.
  • Repeat for one or two more sets.
Skull Crushers


No more bat wings! Tone those triceps with this move.
  • Grab a set of dumbbells, and start by lying on your back with the knees bent.
  • With one dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
  • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your dumbbells so they are on either side of your head, elbows bent and pressing in toward your head.
  • Lift your arms back to starting position. This is one rep.
  • Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Lying Chest Fly



This move looks relaxing, but it'll give your chest a little lift.
  • Lie on your back with your hips and knees both at 90-degree angles. Using your low abs, press your lower back into the mat. Raise your arms toward the ceiling, palms facing each other, keeping the elbow joint slightly bent.
  • Keeping your torso stable, open your arms out to the sides until your elbows are about two inches from the floor.
  • Raise your arms back to the ceiling, bringing the weights together over your chest. This counts as one rep.
  • Perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.