Build stronger arms in just seven moves with a set of dumbbells

Develop upper body strength with a set of weights in less than 45 minutes

Man performing dumbbell bench presses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want to develop upper body muscle, you might think you'll need hours of dedicated gym workouts to see results. Fortunately, you can use this seven-move dumbbell workout to build muscle even when you're tight on time.

All you need to get started is a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells. These customizable weights combine several dumbbells in one for easy storage at home and have quick adjustment mechanisms so you can stay focused on your workout.

Alternatively, when you're at the gym, you can use these beginner strength training tips to find a set of fixed-weight dumbbells instead. The key is to choose a load that'll challenge you but won't affect your form.

Then you can start personal trainer Alice Liveing's (opens in new tab) seven-move dumbbell arm workout. There are workout staples like chest presses and bicep curls alongside upper body variations. To perfect your technique, it's worth watching Liveing's demonstrations before starting.

The aim is to do three sets of each move, with up to 12 repetitions per round. Although it'll vary depending on how many rests you take between sets, Liveing suggests the routine should take 45 minutes or less.

Watch Alice Liveing's dumbbell workout

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The routine's first move is pull-ups, and Liveing uses a set of pull-up bars at a gym for the demonstration. If you're training at home, you can switch these with a set of the best resistance bands and use one of the door anchors instead.

Whether you're new to resistance training or have been lifting weights for a while, it's worth reading up on the technique of chest presses, which are also known as bench presses. This involves laying on a bench and lifting the weights above you to develop strength.

Meanwhile, bicep curls are an ideal option for all experience levels and regularly feature in beginner's gym workouts to build muscle and advanced routines, too. It's a versatile move because you can keep it challenging by increasing the weight over time.

This technique is known as progressive overload, which aims to keep stimulating your muscles. Adjustable dumbbells can help if you're training at home, and when you're at the gym, you can experiment with different loads too.

If you want to keep your sessions varied, consider picking up one of the best kettlebells and learn how to do kettlebell swings. This versatile move builds full-body muscle, works your core, and boosts your metabolism.

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.