The Best Upper Body Dumbbell Workout (with PDF)

When you have some pairs of dumbbells, you can do myriads of upper body workout. In this article, I’ve shared a complete guide on how you can do full upper body dumbbell workouts with and without a bench. It also comprised upper body dumbbell workout routine and PDF.

Dumbbells are great pieces of equipment that allow a greater range of motion and help you target each muscle individually.

There are more than 50 upper body dumbbell exercises you can do at home. However, doing all of them isn’t necessary.

This is why I’ve gathered the best 25 upper body dumbbell exercises that help you build strength and mass.

Dumbbell floor press, DB overhead press, dumbbell bicep curl, DB kickback are some of the examples of upper body workouts that we can perform without a bench.

You’ll see dumbbell upper body workout for Chest, Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Back, Core, and Wrist.

This is suitable for all fitness levels whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, male or female.

Dumbbell Upper Body Workout List

  1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
  2. Incline DB Bench Press
  3. Flat Dumbbell Fly
  4. Incline Dumbbell Fly
  5. Dumbbell Pullover
  6. DB Squeeze Press
  7. Dumbbell Floor Press
  8. Dumbbell Floor Pullover
  9. DB Floor Squeeze Press
  10. Floor Dumbbell Fly
  11. Standing Dumbbell Upward Fly
  12. Standing Dumbbell Fly
  13. Dumbbell Arnold Press
  14. Alternate Dumbbell Front Raise
  15. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  16. Neutral Grip DB Front Raises
  17. Dumbbell Upright Row
  18. Bent over Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  19. Dumbbell Shrug
  20. Underhand Dumbbell Front Raises
  21. DB Rear Deltoid fly
  22. Lying Dumbbell “Y” Raises
  23. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
  24. Lying Dumbbell I-Y-T Raises
  25. Single Arm Kneeling Dumbbell Row
  26. Dumbbell Reverse Fly
  27. DB Underhand Inverted Row
  28. Bent-Over Dumbbell Rowing
  29. Reverse DB Bent Over Rowing
  30. Dumbbell Tricep Kickback
  31. DB Overhead Extension
  32. DB Floor Press
  33. Neutral Grip Dumbbell Floor Press
  34. Narrow Push-up on Dumbbell
  35. Single-arm Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  36. Dumbbell Concentration curl
  37. Dumbbell Alternate Bicep curl
  38. DB Hammer Curl
  39. Incline Dumbbell Curl
  40. Dumbbell Crossover Curl
  41. DB Reverse Bicep Curl
  42. Dumbbell Zottoman Curl
  43. Decline DB Curl
  44. Dumbbell Side Bend
  45. Dumbbell Crunches
  46. DB Wood Chop
  47. Dumbbell Russian Twist
  48. Dumbbell Side Plank
  49. Lying Dumbbell Leg Raises
  50. Hanging knees with Dumbbell
  51. Palms up Dumbbell Wrist Curl
  52. Palms Down Dumbbell Curls

25 Upper Body Workouts You Can Do With Dumbbells at Home

1. DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

Muscle Worked: Chest

upper body chest workout with dumbbells
upper body chest workout with dumbbells

HOW TO PERFORM FLAT DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS:

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on a flat bench on your back.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your sides to your chest level and keep your feet firmly on the ground.
  3. Brace abdominal muscles and push the dumbbells up toward the ceiling until your arms directly over your neck.
  4. Pause for a second and then return to the start. That’s your one rep!

Reps: 10-12

Sets: 3-4

Rest: 2-3 Minutes

2. DUMBBELL CHEST FLY

Muscle Worked: Chest

upper body dumbbell workout chest
upper body dumbbell workout chest

HOW TO DO FLAT BENCH DUMBBELL CHEST FLY

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, lay down on your back on a flat bench.
  2. Hold your arms straight out to the sides with your elbows just slightly bend.
  3. Raise the dumbbells until they meet above the upper chest.
  4. Pause for a sec and then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep!

Reps: 10-12

Sets: 3-4

Rest: 2-3 Minutes

3. DUMBBELL SQUEEZE PRESS

Muscle Worked: Chest

HOW TO DO DUMBBELL SQUEEZE PRESS:

  1. Lay down on your back on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Place your feet properly and tighten your core.
  2. Place your arms just over your chest and slightly bend your elbows.
  3. Raise your arms straight over your pecs while squeezing your chest.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds then slowly lower the dumbbell to the start. That’s one rep!

Reps: 10-12

Sets: 3-4

Rest: 2-3 Minutes

4. DUMBBELL PULLOVER

Muscle Worked: Chest

dumbbell upper body workout shoulder
dumbbell upper body workout shoulder

HOW TO PERFORM DUMBBELL BENT-ARM PULLOVER

  1. Start with lying down on your back on a flat bench with holding the dumbbell in your hands. Place your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Holding the dumbbell in your hands extend your arms straight directly over your chest.
  3. Lower the dumbbells slowly in an arc shape behind your head without bending your elbows.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds then slowly pull the dumbbell until they return over your chest. That’s one rep!

Reps: 8-10

Sets: 2-3

Rest- 2 minutes

5. DUMBBELL OVERHEAD SHOULDER PRESS

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

upper body dumbbell workouts shoulder
upper body dumbbell workouts shoulder

HOW TO DO DUMBBELL OVERHEAD SHOULDER PRESS

  1. Pick one dumbbell in each hand, and sit on a bench with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Holding dumbbells in your hands, bend your elbows bend at your sides to your shoulder level.
  3. Keep your back straight and chest up. This is your starting position.
  4. Raise the dumbbells towards the ceiling until your arms are straight.
  5. Pause for a second then lower the weight to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Do 10 reps of 3 sets with 2 minutes rest between each set.

6. DUMBBELL FRONT RAISES

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

 HOW TO DO DUMBBELL FRONT RAISES

  1. Standing in the shoulder-width stance, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the thigh.
  2. Maintain a flat back and keep your chest up.
  3. Raise the right arm upward until it reaches your shoulder height.
  4. Pause and then lower to the start and repeat with the opposite arm.
  5. You can also do using your both arms at once.
  6. Perform 10-12 reps of 3 sets with 2 minutes rest between sets.

7. DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISE

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

upper body dumbbell shoulder workout without bench
upper body dumbbell shoulder workout without bench

HOW TO PERFORM DUMBBELL SIDE LATERAL RAISE

  1. Stand straight with your feet and grab one dumbbell each in both hands, palms facing your thigh.
  2. Keep your arms straight and hold the dumbbells to sides of your thigh.
  3. Keep your back straight and chest up.
  4. Raise the dumbbells out to the sides of your body till your shoulder level.
  5. Hold for a moment then return to the initial position. That’s one rep!
  6. You can also perform seated dumbbell Side lateral raise with the same way.
  7. Complete 10 reps of 3 sets with 1-2 minutes gap between every set.
  8. Targeted muscle: Lateral or mid deltoid

8. DUMBBELL SHOULDER UPRIGHT ROW

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

upper body shoulder workout with dumbbells
upper body shoulder workout with dumbbells

HOW TO DO DUMBBELL SHOULDER UPRIGHT ROW

  1. Standing in the shoulder-width stance, hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing your thighs.
  2. Keep yopur chest up and back straight.
  3. Bring the dumbbells upward until the weight reach above chest height, your elbows are flare out to the sides.
  4. Pause for a second and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. This is your one rep.
  5. Do 10 reps of 3 sets with 2 minutes rest between sets.

9. DUMBBELL SHOULDER SHRUGS

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

  1. Stand straight with holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Keep your arms straight with your palms facing your body.
  2. Keep your back straight and chest up.
  3. Raise the dumbbells by slowly raising your shoulders in a shrugging motion.
  4. Pause for a second and then slowly return to the start.
  5. Perform 10 reps of 3 sets with 2 minutes rest between sets.

10. ALTERNATE BICEP CURLS

Muscle Worked: Biceps

Standing Dumbbell Exercises
upper body bicep dumbbell workout

HOW TO DO ALTERNATE BICEP CURLS

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip with your palms facing each other.
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing forward.
  3. Curl your right arm toward your shoulder until your palm faces your body.
  4. Pause for a second and then lower your arm to the start.
  5. Repeat with your left arm to complete one rep.
  6. Do 10 reps of 3 sets with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

11. ALTERNATE DUMBBELL HAMMER CURL

Muscle Worked: Biceps

HOW TO PERFORM DUMBBELL ALTERNATE HAMMER CURL

  1. Stand straight in the shoulder-width stance by holding a pair of dumbbells in your hands with an overhand grip. Palms facing each other.
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing forward.
  3. Raise one arm with the dumbbell in an arc motion until they reach your shoulder level of the same hand.
  4. Pause for a second and then return to the start.
  5. Repeat with your left arm to complete one rep.
  6. Do 10 reps of 3 sets with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

12. CONCENTRATION CURL

Muscle Worked: Biceps

Dumbbell Exercises For Arms

 HOW TO DO CONCENTRATION BICEP CURL

  1. Sitting on a bench with your feet flat on the ground, and grab a dumbbell with your right hand with an underhand grip.
  2. Slightly lean forward so you can place your elbow on the inner part of your right thigh.
  3. Keep your opposite arm on the left knee for balance.
  4. Curl the dumbbell until they reach your shoulder height and make you feel the contraction in your biceps.
  5. Pause for a second and then return to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Do 12 reps of 3 sets with each hand with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

13. SEATED BICEP TWISTED CURL

Muscle Worked: Biceps

 HOW TO PERFORM SEATED BICEP CURL

  1. Sitting on the edge of a bench, place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grab one dumbbell in each hand with your palms are facing your side thighs.
  3. Curl the dumbbells until they reach your shoulder levels.
  4. As you raise a dumbbell, slightly rotate the wrist so your palm is facing your body.
  5. Pause for a second and then return to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Perform 10 reps of 3 sets with 2-3 minutes rest between each set.

14. DUMBBELL OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

Muscle Worked: Triceps

Image by Workout Labs
  1. Sitting on a bench, grab a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Hold the dumbbells behind your head with elbows bent.
  3. Squeezing your triceps, extend your elbows until your arms are fully straight overhead.
  4. Pause for a second and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Do 12 reps of 3 sets with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

15. NEUTRAL GRIP DUMBBELL TRICEPS BENCH PRESS

Muscle Worked: Triceps

  1. Lay down on your back on a flat bench and grab a pair of dumbbells with your hands. Place your feet properly on the floor.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at chest level and your elbows out to the sides of your chest.
  3. Raise the dumbbells towards the ceiling until your arms being fully extended.
  4. Hold for a second and slowly return to the initial position. That’s one rep!
  5. Perform 12 reps of 3 sets with 2-3 minutes rest between sets.

16. DUMBBELL TRICEPS KICKBACK

Muscle Worked: Triceps

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Tricep-Kickback.jpg
  1. Staying upright, slightly bend your knees with holding a pair of dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Lean forward while maintaining your back flat with your face facing the floor.
  3. Keep your arms at your sides with your elbows bent and raise the dumbbells back in an arc motion until your arms being fully extended.
  4. Keep your elbows locked and squeeze your triceps during the movement.
  5. Pause for a second and then return the weights to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Do three sets of 10 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

17. DUMBBELL FLOOR PRESS

Muscle Worked: Triceps

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DB-Floor-press.jpg
  1. Lying on the floor on your back, grab a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and bend your knees at around thirty degrees.
  2. Bend your elbows and hold the dumbbells to your chest level with your palms facing forward. That’s the starting position.
  3. Press the dumbbells upward until your arms are straight and directly over your upper chest.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds, squeeze your triceps at the top and then return the weights to the start. That’s your one repetition!
  5. Do three sets of 10 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

18. DUMBBELL BENT-OVER ROW

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, stand in the shoulder-width stance. Your palms should be facing each other.
  2. Slightly bent your knees and lean forward. That’s your starting position.
  3. Row the dumbbells at your sides until your back muscles fully engaged.
  4. Pause and then lower the weights to the starting position. That’s one rep!
  5. Do three sets of 10 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.
  6. Keep your back straight and remain bent over during the entire movement.

19. SINGLE ARM KNEELING DUMBBELL ROWING

Muscle Worked: Back

Dumbbell Rear Delt Exercises and Workout
  1. Place your left knee and left hand on a flat bench and your right foot flat on the ground.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip.
  3. Keep your arms straight below your shoulder. This is your starting position.
  4. Row the dumbbell at your side until it reaches the abdomen level. Make sure you feel the contraction in your back.
  5. Pause for a second or two and then lower the dumbbells to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Do three sets of 10 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.
  7. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and your back remains flat during the movement.

20. LYING DB INCLINE I-Y-T RAISES

Muscle Worked: Back and Shoulder

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, lay down on your stomach on an incline bench (30 to 45-degree incline).
  2. Keep your arms straight towards the ground with palms facing inward.
  3. Raise the dumbbells upward until your body forms the “I” Shape.
  4. Pause for a second and then lowered the weights to the start.
  5. To do “Y” raises, raise your arms at a 45-degree angle (assume superman pose) while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause for a couple of seconds and then lower the weights to the start.
  6. And to perform the final move, raise your arms fully out to sides until they are parallel to the floor. Pause for a second or two and then lower the weights to the start. This is your one rep.
  7. Do three sets of 8 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

21. DUMBBELL BENT OVER REVERSE BACK FLY WORKOUT

Muscle Worked: Back

Upper body dumbbell exercise for back
Upper body dumbbell exercise for back
  1. Standing in the shoulder-width stance, hold one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip with your palms facing each other.
  2. Slightly bend your torso forward by bending your knees and raise the dumbbells out to the sides until you feel the full contraction in your back.
  3. Pause for one second and then lower the dumbbells to the start. That’s one rep!
  4. Do three sets of 10 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.
  5. Keep your back straight and remain bent over during the exercise.

22. DUMBBELL PALMS-UP WRIST CURL

Muscle Worked: Wrist

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip, sit on the bench or a chair.
  2. Place your feet firmly on the ground and make sure your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Put your wrist on your knees with your palms facing up.
  4. Adjust your arms so your wrists are hanging over the edge of your knees. That’s your starting position.
  5. Now, engaging your forearms and wrist, curl up and down as many times as you like.
  6. Keep your arms still when you twist your wrist.
  7. Do three sets of 10 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between every set.

23. DUMBBELL SIDE BEND

Muscle Worked: Oblique

HOW TO DO THE SIDE-BEND

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, stand straight in the hip-width stance.
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms are facing your side thigh.
  3. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, bend your torso to one side until your hand reached your knee. Then squeeze your oblique and return to the standing position.
  4. Do two sets of 15 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between sets.

24. Dumbbell Russian Twist

Muscle Worked: Oblique

How to perform The Russian twist with the dumbbell

  1. Pick a dumbbell with your hands with a neutral grip and sit on the mat with your legs are in front of you.
  2. Keep your feet on or slightly off the ground and your torso leaning backward. Maintain a flat back.
  3. Hold the dumbbell in front of your belly and twist it side-by-side until you feel a good stretch in your obliques.
  4. Do two sets of 10 to 15 seconds each with 30 seconds rest between the set.

25. Dumbbell Side Plank

Muscle Worked: Oblique

How to perform side plank with holding a dumbbell

  1. Pick a dumbbell in your right hand and get in the side plank position on your left forearm.
  2. Keep your right leg on the left one.
  3. Make sure your body forms a straight line from shoulders to feet.
  4. Hold your right arm straight toward the ceiling with your palm facing forward. And hold in this position for at least 15 to 20 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.
  5. If you’re a beginner or if you find it difficult to do the forearm side plank, then you may try a straight-arm side plank.

upper body workout routine with dumbbells

Day 1

ExercisesMuscles WorkedReps
DB Bench PressChest12×3
Incline DB Bench PressChest12×3
Flat Dumbbell FlyChest12×3
Dumbbell PulloverChest12×3
Dumbbell Floor PressTriceps, Chest12×3
DB Overhead ExtensionTriceps12×3
Dumbbell Tricep KickbackTriceps12×3
Narrow Push-up on DumbbellTriceps10×2
Dumbbell Side BendCore10×2
Dumbbell Side PlankCore30-sec/
side
full upper body dumbbell workout routine for beginners and intermediate

Day 2

ExercisesMuscles WorkedReps
DB Bent-Over RowBack12×3
Lying DB I-Y-T RaisesBack12×3
Single Arm Kneeling
Dumbbell Row
Back12×3
Dumbbell Reverse FlyBack12×3
DB Alternate Bicep curlBiceps12×3
DB Hammer CurlBiceps12×3
Dumbbell Crossover CurlBiceps12×3
Dumbbell Concentration curlBiceps10×2
Palms up DB Wrist CurlWrist, Forearm10×2
Palms Down DB CurlWrist, Forearm10×2
dumbbell workout routine upper body

Day 3

ExercisesMuscles WorkedReps
Dumbbell Arnold PressShoulder12×3
Alternate DB Front RaiseShoulder12×3
DB Lateral RaiseShoulder12×3
DB Upright RowShoulder12×3
Bent over DB Lateral RaiseShoulder12×3
Dumbbell ShrugShoulder12×3
Dumbbell Side BendCoreAMRAP
DB Wood ChopCoreAMRAP
Dumbbell CrunchesCoreAMRAP
Dumbbell Side PlankCore30-sec/
side
upper body workout routine dumbbells

Can You Get a Full Upper Body Workout with Dumbbells?

Yes, dumbbells exercises are basically free weight workouts that help you build your entire upper body from the chest and back to shoulders and arms.

Upper body dumbbell workouts like bench press, dumbbell rowing, biceps curls, triceps extension, dumbbell overhead press, and dumbbell crunches are the best exercises you can do with dumbbells to develop strength and mass.

Upper Body Dumbbell Workout PDF

The Takeaway Message

The dumbbell exercises are the best for plenty of reasons. For instance, they enable a full range of motion so you can use one arm at a time and target your muscles more specifically.

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, male or female, you can do the above upper body workout with dumbbells at home or the gym, with and without the bench.

Diet is as important as exercise when it comes to building muscle mass or losing weight.

If your goal is to gain muscle mass, eat more calories than your body uses during the day.

While, if you’re trying to lose weight, consume fewer calories than your body burns throughout the day.

If you like the above dumbbell upper body workout program, shave this and share with your friends.

Images Source: Everkinetic / CC BY-SA (Edited)

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