Build upper body muscle and burn calories with this seven move dumbbell workout

Want to develop strength and muscle in your chest, triceps and shoulders? Give these upper body dumbbell moves a go

Woman lifting dumbbell outdoors
(Image credit: Getty)

Your upper body is made up of various different key muscle groups and it's a good idea to factor these into your regular workout schedule. For anyone who is unsure where to begin, don't sweat it, just grab some dumbbells and use this short routine to start training your shoulders, back, and chest muscles.

This routine is easy to use at the gym, you'll just need to access some dumbbells from the free weights section of the gym or if you're exercising at home you should consider buying a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells. These weights contain several dumbbells in one and can be modified on the spot so they save on space and time.

Britany Williams, a personal trainer and Barre instructor for workout app Sweat (opens in new tab) , is behind this upper body strengthening session. Her workout includes two circuits, each containing three exercises, and you'll finish things off with one minute of push-ups.

Read here how to do a push up properly if you're still to master this move. You can always do a modified version of a push-up for this workout; it will still challenge your upper body and it's a core-strengthening exercise too.

You will perform 12 reps of each exercise and three rounds in total of each circuit. You only need to do one minute of push-ups at the end of the full workout but feel free to increase this if you're feeling up to the challenge.

Watch Britany Williams' Seven Exercise Upper Body Routine

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Williams upper body routine will make a great addition to a workout split. Wondering what is a workout split? All it refers to is dividing your weekly workouts up according to different regions of your body. It's an effective way to tune into specific areas of your body and enhance muscle growth.

The exercises in this routine will enable you to target and shape the muscles in your chest, back and shoulders. You may notice Williams kneels on the floor for the alternative chest exercise and this is to help isolate your upper body more.

In response to a comment about this Williams explains, "You can do it standing. Kneeling helps take the lower body out of the movement and forces you to really just use your upper body."

The more you engage in this style of strength training and continue to improve with progressive overload, the more muscle you will gain. Muscle is metabolically active and is good at burning calories meaning you can stay lean and maintain strength and muscle gains at the same time.

You can also increase your daily calories burn by consuming more protein in your diet. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fats, essentially a high protein intake can enhance your metabolism and increase your calorie burn.

It's a good idea to stock up on some of the best protein powders for weight loss and add some protein into your morning smoothie or use in some of these high protein desserts.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.