All you need is two dumbbells and six moves for a stronger upper body and leaner arms

Strengthen your arms, work your chest, and improve your posture with this short dumbbell routine

Man performing biceps curls
(Image credit: Getty Images/Vasily Pindyurin)

Some people work their upper-body to build visible muscle, but there's more to arm workouts than developing t-shirt-friendly biceps. Upper-body muscle helps with your posture, stability, and reduces your risk of back pain. 

To take part, all you'll need is a pair of dumbbells. If you'd like to switch weights per move or take this on several times and use the progressive overload technique, then a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells are ideal. 

This particular arm workout comes from  NCSF-certified personal trainer Elise Young and it is formed of just six moves, and you'll do 12 repetitions of each. So, you'll want to find a weight that'll challenge you to get through all reps, but won't effect your form.

For a full workout, Young recommends repeating this three to four times. She doesn't specify rest periods, but you could try 30 seconds in-between each exercise and 60 seconds in-between each set to give your muscles enough time to recover.

To make sure you don't injure yourself and to get the most from your training, it's important to focus on your form throughout. Fortunately, you can practice your technique using Young's demonstrations before you start. 

Watch Elise Young's six-move arm workout

This training style can be quite intense if you're new to upper-body dumbbell sessions, but you can quickly develop strength if you follow a 30-day arms challenge. Not a fan of weights? This resistance band arm workout can help. 

You can use resistance band exercises as workout in their own right, or use them to work up to a light dumbbell in line with progressive overload training. Plus, the best resistance bands usually come in sets, so you can still adjust the load. 

If you're not used to workouts that target specific muscle groups, you may feel the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness(DOMS) the next day. This is normal, and is the result tiny tears in your muscles that have occurred during your session.

Your body uses protein to help repair, strengthen and grow your muscles, so it's important to eat enough to support your exercise routine. You can get it through your diet, but many people find that supplements can help too.

A post-workout smoothie, blended with one of the best protein powders for weight loss, can be a good way to keep yourself topped up, achieve lean muscle growth, and promote recovery.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors,, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.