Build arm muscle with just five moves and this dumbbell workout

Train your biceps with these five dumbbell curl variations to build stronger arms

Man working out with dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's a common perception that the only way to develop strength in your upper arms is by picking up a set of weights and cranking out bicep curls. They're practical, but not the only way. Instead, you can use this five-move dumbbell workout to build bigger arms.

All you need to get started is a set of the best adjustable dumbbells to get started, whether you're training at the gym or working out at home. You can quickly change the load mid-workout, helping you focus on your muscle-building session.

If you don't have access to an adjustable set, you can use these beginner strength training tips to decide on the best weight to lift. Although you'll often hear that heavier is better, finding a weight that you can use without injuring yourself is crucial.

As Tiff x Dan (opens in new tab), the fitness YouTubers behind this routine, suggest, "Leave the ego at the weight rack and grab a weight you can control." Once you have a set of dumbbells at hand, you can use this five-move workout to develop your upper arm muscles.

Although described as a dumbbell finisher for a more extended workout, you can use this at the end of your regular routine to give your arms a quick blast or as a standalone session to concentrate on building strength in your biceps and shoulders.

Watch Tiff x Dan's five-move dumbbell workout

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The aim is to do up to 10 repetitions of each exercise and complete the routine three times. We've listed all the moves you need below to help you get started. However, the key to getting an effective workout is how you control the movement of the weights.

Tiff x Dan advise taking the first set at a regular pace (typically one second up, three seconds down), the second at half speed, and the final set as slow and controlled as possible. This increases the time your muscles are under tension for strength-building results.

  • Zottman curls
  • Crossbody curls
  • Wide curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Circle curls

It's also essential to focus on your form if you want to get the most from your training and avoid injury. So, be sure to check out Dan's demonstrations to get the technique just right before beginning.

Although dumbbells are a standard tool for arm-focused resistance training, there's plenty of variety in the best bicep workouts. Some of the moves utilize gym equipment, while others use the best resistance bands or even your bodyweight.

James Frew
Staff Writer

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.