Build upper body muscle and define your arms with this 10-minute dumbbell workout

Grow and define your biceps, triceps, and shoulders in just 10 minutes

Woman lifting two dumbbells above her head
(Image credit: Getty)

If you don't enjoy training your upper body or just can't find time for it in your workout schedule, then say hello to this 10-minute dumbbell routine. It has been designed especially for targeting the muscles in your arms and shoulders.

Before jumping into this quick upper body session you'll need a set of dumbbells to begin. You can source this type of free weight at a gym or you can buy your own. The best adjustable dumbbells are well suited for home use as this style of customizable weight saves you from having to store a full weights rack in your home and they allow you to conveniently change the load between exercises.

Once you are equipped with some weights then you can use workout instructor Gainsbybrains' (opens in new tab)10-minute dumbbell workout to build strength and muscle in your upper body. 

The whole workout is completed standing up, so it's ideal if you don't have much room at home to move around. Equally, if you go to a busy gym, there is no need to find a bench or lots of floor space for this upper body routine.

There are 10 exercises in this workout, and you will perform each for 60 seconds taking no breaks in between. Fortunately, you only have one round to complete so make sure you master the form of each move and give each minute all you have. 

Watch Gainsbybrain's 10-Minute Standing Dumbbell Workout

When a workout like this doesn't include rests, you are more likely to see improvements in muscle endurance over muscle-building results. However, if you are more interested in achieving the latter then simply factor in rest periods between each exercise. This doesn't have to take away from the time efficiency of this workout.

One study published in the Sports Medicine (opens in new tab) journal reported that "when the training goal is muscular hypertrophy, the combination of moderate-intensity sets with short rest intervals of 30-60 seconds might be most effective due to greater acute levels of growth hormone during such workouts."

If you're working with heavier weight and hoping to stimulate significant strength gains, it makes more sense to give yourself around 3-5 minutes of rest as this helps prepare your muscles to lift heavy on your next set.

Whatever your fitness goals are, you should always prioritize recovery. This encapsulates more than just having a day without exercise, it requires you to fit in ample sleep time, thorough stretching (one of the best foam rollers will come in handy), and a diet that supports your training. Consuming high amounts of protein is essential for muscle recovery and growth and you can increase your daily intake using one of the best protein powders for weight loss.

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.