Tone and tighten your arms with a pair of dumbbells and these two tri-sets

Two workout sets are ideal when you're pushed for time

Woman performing dumbbell lateral raises
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lots of arm workouts singularly target the triceps, biceps and/or the shoulders. But if you don’t have time to work on each of these muscles separately, then give this tri-set workout a go instead. As well as developing muscle in your triceps and biceps, it’ll also target your shoulders too — that's your entire arm covered — and all you need is a pair of dumbbells.

‘What’s a tri-set?’ you ask. Well, you’ve probably heard us mention supersets, where you perform two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. A tri-set is exactly the same, but it’s with three exercises instead of two. According to Built For Athletes: “Tri-sets are extremely effective at producing hypertrophy but also strength gains. They generally increase time under tension, a critical factor in generating muscle growth.” And if it’s toned arms you’re after, then building muscle is the way to achieve this. 

This workout is only made up of two tri-sets, so there’s six exercises in total that you’ll split into two groups of three. You’ll complete three rounds of the first tri-set, aiming for 10 to 12 reps of each exercise (on both sides where applicable), before moving onto the second tri-set and doing the same. A weight bench is ideal for some of the exercises, but if you don’t have one you can just use something sturdy, like a small table or a chair. Here’s your workout:

Tri-set 1

  • Rainbow raises
  • Concentration curls 
  • Tricep kickbacks

Tri-set 2

  • Shoulder press
  • Bicep curl
  • Skull crusher

If you enjoyed this format of training with the tri-sets, then we've got plenty of other similar workouts, like this shoulder superset workout, that will only take you 25 minutes, or even this fast full-body superset workout. Remember, if you don't own a pair of dumbbells, you could always opt for other free weights, like a pair of kettlebells, or you could just buy one adjustable dumbbells and do each exercises singularly on each side. Alternatively, DIY dumbbells are best created with two large water bottles.

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.