Dumbbell-Only Better Arm Workout

When I was asked to make a muscle back in my competitive days I would invariably hitch my sleeve up and squeeze. Nowadays we want to be lean with six-pack abs. We no longer want huge guns, but leaner, more muscular bodies. However, arms are still a mainstay. With this dumbbell-only arm workout you can build better arms in short order. All you need is a pair of dumbbells, an adjustable bench, and around 20 minutes.

Arm training shouldn’t be complicated. Their function is pretty simple and to the point. We either contract or extend at the elbow. Now I know it’s a bit more involved than that, but I’ll spare you the anatomy lesson and get right to the point.

I see better arms two different, but related ways. First, if you’re pressing and pulling in your current training program then you’re already building your arms. Bench presses, overhead presses, dips, pull-ups, pull-downs, and rows all have bearing on your arm development. Second, I see isolated arm training as finishing up the area for maximum development.

With that in mind you don’t need a ton of time, exercises, or sets. All you need is around 20 minutes and a little purposeful execution to get the job done. Let’s get to it!


The Dumbbell-Only Better Arm Workout

Superset 1:

Lying dumbbell extension (nosebreakers) with standing dumbbell curl 3 x 10-12

Superset 2:

Behind the head one-arm triceps extension with incline bench dumbbell curl 3 x 10-12

Superset 3:

Bent-over dumbbell kickback with bent-over concentration curls 3 x 10-12


*Rest one minute between each superset and try moving through the pairs of exercises with little-to-no rest.


Happy lifting!

6 thoughts on “Dumbbell-Only Better Arm Workout

  1. What kind of split do you suggest to do this workout with?

    I’m doing your 3 day split Chest/Back, Shoulders/Arms, Legs.

    I’m doing 2 exercises for each biceps and triceps as written in your workouts. Is this type of training geared towards if I’m trying to prioritize my arms? If so, I like it 🙂

    My shoulders are also another body part that is always lagging. I’m sure you would only want to prioritize one muscle at a time but how would I do this if I need more side and rear delts? Add a sets?

    Thanks Brad!


    1. Hi Nick. The split you listed is perfect for this workout. Just perform it twice per week.

      Regarding shoulders, I’m a big believer in higher rep sets. The high weight/low rep stuff just makes my shoulders sore and hurt with not much size. Try doing sets of 15 to 20 for shoulders prioritizing side and rear delts first to pre-exhaust and then hit some light, high rep presses at 20 reps each to scorch them!

      Try this on for size (pun intended):

      – Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise supersetted with dumbbell side laterals 3-4 x 15-20
      – Upright row supersetted with rope face pull 3 x 15-20
      – Seated dumbbell press supersetted with daumbbell or barbell shrug 3 x 20

      That should do it!


  2. Hey Brad!

    So I did the shoulder workout you posted here for me and WOW! Really had to check my ego at the door with this one. I think I used 10lbs for the side and rear raises.. Hahaha! Warmed up with 5lbs and was thinking “Already burning!”hahaha. I haven’t felt that in my delts ever like that before! 🙂

    Thank you. Ive been looking for ways to prioritize certain muscles on this type of split and this really is something I want to stick with. Cant wait to see the results from it once I’m able to lift heavier in these rep ranges. These rep ranges will build muscle right?

    Going to save the arm workout for another time when I’m not prioritizing my shoulders.! 🙂

    Thanks Brad


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