10 best exercises with dumbbells to build your arm strength

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10 best exercises with dumbbells to build your arm strength

If you want to build strength in your upper body, exercises with dumbbells are the best way. You can build muscle in your shoulders and triceps with just a few dumbbells and various dumbbell arm exercises.

One should not make these moves in one workout. You can sprinkle some of these moves throughout your strength-training program to strengthen your upper body.


The arms are technically the entire appendage hanging from the shoulder joint. It includes both the upper and forearms. However, people often refer to arm exercises when they ask about arm exercises. These workout routines include the upper arms, which can include the triceps, biceps, and deltoids, depending on who you ask.



The two-headed muscle group, the biceps, sits at the front of your upper arms. These two heads are made up of separate muscle bellies, which originate from different places. They travel down the arm and merge into one tendon across the elbow joint. Each head is different, so it is important to include long and short-head exercises in your training section to build your arm strength.


Brachialis is located under the biceps in the upper arms and serves as the primary arm flexor. You must train your biceps to get strong and develop. For bigger arms and stronger arms, brachialis exercises will help you.


Brachioradialis is located across the elbow. While it is more of an upper arm muscle than a forearm, strength training is vital if you want a defined arm.


A triceps is a three-headed group of muscles located on the arm’s backside. There are three types of muscle heads: the medial, long, and lateral heads. This is similar to the biceps. The three muscles originate from different places and then merge as they travel down your arm. The common tendon crosses the elbow joint to allow arm extension.

Because it is responsible for 60% of total arm mass, the triceps play a crucial role. It is almost impossible to have a significant arm set if you have small triceps!

For a well-developed upper arm, it is important to include medial and long-head triceps exercises as part of your fitness routine.


Your “shoulder” muscles are made up of the deltoids, a group of three muscles. These three muscles are located around the shoulder joint and allow the arm to move in any direction. The shoulder joint is a ball in a socket joint. The different muscle heads must be located in different places to allow for arm movements such as pulling, pushing, lifting, or pulling.

Although they may not be considered upper arm muscles by some, these fitness exercises are a great aesthetic tool for creating large arms. Deltoid exercise is essential if you want a capped appearance with shoulders that reach out to create a valley with your quads.

As we mentioned, three heads reach the shoulder muscles.

  • Anterior Deltoid: The anterior deltoid primarily controls shoulder flexion or raising your arms in front of you.
  • Posterior deltoid: This is the primary reason for your shoulder extension and bringing your arms back under your body.
  • Lateral Deltoid: The lateral deltoid primarily controls shoulder abduction and lifting your arms to the side.

The lateral deltoid muscle is the most important of all the deltoid muscles. It sits on the side of your upper arm. Include lateral deltoid movements in your daily workout routine. The anterior deltoid is activated a lot during pushing movements, while the posterior deltoid is activated on every pulling exercise.

However, you should still pay attention to the other deltoids. It is possible to improve your arm exercises by adding anterior and rear deltoid exercises. You should also give your lateral deltoids some love.


Exercising with dumbbells is a great choice. You can get a lot of unique benefits from dumbbells. These are just a few reasons to include these workout routines in your arm training.

1. Increased Stabilization & Muscle Activation

One study examined the EMG activity in the chest, triceps, and biceps during dumbbell bench pressing, smith machine bench pressing, and barbell bench presses. In chest and triceps activity, the dumbbell bench press was similar to the barbell bench press. The dumbbells had significantly greater biceps activity. Why?

Dumbbell arm exercises require greater stabilization. As dumbbells require greater stability, which in turn activates more muscle fibers. We can use dumbbells for functional training, but they are not a modern-day version of the now-illegal sideshow.

2. Elimination of strength imbalances.

Exercises with dumbbells force the limbs to work in unison. There is no hiding or running if one side is significantly stronger than the other.

Dumbbells are a powerful tool in the fight against imbalances.

3. Higher Safety, especially when training alone.

If you miss a bench press or heavy squat, your body is not ready for the barbell. Training with dumbbells is different. Just drop them and get on with your life.

4. Various options to intensify your workout routines.

Traditional drop sets, mechanical advantage drops sets, and rest-pause are all easier to set up for a solo trainer with dumbbells.

Only dumbbell training uses the rack-and-run method. High-intensity techniques that are effective with single barbell training can be avoided. But dumbbells can do the same.

5. Greater range of motion

One of the best ways to overload muscles for strength and muscle-building purposes is to increase your range of motion. A row or press can only do so much, but exercises with dumbbells allow for more motion.

Dumbbells can increase the overload of your go-to mass movements. They also allow for a wider range of motion.

6. More freedom of movement

Bench pressing with a barbell requires that your shoulders and arms remain fixed. The barbell allows you to move through a predetermined range of motion. Dumbbell presses allow you to modify the movement pattern and allow your shoulders to move freely.

The range of motion for barbell pressing is set. If this happens in an area that causes pain, this will be a problem.

Dumbbell pressing can be used to externally or internally rotate your shoulders. You can also bring dumbbells lower or higher up to your body to target specific muscles.


These dumbbell arm exercises will build every muscle in your upper arm. We will show you which dumbbell exercises to use if you are looking for impressive arms. The arm muscle has grouped each exercise it targets, so you can see which moves are responsible for growing each muscle.

Proper form is essential for optimal growth, so pay close attention to what you do.


These four dumbbell arm exercises will make your biceps burn. These moves target the biceps and your forearms flexors, brachialis, and brachioradialis. This fact will ensure that you have muscular arms. These exercises will help you build your biceps.


Although they have some similarities, there are many differences between the hammer and the biceps curls. Instead of using a supinated grip (with palms facing upward), you can use a neutral grip. Internally rotating your arm will help shift the emphasis from the biceps Brachii to the brachialis.

New lifters often neglect these two muscles, limiting their arm size. Don’t be like that guy. Do dumbbell hammer curls.

How to do:

  • Standing, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold two dumbbells in a neutral grip (palms facing inward).
  • Your elbows and upper arms should remain stationary.
  • You can extend your elbow and pull the dumbbells towards your upper arm by flexing your elbow. Keep your elbows straight.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to their original position.


Drag curls are dumbbell curls that have a few variations. Instead of curling with your elbows to the side, pull your elbows back while you curl. The long head is stretched as it crosses the shoulder joint. This arm workout will cause a strong burn that you will love.

How to do:

  • Keep your knees soft, your core braced, and your hips open. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You should hold two dumbbells. Let them hang from your sides. Your palms should face upward.
  • Begin the exercise by bringing your elbows back and curling the dumbbells straight to your body. While slowly curling the dumbbells, keep the weight close to your body.
  • After reaching the top, squeeze your biceps and lower the dumbbells slowly in a controlled motion.


Once you’re done with your spider curls, flip over and do some incline dumbbell curls. You can almost combine spider and drag curls, as your arms are straight down. This position allows you to cheat the dumbbell but also stretches your biceps muscles.

How to do:

  • The bench should be at the same angle as the spider curls: 45 degrees.
  • Place two dumbbells on your back with your palms facing forward.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and lift the dumbbell upwards in a controlled, slow motion.
  • Your elbows and arms should remain stationary. Slowly lower your arm and elbows until you reach the top.


The spider curl is a bicep curl lying on a bench with your arms straight out. Then, grab a pair of dumbbells and do an arm curl. Your arms will hang free below your body, so you can’t cheat your bicep curls.

You are looking for information about this bicep-burning move.

How to do:

  • Place an inclined bench at a 45-degree angle and lie face down, holding two dumbbells. Your palms should be facing forward.
  • Bend your elbows to raise the dumbbells. Contract your biceps for an additional 2 to 3 seconds at the top.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
  • During the entire move, keep your elbows and arms stationary.


After you have trained your biceps, you will want to train your triceps. You can use significantly more weight for the triceps than the biceps.

Because the triceps are three-headed, it is important to do exercises that target different angles. You should do at least one overhead extension to hit the long head. After working out, cool down. These best triceps exercises will keep your arms from getting tight or overworked.


This dumbbell exercise will ensure that you get all your triceps. Although you can perform this exercise standing up, some clients find kneeling more stable, allowing for a greater lift.

Pro tip: For most dumbbell triceps extensions, it is easier to use one dumbbell at once.

How to do:

  • Standing or sitting down with your feet hip-width apart is possible. Keep your core tight. Start by grasping the dumbbell’s inside with both your hands. Next, raise your arms straight up and hold the dumbbell directly overhead.
  • You can allow the dumbbell to return behind you by bending your elbows and keeping them still. Keep your elbows slightly pointing out, and lower the dumbbell as far as possible behind your head.
  • Do a deep stretch, bend your elbows and slowly straighten them to lift the weight.


The bench press is often misunderstood as a great exercise for the chest. It does work the chest. You will also notice that many men with strong benches have large triceps.

You can train the entire upper body with a bench press, but the elbow joint is where you will notice the most flexion and extension. Elbow extension is the primary movement after the arms are broken parallel to the chest. The best bench pressers can do a lot of triceps training.

When performing this arm workout, you will hold dumbbells with a neutral grip. This grip will allow for greater flexion and extension and less strain on the elbows and shoulders. You can do this arm exercise with a heavier weight.

How to do:

  • Two dumbbells should be held shoulder-width apart while you lie down on a bench.
  • Slowly raise the dumbbells overhead and straighten your elbows.
  • Once your arms are straightened, you can slowly lower the dumbbells by bending the elbows. Keep your elbows close to your body.
  • Let the dumbbells drop as low as you can to your chest. Begin to bend your arms and drive the dumbbells upwards. Concentrate on activating the triceps and straightening your arms.


A skull crusher is a great exercise with dumbbells. Although this fitness exercise is best done with a barbell, you can also use dumbbells. You can also experiment with various hand grips.

How to do:

  • Face up on a bench and place a dumbbell in each of your hands. Then, extend your arms straight up above your chest.
  • Traditionally, these are done with a neutral grip. However, you can also use pronated grips (palms facing forward).
  • Straighten your lower arms by bending your elbows while keeping them pointed. Bend your elbows to move the dumbbells overhead. You can have them reach your forehead or just slightly above your head.
  • Keep your elbows still and extend your arms to drive the dumbbells back into their original position.


The largest triceps powerlifters can find the legendary Dave Tate. The legendary Dave Tate, the founder of EliteFTS, is one example. His records include a 930-pound back squat, a bench press of 610 pounds, and a deadlift of 740 pounds. Tate is the real deal. Tate also invented the dumbbell arm exercises for the quadriceps.

How to do:

  • Place your dumbbells on a bench and face up. For this move, you should be able to go heavier.
  • You will start in a position where you hold your dumbbells high overhead. This is similar to a dumbbell chest press.
  • Slowly lower your dumbbells to the middle of your chest, keeping your elbows pointed. Keep your elbows in the same place.
  • Allow the dumbbells to come down, but don’t allow them to rest on your chest. Maintain tension.
  • Retain the original position by extending your elbows.


The shoulders, while not the arm, can be a bit lonely. They are still trained on arm day because they are integral to all upper-body movements. We will include them in arm exercises but treat them the same as the triceps and biceps. It means we will focus on accessory and hypertrophy movements.


Because it includes three movements, the dumbbell IYT raises makes it a great fitness routine. The front raise is your I. The 45-degree raise, which forms your Y, is the lateral raise, which creates a T shape.

These three movements together train the front and side delts from every angle. It will ensure that you have amazing muscle growth. You can do this arm workout standing or sitting. We recommend using lighter weights.

How to do:

  • Hold your dumbbells in either your hands or you can stand. Standing, bend your knees slightly to ensure that they stay locked. Start with your palms facing down, your dumbbells in front, and raise your right and left arms simultaneously in front of yourself.
  • Slowly lower your arms. Next, perform the same movement at 45 degrees. It will create a Y shape with your arms and your body. Slowly lower your arms down again.
  • Do a lateral lift for the T portion. Only pull the dumbbell down to your shoulder. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Now, you can start the move by forming an I.


The lateral raise is a simple, effective, and basic arm exercise. It is also one of the most basic moves. They are still a little bit unsure of how to do it. It is why we recommend you take the time to review our how-to.

We have already discussed the importance and benefits of training your lateral deltoid. The lateral raise is your golden ticket. Make sure you do!

How to do:

  • Keep your knees bent, feet flat, and feet about hip-width apart. Your trunk should remain upright. Keep your core engaged. You can hold dumbbells in one hand and your arms at your sides. Either an overhand or neutral grip is possible.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent and your arms straight. Then, raise your dumbbells to the side.
  • Throughout the movement, your arms will stay in the same position. Instead of focusing on the dumbbells, focus on raising your elbows.
  • Slowly lower your elbows until they reach shoulder height.


We love the Arnold press, a dumbbell arm exercise that targets the shoulders. It is also one of the few compound lifts on the list. It is a great fitness exercise for the rear, lateral and front deltoids. The Arnold press offers a wide range of motion with a lot of tension.

These overhead presses are performed with lighter weights and a greater emphasis on hypertrophy.

How to do:

  • Place a dumbbell on each side of your body and sit down. Place your palms outwardly.
  • Start the exercise with an overhead press. Keep your elbows pointed forward while you straighten your elbows to lift your dumbbells.
  • You will rotate your arms as you descend while simultaneously bringing your elbows forward.
  • Your arms should be straight in front of your face, with your palms facing forward. This is similar to a boxer protecting his head.
  • Push back and reverse this action so that you can do it again.



You can use dumbbells to train your arms. The loading scheme would place you in the 8+ rep scheme. Muscle hypertrophy is more important than strength when training your arms. However, strength is not important. Instead, it would help if you used big compound lifts to achieve that.

Additionally, dumbbell arm workout requiring heavier weights can prove dangerous and difficult. Using just one arm to stabilize the dumbbell can take much work. This action can put a lot of strain on the joints. A combination of the fact that you should use larger compound lifts to increase strength and stability, there is no reason not to go heavy.


You can already train the arms with each upper-body compound move. You do not need to do arm-specific exercises to build strong, massive arms. 

However, we believe in something other than arm-specific days (apart from a few rare occasions). You should include 2 to 4 exercises per week for each arm muscle in your workout routines for optimal arm training. Remember that advanced lifters will require more volume, while beginners may be able to do more isolation work. You also need to rotate our arms regularly.

It’s important to keep track of the progress of your bigger lifts, but not so much for arms training. Although you would like to see steady progress in your arm workout, the primary goal is to make each set fail momentarily.

You should do most of your work within 8-12 reps. However, you can go heavier with the shoulder and triceps or lighter with 20+ reps.


We hope that you enjoy these dumbbell arm exercises and will be able to get the most out of them. To build healthy habits, be consistent. Your life will change if you are consistent for 30 days. We believe that you can do it.

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