Upper-Body Dumbbell Workout | POPSUGAR Fitness


There’s always one exercise, (or three or four) that no matter how strong we get, is always challenging. Then there are the exercises we just can’t stand. If push-ups are your kryptonite, but you still want strong arms, I created this upper-body circuit for you. You’ll work your biceps, triceps, chest, and back without ever doing a single push-up.

And, before you get on me about a push-up free workout, let the record show that I have nothing against push-ups, and I think they’re a great exercise. This workout was designed for those who are beginners and cannot do push-ups just yet, those who have wrist injuries, and those who want to expand their upper-body exercise repertoire. Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s time to get started.

The Workout

Before jumping into the circuit, warm up with exercises like jumping jacks and plank walkouts. As a refresher, a circuit means that you’ll complete the designated reps of each of the exercises listed, and take little to no rest as you transition to the next exercise. Once you’ve done all the exercises to complete the circuit, take 90 seconds to two minutes of rest before starting your next round. Repeat this circuit for a total of four rounds.

  • Crab walks: 10 reps
  • Dumbbell bench press: 12 reps
  • Bent-over row: 12 reps
  • Banded assisted pull-ups: five reps for beginners, 10 reps (can be done without the band) for those who are more advanced
  • Bicep curl and overhead press: 12 reps

Don’t forget to adequately cool down afterward.


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