Strengthen and tone your shoulders in just five moves with this upper body workout from trainer Britany Williams

This quick dumbbell workout will challenge your upper body

Woman doing dumbbell workout at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After seeing Miley Cyrus’s arms at the Grammy’s, I think we all Googled "upper body workouts" and added her to the ever-growing list of celebrities—including the well-toned likes of Jennifer Aniston—for arm inspo. Trainer Brittany Williams has arms and shoulders to rival both Cyrus and Aniston, so we were thrilled when she dropped a new upper-body workout.

This dumbbell session is accessible and, as with many of Williams’s workouts, you can pick the moves you want to do from her selection and build your own routine. Take yourself off to the gym to do it or if you have adjustable dumbbells at home, settle in and give these moves a go. 

The workout

Williams suggests choosing three or four exercises from the list, but you can do fewer or more to suit your fitness levels. 

If you need a little guidance on what equipment to grab for this workout, read through our piece on what dumbbell weight you should use

  • Overhead raise: 3x10
  • Bent raise to extension: 3x10
  • Wide row: 3x10
  • Upright row to front raise: 3x10
  • Single to double shoulder press: 3x10

Can you build muscle with just dumbbells?

Omar Mansour, a coach for audio-led fitness app WithU, previously explained to Fit&Well that you can rely fully on dumbbells for all your strength training needs. All you need to do is employ the principles of progressive overload and regularly upgrade to heavier weights to keep gaining muscle. 

"I'd suggest every four to six weeks to switch up your program and create a new stimulus for your body to respond to," he advised. 

This new stimulus could be an increase in weights, reps, or sets. Just make sure you continue to challenge yourself, otherwise you won’t get any stronger.

Need some more equipment for your home workout sessions? See our guide to the best kettlebells

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.


Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.