Forget push-ups, planks, and the bench press for just a moment — this 10-minute standing arm workout uses two dumbbells to build muscle and strengthen your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. So if wrist weight-bearing exercises are off the table, you won’t need them for the next 10 minutes.
Of course, there’s more than one way to build strength and muscle. Calisthenics is a type of bodyweight training that develops muscle all over without lifting heavy weights. But if you do have a set of dumbbells to hand (I love training with these best adjustable dumbbells for weightlifting at home), bookmark this quick and effective arm workout.
The workout from fitbymik has garnered the attention of gym bunnies everywhere (including me), with over 1.2 million views and counting. The home workout targets the bicep, triceps, and shoulder muscles to produce a fiery pump and burn in your upper body and also activates muscles in your chest and back.
But bear in mind that you should always lift weights suitable for your strength level.
Mik uses 8lb weights but recommends a medium set of dumbbells between 5-12lb. The 10-minute standing arm workout will ‘sculpt and strengthen your upper body,’ Mik says, but remember that no single workout can develop strength or sculpt lean muscle. Body recomposition and muscle definition are outcomes of factors like body fat percentage, diet, and regular exercise. To find out more, learn how to calculate your body fat percentage and why it matters.
“This is a standing wrist-friendly workout with zero planks or pushups! So grab your weights and let's get ready to feel the burn,” she adds. Each interval will be 45 seconds on and 15 seconds rest. So if you want to upskill your home fitness, this is accessible for all levels. And for an effective full-body blitz, why not add this 7-move kettlebell leg workout after?
Watch fitbymik’s 10-minute standing arm workout with dumbbells
I recommend watching the video for tips to perfect your form and learning how to do each exercise with proper engagement first. Keep your core tight, avoid slouched shoulders or arching your lower back, and always move with control.
When exercising for time rather than reps, I like to lift lighter weights and maximize reps; this taps into endurance training and is a great way to work your muscles hard toward fatigue. In 45 seconds, you should be able to achieve at least 10 reps of each exercise, but try to maintain a consistent pace and rep target.
During high-rep arm workouts, your arm muscles can fatigue quicker as these muscles are smaller than the large, powerful glute and quad muscles in your legs, so even filled water bottles should kick up a muscle-trembling burn.
The short home workout includes new moves every minute, each targeting your arms and shoulders, including triceps, biceps, and shoulder complex, and muscles in your chest and back.
What I love about this spicy arm workout is that Mik adopts various muscle-building techniques to maximize efficiency and target as many upper-body muscles as possible. You can find some of them in 5 clever ways to build muscle without lifting heavier weights.
On some rounds, she combines two exercises into one move to stimulate more muscles through ranges of motion (ROM) and planes of motion. ROM is the ability of a body part to move around a joint, and the plane of motion is the direction you move in (forward, twisting, and side-to-side).
For example, the first exercise includes four reps of dual bicep curls followed by four half-bicep curls. By using partial range of motion, your arms will get a serious pump. Research has even shown that partial reps could trigger muscle growth through more significant hypoxia — limited oxygen to the muscle tissue.
Alternating frontal and lateral raises use different planes of motion, which helps stimulate underused, weaker muscles. Throughout the day, you move in various directions. Your muscles should also be encouraged to move this way during workouts, and doing so helps build a more balanced and agile body.
If your goal is to stimulate muscle growth, mixing compound exercises and isolation moves is a potent combo — and both feature in the arm workout. Upright rows target the shoulder complex and upper back, whereas tricep extensions focus on one muscle group — your triceps. Although compound exercises work more joints and muscles, isolation exercises help reach fatigue quicker.
During alternating exercises, you will work unilaterally. Research has shown that single-sided exercises could strengthen underused muscles, improve balance and stability, and indirectly stimulate muscles on the other side of the body — called cross-education. If you’re looking to maximize arm muscle growth in a short time, definitely hit save on this one.
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Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods. When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.