Fitness

A 15-Minute Dumbbell Arms Workout You Can Do Anywhere

There’s so much you can do with just a single set of dumbbells. They’re relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and small enough to keep tucked under your bed. And while there are plenty of effective bodyweight exercises out there, adding a few pounds to your strength training workout is a simple way to increase the intensity. And that’s exactly where this dumbbell arm workout comes in.

Kara Faulk, personal trainer and instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City, put together this 15-minute dumbbell arm workout for SELF readers. Requiring nothing more than a pair of dumbbells, this workout focuses on the arm muscles, and you can do it pretty much anywhere you want.

Faulk says that the benefit of concentrating on one part of the body is that you can work that body part fully. Fifteen minutes is enough to hit every major muscle group—in this case, those that comprise the biceps, triceps, and shoulders—until fatigue.

Many of the moves below are compound exercises, meaning they involve two or more joints of the body, and therefore work more than one muscle group at a time. Faulk says since these moves require total-body coordination, they force your body to work harder to stabilize itself—which translates to a secret core workout. “Any time you’re balancing, your core is working in overdrive,” says Faulk. And when more muscles are engaging to keep you stable, you’re using more energy.

Faulk designed this dumbbell arm workout to be done with dumbbells that are medium weight. What is “medium” will be different for everyone, so she suggests starting with 5- or 8-pound dumbbells, maybe a set of 10s if you’re already lifting. As your muscles adapt, what you consider “medium” will start to increase. Instead of going for a certain number of reps, Faulk says to do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) in the allotted time frames, while still maintaining proper form.

Over time, as the workout starts to get easier, you can either lift more quickly (while maintaining proper form) OR increase your weight, whichever you feel more comfortable with. Either method will progress your workout and further challenge your muscles.

Faulk suggests doing this workout twice a week, either on its own or added on the end of a cardio or other full-body workout.

Our model, Denise Harris is a NASM-certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor based in New York City.

The Workout

Instructions:

Do each move below for the indicated amount of time, resting 30 seconds or less between moves.

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