Build upper body mass with a pair of dumbbells and this five-move kneeling workout

Doing a workout kneeling actually works your core more

Man on his knees looking at his watch with a dumbbell in front of him
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If it’s muscle and strength you’re looking to develop in your upper body then using free weights, like a pair of dumbbells, is one of the most effective ways to do this. But if you’re a little pressed for time and don’t have hours for a session, then this 25 minute dumbbell workout will do nicely. Grab yourself an exercise mat though, as all the movements are performed kneeling.

If you’re wondering if this workout is done kneeling for those days you’re feeling a little ‘tired’, you’re wrong. According to BarBend: “Lifting from your knees trains muscles that are often under used while lifting from standing or sitting: when your legs are out of the equation, you require more hip mobility, core stability, and emphasis from the working muscles.” So, this workout is also great for your core too!

For this workout you've got five different kneeling exercises, with some exercises combining two movements into one. You're going to aim for 12 to 15 reps for each exercise (on each side where applicable) and you want to do a minimum of three rounds. Opt for a pair of light to medium dumbbells, but avoid anything heavy, as you've got a lot of reps to get through! Here's your workout:

  • Kneeling hex press into an upright row
  • Bicep curl into a lateral raise
  • Wide row into a lateral tricep extension
  • Around the worlds into a front raise
  • Shoulder press into tricep overhead extension

Alternatively, you could also use a pair of two light kettlebells or even just fill up two large water bottles and have your own DIY dumbbells instead. The keg water bottle in our best gym water bottle guide make brilliant dumbbells. If you're after more fast, but effective dumbbell workouts, we've got a great 15 minute full-body workout for you to try, or if it's core strength you want to target, why not try this standing dumbbell workout? Switch it up from your usual floor crunches.

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.