Here is a fun and dynamic upper body resistance routine utilizing dumbbells which will help you get stronger, toned, and increase your core strength.

You should perform a dynamic warm-up prior to executing this upper body workout.   The sets per exercise should be three and the rep count could be as follows: 8-10 for strength, 12 for muscle hypertrophy, 15-18 for toning and metabolic effect.   The resistance level should be set based on the person’s threshold, how they are managing the resistance at the last three repetitions per set.

Why this workout plan is so great

You do not need a lot of space.  You do not need to invest in a lot of expensive equipment. The workout can be executed outdoors (weather permitting) or indoors.  The workout would take no more than 45 minutes to complete.

Upper body workout with dumbbells

upper body workout with dumbbells2

1- Rotational Overhead Press – Standing in a neutral stance, shoulder width apart, raise the dumbbells to the starting position, chest high with the palms facing towards the chest, then press the dumbbells overhead while rotating the palms away from the chest, extend the elbows to a point where you do not lock them out, then return to the starting position, that is one repetition, repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

2- Single Leg Reverse Fly – While standing on one leg with the knee slightly bent and a dumbbell in each hand, bend over at the waist and extend the other leg up in the air.  Now plane off your torso, drop your arms down and let them hang below your chest.  Now lift your arms laterally until you are level with your torso, and then return them by dropping your arms down again, that is one repetition, repeat for the desired amount of repetitions and also switch legs during the set.

3- Dumbbell Connected Chest Press – Lying in a supine position, connect the left  and right dumbbells at their ends, do not let them separate, now press them up by extending the arms, then lower them back down towards the chest, repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

4- Single Leg Alternating Bicep Hammer Curls – Place a dumbbell in each hand, now standing in a neutral stance, place the palms of hands hand at each side of our body, now lift one leg and suspend the foot in the air, now alternate a bicep curl like you are holding onto a hammer, one arm ascends while the other arm descends, repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

5- Bent Over Dumbbell Tricep Extensions – Standing in a neutral stance with your feet less than shoulder width apart, bend over and crouch down, place a dumbbell in each hand and tuck your arms against the sides of your body, extend both arms back at the same time while keeping your upper arms parallel to the ground.  Return the arms back up to the chest, and then repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

6- Torso Rotations – Standing in a neutral stance, feet shoulder with apart, secure the dumbbell with both hands on the handle, with the dumbbell in a vertical position at the center of your torso waist high, rotate to one side with the hips moving first, and then the arms will follow. Once you have moved to a point just past your hip on one side, rotate back to the center position and the rotate to the opposite side to the point where you are just past the hip, the return to the center, that is one repetition, repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

7- Abdominal V-Ups – from a seated position, clasp a dumbbell between your hands, extend your legs straight out in front of you, then lie back and then extend your arms overhead.  At the same time raise your arms up towards your mid-section and your straight legs at the same time towards your mid-section into a “V” position, then lower your arms and legs to the extended position, then repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

8- Partial Getups – Lie down in a supine position with one light weight dumbbell in your hand and extend the matching leg out flat.  With the other leg bent at the knee and the foot placed down flat on the floor, extend the arm with the dumbbell in the hand up over your head.  Now as you sit-up raise the dumbbell up and over your head until your torso is in a vertical position, then return to the start position and then repeat for the desired number of repetitions for that side, then switch sides and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

Tips to max results

Remember to utilize the following…preworkout hydration and nutrition with a ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates over protein and post workout nutrition and hydration with a ration of 3:1 protein over carbohydrates.  Vary the days that you train when using this program.  Change the order of exercise execution.

Set up some short range goals as to what you want to achieve from using this program and how you will reward yourself for obtaining those goals!

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans