You don't need the gym to build stronger arms—use this 10-minute dumbbell circuit instead

Build upper-body muscle and strengthen your shoulders with this short, four-move dumbbell routine

Woman doing dumbbell curls.
(Image credit: Getty)

Building upper-body strength can make everyday tasks like carrying shopping bags or moving furniture easier too. It doesn't have to be complicated either—all you need is four exercises and a pair of dumbbells. 

If you exercise at home, it's worth investing in a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells so you can easily increase the weights you're using as you get stronger, although a fixed weight set or even two equally filled water bottles will work for this routine.

Designed by personal trainer Rhiannon Bailey, this workout challenges you to perform four exercises one after the other as a circuit. Complete 10 repetitions of each one before moving on, and rest as little as possible between moves. Repeat this sequence until you've finished four rounds.

To get the most from your training, it's vital to get the technique right. This'll also help you avoid injuries while working with weights. Fortunately, you can practice your form using Bailey's demonstrations before starting. 

Watch Rhiannon Bailey's four-move upper-body workout

We suggest picking fairly light weights for this routine (check out our guide on what dumbbells you should use for help choosing) as you'll be completing 40 reps of each exercise in total. 

This high number of reps tests your endurance by placing your muscles under tension for longer than a solitary set of a single exercise. This is a great way to push yourself and progressively overload your muscles, sparking positive adaptations in your body such as strength gains and muscle growth. 

However, if you're looking to make progress in these areas, it's also important to fuel your body correctly by incorporating foods that build muscle into your diet. Many of these are high in protein, a nutrient your body uses to repair and grow your muscles.

While you can get your daily intake from your food, if you want to boost your levels, you can blend a post-workout smoothie with some of the best protein powders for weight loss to develop lean muscle. 

If you're not used to lifting weights, you might experience DOMS (delayed-onset-muscle-soreness) after a workout like this one. Try these six ways to ease muscle soreness to help ease any aches you may have.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.