This is the best 5-minute arm workout I tried – and it's really effective!

There's no push ups involved either (phew!)

Woman doing dumbbell workout
(Image credit: Getty)

Sometimes when I’m working from home, I just want to do something on my lunch break that gets my body moving, but doesn’t take up heaps of time. Having to sit and work at a desk all day long can leave my upper body feeling stiff and holding a lot of tension, so I decided to try this five minute arm workout to get my joints and muscles moving again and, I can safely say, it’s really, really good.

What makes this workout so effective is that it’s five minutes of constant work — yep, no breaks (but it's only five minutes). Each exercise, which you perform for 30 seconds, is back-to-back so by the end of it you’re left with a great pump and I felt like I was rearing and ready to get back to work again. All you need is a pair of really light dumbbells, or you can use two cans of food or water bottles. Also, because you’re using very light weights, you can really focus on the movement of the exercise and engagement of all the muscles that you’re using.

I think the selection of exercises in this video are spot on and very beginner-friendly. They’re simple and easy to do. I definitely recommend following along with the video as having the 30-second timer on the screen whilst you’re doing it is very useful. Ready to give it a go yourself? Here’s what you need to do:

  • Around the worlds with a hold at the bottom
  • W press
  • Back rows
  • Bent-over tricep extensions
  • Shoulder press into overhead tricep extension
  • Half bicep curls
  • Elevated bicep curl
  • Bent-over lateral raises
  • Shoulder press into pec dec fly

As someone who does weight lifting four times a week I thought I had this workout in the bag, but by exercise three even my arms were burning. The length of this workout makes it a great upper body warm-up, but if you want to up the intensity even more, try repeating it three times.  If you don’t already own a pair of dumbbells, then take a look at our dumbbell guide and get your hands on some. They’re a really versatile piece of home gym equipment that you won’t regret buying. Fancy a longer arm workout? Check out this 12 minute dumbbell workout or this bodyweight workout for stronger arms and abs.

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.