You only need this 8-move seated dumbbell workout to strengthen your upper body

Target your biceps, triceps, back and chest with this easy workout

Man doing bicep curls
(Image credit: Getty)

Another day, another workout. But this one is for those of you who want to tone and strengthen your upper body using just a pair of dumbbells. That’s right, no complicated equipment required or needing to leave the house and head down to the gym after work – just these eight moves and some dumbbells are plenty enough to build muscle.

This workout is also interesting because you do the entire thing seated, not standing. This has a number of benefits. Firstly, it’s great for those who have joint issues who experience a lot of pain from standing, or struggle with mobility. But, secondly, being seated completely isolates your upper body, meaning only these muscles do the work without any recruitment from your lower body, which causes them to work harder. 

This upper body workout has a great range of exercises to target your biceps, triceps, chest and back. Most of the exercises consist of just one upper body movement, but there are a couple thrown in there that combine two dumbbell exercises into one, just to make things a little more challenging so you can really get the most out of your at-home workout. Do eight to 10 reps for each exercise with a 40 second rest in between each set. Repeat the workout two times, but if you think you have extra steam in the tank, go for three. Here's what you'll be doing:

  • Pec deck
  • Bent over hammer curls
  • Single dumbbell tricep extensions
  • Lateral raises
  • Concentration curl straight into dumbbell front raise (both sides) 
  • Single dumbbell press straight into halo
  • Seated rows
  • Y press straight into tricep extension

Eight to 10 reps is quite a lot, so opt for a medium dumbbell, don't go for anything too heavy that you can only achieve a few reps with. The reason this workout has a rep range of eight to 10 is because it's helping you grow muscle. If you're really lacking on time and need something even quicker, then check out this 12-minute dumbbell arm workout. If you're just keen to learn a little more about the best arm exercises for beginners, we've got a guide on that too.

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.