Build your back, biceps and triceps with these five simple dumbbell exercises

No-frills, just classic exercises that you can do at-home to help build muscle

Woman doing a dumbbell row
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Upper body workouts can sometimes feel complicated, especially if you’re new to strength training. Do you do a push and pull session, or just fit it all into an ‘upper body’ workout? Then you’ve got to decide which exercises you’ll do out of the hundreds that exist. This workout simplifies it all and consists of five classic dumbbell exercises that'll help you achieve gains in your back, biceps and triceps. It'll take no longer than 25 minutes, so grab a pair of dumbbells and let's get to it!

Many of us dedicated our time to training our upper body for the aesthetical changes it delivers, like chiselled arms, a wide back and big chest. However, it's important to note that it also brings lots of functional benefits too. According to Red Bull, having a strong upper body improves our posture, can help our performance during other workouts, as well as make everyday tasks easier (such as carrying items or pushing things). 

For this workout you’ve only got five exercises to get through that will target your back, biceps and triceps. Opt for a medium pair of dumbbells for these exercises, nothing majorly heavy, as you’re aiming for eight to 12 reps of each exercise. Also, make sure you have an exercise mat beneath you, as some movements are done on the floor. Here’s your workout:

  • Dumbbell bent-over wide row
  • Dumbbell hammer curls
  • Dumbbell pull-overs
  • Dumbbell standing rear flys
  • Dumbbell bent-over row

As well as training our upper body, it's important not to skip leg day either — you want you body to be well-balanced and proportionate so that it can perform functionally. Here's a four-move dumbbell workout that targets your legs and glutes, or if you're pushed for time, try this full-body dumbbell workout and kill two birds with one stone.

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.