You can do various arm exercises with just one dumbbell to build solid biceps, triceps, and forearms.
Developing bigger and defined arms is the ultimate goal of many fitness enthusiasts because they want to look attractive in any attire, whether they wear tees, shirts, suits, or vests.
Building sizeable triceps, biceps, and forearms is easy for people who train at the gym. However, if you work out at home with limited equipment like a dumbbell or resistance band, rest assured because you can also smoke your arms gain.
In this article, I’ve shared as many as fourteen exercises that you can do to strengthen and tone arm muscles with only one dumbbell.
A dumbbell is easy to hold, provides a great range of motion, and allows you to perform various unilateral exercises to sculpt your upper and lower guns.
Training your arms with one dumbbell also enables you to work more on your weaker side. This is great for people who want to improve muscle imbalance and muscular symmetry.
Okay, so let’s uncover all the exercises one by one.
Single-arm Dumbbell Exercises to Sculpt Your Biceps and Forearms
- Standing Biceps Curl
- Zottoman Curl
- Dumbbell Reverse Curl
- Hammer Curl
- Crossover Curl
- Seated Bicep Curl
- Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Concentration Curl
- One-arm Spider Curl
- Dumbbell Wrist Curl
- Wrist Extension
1. One arm Dumbbell Biceps Curl
This exercise isolates the biceps and helps build burly arms.
To perform this exercise:
- Assume a shoulder-width stance, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with an underhand grip.
- Curl your arm toward your shoulder until your biceps are engaged.
- Pause, and then lower the weight. There’s your first rep.
2. Single-arm Zottoman Curl
The Zottoman curl works on the biceps and forearms simultaneously and helps you develop bigger arms.
It also improves your grip strength, which is crucial in various compound lifts, such as bench presses, deadlifts, and overhead presses.
Steps to perform a Zottoman curl:
- Holding a dumbbell with an underhand grip, stand upright with your feet together.
- Keep your arm straight at your side with your palm facing away.
- Flex your arm toward your shoulder until your bicep is entirely straight.
- Twist your wrist so the palm is facing forward.
- Uncurl your arm again, twist your wrist, and go for the next repetitions.
- Repeat for the desired number of times, equally on both sides.
3. Unilatel Reverse Curl
The reverse dumbbell curls hit the biceps brachii from a different angle and help you develop sturdy arms.
Steps to do a dumbbell reverse curl:
- Holding a dumbbell with an overhand grip, stand upright with your arms straight at your sides.
- Curl your arm until you feel the contraction in your bicep muscles.
- Pause at the top, then extend your elbows to complete the first rep.
4. One-arm Dumbbell Hammer Curl
The hammer curl is also known as a neutral grip bicep curl. It works on the long head of the bicep and the brachialis (a muscle located below and underneath your biceps muscles) and helps build burly arms.
Steps to perform a one-arm hammer curl:
- Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip and stand upright with your feet together.
- Flex your arm until you feel the full contraction in your two-headed muscle.
- After a brief pause, return to the start and repeat as many times as possible.
- Make sure to allow only your lower arms to flex without letting your elbow move away.
5. One Dumbbell Crossover Curl
The crossover curl is a great dumbbell curl variation that works the short and long head and helps you build rounded biceps.
Steps to perform a crossover curl:
- Grab a dumbbell with an underhand grip and stand straight.
- Curl your arm toward the opposite shoulder to feel the contraction.
- Pause and then extend your arm until it is straight.
- Repeat as many times as possible, then switch to the opposite side.
6. Seated Arm Twisted Bicep Curl
If you want to lift more weight without putting stress on your lower back, you can do a seated dumbbell curl. The seated bicep curl is an easy but effective exercise that people of all fitness can use to build good-looking biceps.
Here are the steps to do it:
- Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and sit on the edge of a bench.
- Keep your arm straight with your palm facing away, as well as maintain an upright torso.
- Flex your arm and slightly rotate your wrist so that your palm faces your shoulder at the end.
- Hold for a second, then slowly lower it down. That’s one rep!
7. Incline Dumbbell Curl
The incline bicep curl is one of the best arm exercises you can do with one dumbbell. It provides a decent stretch to biceps brachii and improves biceps strength, and including it in your arms workout routine may produce better results.1 Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii EMG in different dumbbell curls – Journal of Sports Science and Medicine2
Steps to perform an incline bicep curl:
- Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, lay down on your back on a 45-60 degree incline bench.
- Curl your arm toward your shoulder until you feel the full contraction in your biceps muscles.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top, pause for a second, then uncurl your arm.
8. Dumbbell Concentration Curl
The concentration curl produces higher biceps muscle contraction among several exercises because it requires you to keep your focus on the curl throughout the exercise, creating a muscle-mind connection.3 ACE Study Reveals Best Biceps Exercises – American Council of Exercise (ACE)4
It is not only supper effective for biceps growth but also easy to perform.
Steps to do a concentration curl:
- Grab a dumbbell with your right hand with an underhand grip. Sit on the corner of a bench and place both your feet firmly on the ground.
- Slightly lean forward, place your elbow on the inner part of your right thigh and put your other hand on the left knee for support. That’s the starting position.
- Curl your right arm until you feel a full contraction in your biceps muscles. Make sure your elbows stay on the thigh.
- Hold for a second at the top and then slowly lower it down. That’s one rep!
- Keep your head down and your eyes on your biceps throughout the workout.
- Do it slowly and allow your muscles to engage and activate.
9. One-arm Spider Curl
The spider curl isolates biceps muscles without putting excess stress on the shoulder joints, which makes it an incredible exercise for people with shoulder mobility issues.
Steps to do a prone biceps curl:
- Lie prone (face down) on a 30-degree incline bench.
- Grab a dumbbell with an underhand grip and let your arm hang below your shoulder.
- Flex your arm until your biceps are entirely engaged.
- Hold for a second, then slowly lower it down. That’s one rep!
- Keep your head down and focus on the lifting throughout the workout.
10. Dumbbell Wrist Curl
If you want to build burly arms, you can’t skip forearm exercises. Strong forearms improve your overall arm strength and muscle definition and minimize the risk of injuries. And to reinforce your forearms, the basic exercise you can do is a wrist curl.
The wrist curl is an isolation exercise that primarily strengthens and tones lower arms and increases wrist mobility.
Here are the steps to perform a single-arm wrist curl:
- Sit on your knees, holding a dumbbell with an underhand grip. Place your forearm on a flat bench with your palm facing up. This is your starting position.
- Curl your wrist as high as you can while keeping your arms still.
- Squeeze your biceps for a moment and then lower it down.
11. Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl
You can also perform a dumbbell wrist extension to strike your forearms in a different way.
Here are the steps to perform wrist extension:
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, sit on the corner of a bench and keep your feet flat on the ground.
- Put your wrists on your knees with your palms facing down.
- Curl your wrist as high as you can without moving your arms.
- Hold for a second when your hands reach the top, and then slowly return to the down position.
One-arm Dumbbell Exercises to Build Chiseled Triceps
- Single-arm Overhead Tricep Extension
- Lying Triceps Extension
- Dumbbell Kickback
1. Single-arm Overhead Tricep Extension
If you want to strengthen one tricep at a time, you can try a single-arm overhead extension with one dumbbell. It isolates the triceps long and lateral heads and helps improve upper arm muscle appearance.
Steps to do a one-arm triceps extension:
- Stand upright in the hip-width stance and hold a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip.
- Extend your arms overhead until your arms are fully straight and your palm facing forward.
- Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weight towards your opposite shoulder, making sure you feel tension through your triceps.
- Hold for a second, and then slowly extend your arms overhead. That’s one rep!
- Make sure to squeeze your triceps muscles at the top of the extension.
- Keep your elbow steady, and do not allow it to flare to the sides.
2. Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
Performing lying tricep extension on a bench produces better muscle contraction than doing it on the floor. So, if you have a gym bench at home, whether flat or flexible, you must try it.
Steps to perform a one-arm skull crusher:
- Holding a dumbbell in either of your hands with a hammer grip, lie on the bench with your face up.
- Bend your arm above your shoulder with your elbow pointing forward.
- Keeping your elbows locked, slowly extend your arm until you feel the full triceps contraction.
- Pause for a second, then return to the start. That’s one rep.
3. Dumbbell Kickback
The tricep kickback is an isolation workout that stimulates tricep muscles and helps you build strong and muscular arms with a single dumbbell.
Steps to perform tricep kickback:
- Place one knee and one hand on the bench and slightly lean forward.
- Put your other leg slightly back and to the side of that bench with your feet firmly on the ground, and make sure your torso is parallel to the ground.
- Grab a dumbbell with your other hand with an overhand grip and position your elbow at your side in a way that your upper arm should be parallel to the ground.
- Now, kick your arm behind you by contracting the triceps. Hold for a second and then slowly return the weight to the starting position. That’s one rep!
Additional Exercise Tips:
- Make sure your arm is almost locked as you bring it back.
- Focus on your triceps muscles while raising the dumbbells.
- Make sure to extend your elbow all the way at the top of the movement.
- Avoid using heavier weights and do it in a controlled motion.
30-Minute One Dumbbell Arm Workout Routine to Build Muscle
This program involves performing two exercises each for the biceps and triceps and one exercise for the forearms. You can train your arms on alternate days to make them strong and chiseled.
- Sessions/week: Three
- Duration/session: 20-30 minutes
- Equipment Needed: Just One Dumbbell
- Sets x Reps: Aim for three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
- Rest Time Between Sets: Keep the rest time as short as possible.
|1-arm Tricep Extension||One-arm Spider Curl||1-arm Tricep Extension|
|Dumbbell Kickback||Incline Dumbbell Curl||Dumbbell Kickback|
|Concentration Curl||Lying Triceps Extension||Seated Twisted Curl|
|Hammer Curl||Dumbbell Kickback||Hammer Curl|
|Wrist Extension||Wrist Curl||Wrist Extension|