Build bigger arms with this 15-minute upper body dumbbell workout

This short session works your upper body, develops arm muscle, and boosts your metabolism

Man lifting dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's not always easy to find time for an extended gym session, but that doesn't mean you can't still build muscle. Fortunately, you can train your upper body and develop more muscular arms with this 15-minute dumbbell workout when you're short on time.

All you need is a set of the best adjustable dumbbells to get started. These customizable weights combine several dumbbells into one, so you can quickly change the load mid-workout and build muscle at home without investing in a full-sized weights rack.

Training with dumbbells is an excellent way to work your arms and upper body. Many people use these weights for isolation (single muscle) exercises like bicep curls, but this 20-minute routine from YouTube trainers Juice & Toya is a more varied way to build strength.

The duo have designed the workout to include a mixture of dumbbell exercises and bodyweight moves that'll work multiple muscles simultaneously. This approach helps you get results, even from a short workout.

To get the most from the session, you want to choose a weight that'll challenge you but that you can still lift without impacting your form. Toya trains with 10-pound dumbbells in this routine, while Juice lifts 20-pound weights.

Watch Juice & Toya's 15-minute dumbbell workout

There are 15 moves in total, so you'll exercise for 45 seconds, take a 15-second rest, then start on the next move. This exercise style is known as High-Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT), where the aim is to train hard for short bursts with minimal breaks.

It works your muscles hard, but it also raises your heart rate and boosts your metabolism. This means you'll burn energy during the workout and for hours afterward, helping you develop lean muscle in your arms and upper body.

If this sounds similar to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), that's because it is. The main difference is that HIRT focuses on strength-building exercises and often includes weights, while HIIT primarily concentrates on building cardio fitness.

Both workout programs are a time-effective way to train, helping you reach your fitness goals even when you don't have long to exercise. If you want to drop pounds, it's also worth scheduling a HIIT workout for fat loss in your routine.

For those who prefer working with weights, grab one of the best kettlebells and learn how to do kettlebell swings. This multi-muscle compound exercise works your upper and lower body, boosts your metabolism, and builds core strength.

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.