Forget push-ups — this 10-minute standing arm workout builds your triceps, biceps and shoulders in just 10 moves

a woman doing a bicep curl with a pair of dumbbells
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Push-ups and the bench press are great upper-body exercises, but you don’t have to hit the floor to pump up your arms. As this standing dumbbell workout shows, you can stay on two feet and still work the arms and shoulders from a variety of angles to increase your strength.

The workout has been created by fitness trainer Fit By Mik and can be viewed on her YouTube channel. As a result of not having to drop into push-ups or planks, Mikala describes it as a wrist-friendly workout, and all you need to do it are a couple of dumbbells.

Mikala suggests medium weights of 5-12 lbs and it’s definitely wise not to go too heavy with your dumbbells when first attempting the workout because your arms will quickly tire as you move through 10 exercises in just 10 minutes. A set of the best adjustable dumbbells is a good option that allows you to try different weights.

What is the 10-minute standing arms workout?

For each of the 10 arms exercises you’ll be working for 45 seconds then taking a 15-second rest. Try and hold onto your weights during the rest periods rather than dropping them, because this will make it easier to start the next exercise.

Mikala demonstrates the move to come during each rest break, so keep your eyes on-screen to get the info you need to keep your form on point. Move with control when doing your reps to ensure good form and maximize time under tension and help your muscles grow. 

This is especially important with the lateral raises, where it’s easy to ‘cheat’ and use momentum by rocking your hips forward to help get the weights up. Many of the moves involved are isolation exercises like biceps curls that target one muscle group directly, mostly the biceps and triceps, so you’ll definitely feel the benefits in your upper arms after the session.

The main advantage of doing a standing workout is that not having to get up and down puts less impact through your body, and with this workout you avoid putting pressure on your wrists through moves like push-ups.

Staying standing also means you have to move less in between each exercise too, so you can focus on your recovery during the rest periods, and watch the video to see Mikala’s instructions for the next exercise you’ll be doing.

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Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.