Add muscle to your arms, abs and shoulders with this six-move dumbbell workout

Just set a timer for 15 minutes and grab some weights

A woman performing dumbbell shoulder press in the gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

No time to get to the gym tonight for an upper body session? No problem! That’s exactly what this express-style workout is for. In just 15 minutes you'll exert your biceps, triceps, shoulders and abs, so you can expect them to be left looking swole. Grab your gym water bottle for your rest periods (you’ll need it), a pair of dumbbells and let’s get to it! 

It’s often assumed that you have to spend hours lifting weights to make serious gains, which can be disheartening for those of us who don’t have this free time. But, this isn’t true and it’s where resistance circuit training comes into its prime. By performing exercises with little to no rest your muscles will be pushed to their limit, promoting growth. Not only that, but your heart rate will spike too, boosting your metabolism which will help to burn fat. 

This circuit consists of six exercises where you'll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, one after the other. Don't worry too much about how many reps you perform during this time, just focus on performing them with good form. You'll do four rounds of this workout in total, followed by a 90 second rest in between each one. Here's your workout:

  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Bicep curls
  • Sit-ups
  • Lateral raises
  • Tricep push-ups (can do from knees)
  • Reverse crunches

Now, don’t forget about training your chest and back muscles too; here’s a simple three-move dumbbell workout for your back to try and a five-move chest workout. That’s your entire upper body sorted, so you’ll need to make time to strengthen your lower body too to even out your physique; this four-move workout can help with just that. 

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.