Dumbbells are the ideal tool for targeting all the muscles in your upper body. Use this dumbbell upper-body workout for big muscle-building gains…

This workout from PT Omar Mansour is an opposing upper-body superset incorporating both push and pull exercises.

Focus on maximum squeeze and slowing down the eccentric part of the movement to really reap the benefits.  

How to perform the dumbbell upper-body workout:

  • This workout is divided into three sections: superset 1, superset 2, and a final giant set.
  • Move between exercises in the same superset/giant set with minimal rest.
  • Once you’ve completed one set of the superset/giant set, rest for 60 secs, then go again to complete a total of 3 sets.
  • Rest for 90 secs between supersets/giant set.

Superset 1:

1a. Dumbbell kneeling Arnold shoulder press (3 x 12 reps)

1b. Dumbbell single arm row (3 x 12 reps each arm)

Superset 2:

2a. Dumbbell floor chest press (3 x 12 reps)

2b. Dumbbell renegade row (3 x 12 alternating reps)

Giant set:

3a. Dumbbell kneeling overhead tricep extension (3 x 15 reps)

3b. Dumbbell biceps curl (3 x 15 reps)

3c. Dumbbell Russian twist (3 x 15 reps)

Keep reading for full instructions on how to perform each exercise in this upper-body dumbbell workout…

Related content:

  1. Upper Body Supersets Workout
  2. Build A Strong Upper Body With This Pull-Up Bar Circuit
  3. Kettlebell And Dumbbell Workout For Upper Body Muscle

Man performing start of kneeling arnold shoulder pressMan performing end of kneeling arnold shoulder press1a. Dumbbell Kneeling Arnold Shoulder Press

Muscles worked: All three anterior, medial and posterior deltoids, and triceps

How to do the kneeling Arnold shoulder press:

  1. Start in the kneeling position. Squeeze the core and glutes.
  2. Have a dumbbell in each hand at the top of a bicep curl position so that your palms are facing you.  
  3. From here push the weights overhead while twisting the dumbbells 180 degrees.
  4. Finish in an overhead press with your palms facing away from you.
  5. Slowly reverse the movement and return the weights back to start position.  

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Man performing start of single arm rowMan performing end of single arm row1b. Dumbbell Single-Arm Row  

Muscles worked: Upper and lower back, and biceps

How to do the single-arm row:

  1. Take a step back into a lunge position. Keep a soft bend in your front leg with the knee in line with your ankle and back leg straight.  
  2. Lean slightly forward from hips and rest your free elbow on your front thigh.
  3. Tighten your core and pull you shoulder blades  down and back. You want your hips and shoulders to be square on to the floor.  
  4. With the arm that’s holding the weight drive your elbow back to the ribs avoiding rounding or arching the spine.
  5. Once your elbow goes just past your ribs return arm to extended position. 

Man performing start of floor chest pressMan performing end of floor chest press2a. Dumbbell Floor Chest Press

Muscles worked: Chest and triceps

How to do the floor chest press:

  1. Start by sitting on the floor in an upright position with your legs straight.
  2. Grab two dumbbells and balance them vertically on your thighs.  
  3. Slowly lay back while keeping the dumbbells close to your chest and bend your knees to 45 degrees. Have the feet in line with the knees.  
  4. Press the weights to the sky with full extension by contracting your triceps and chest keeping your shoulder blades squeezing into the floor in the down and back position.  
  5. Slowly lower the weight until both elbows touch the floor then press both dumbbells back to the starting position. 

Man performing start of renegade rowMan performing end of renegade row

2b. Dumbbell Renegade Row   

Muscles worked: Core, back, biceps and triceps 

How to do the renegade row:

  1. Start in the high plank position with dumbbells in each hand and wrists straight. Have your feet wider than shoulder width apart, brace the core and squeeze glutes.
  2. Row one dumbbell up by driving your elbow to rib. Keep the other arm locked out and stationary. Avoid rotating the hips.
  3. From here slowly lower  the dumbbell back down to the ground and repeat on other side.  

Man performing start of overhead tricep extension Man performing end of overhead tricep extension

3a. Dumbbell Kneeling Overhead Tricep Extension   

Muscles worked: Triceps and core

How to do the kneeling overhead tricep extension:

  1. Grab a dumbbell and kneel on the floor with your knees shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes. 
  2. Press the dumbbell over head until your arms are straight. Keep the elbows tight and close to your ears. Your palms should face each other.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your head, until your forearms are at least parallel to the floor. Make sure the elbows don’t flare out.  
  4. Pause then straighten your arms by extending your elbows to return to the starting position.  

Man performing bicep curl

3b. Dumbbell Biceps Curl

Muscles worked: Biceps

How to do the biceps curl:

  1. Stand holding two dumbbells at your sides, bend your knees slightly and squeeze the core. Have the palms facing forwards.
  2. Move  your forearms to curl the weights up to your shoulders keeping wrists straight throughout movement.
  3. Return under control to the start position.  

Man performing start of Russian twistMan performing end of Russian twist

3c. Dumbbell Russian Twist

Muscles worked: Obliques, rectus abdominis, hip flexors, erector spinae

How to do the Russian twist:

  1. Start by sitting on the floor. Slightly lean back so your torso and legs form a V-like shape, bracing your core, bending you knees and elevating your feet off the ground.  
  2. Balancing in this V position, keep your legs stationary and twist from your torso from side to side with control.