Source: Paytra Gessler

A Dumbbell-Only Workout for a Toned & Defined Upper-Body

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A slammin’ upper-body strength-training day is a must-have in any workout routine! For all the goals you may have (weight-loss included), muscle balance is something to keep in mind. Muscle balance refers to equal strength within all the muscle groups in your body and is vital to help prevent injuries — both at the gym and through daily life. Why? If one prime muscle is way stronger than any other muscle, it could pull and eventually overpower the opposing muscle. Besides, an upper-body routine will help define your shoulders and arms, and who wouldn't want that?!

Below, here's an upper-body exercise routine I use that targets biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest muscles, and back muscles. Happy gym day!

1. Wide Grip Push-Ups

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Push-ups are a bodyweight exercise that uses the chest, triceps, and bicep muscles. Place your hands about five inches away from each shoulder and ensure that your head, neck, and body are all in a straight line. Lower yourself as low as you can, and then bring yourself up to starting position. For an easier form, place your knees on the ground while keeping the same body position. Complete 10 push-ups followed by a 30-second rest period. Repeat this three times.

2. Bicep Curls

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Using two dumbbell weights, stabilize your body by sitting up straight on a bench. Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides. Keep your elbows stable by planting them on both sides of your torso during the entire exercise. Next, simultaneously raise your hands towards your shoulders, and then lower them back down to starting position. Complete 12 bicep curls followed by one minute of rest. Repeat this three times.

3. Chest Presses

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Using two dumbbell weights, lay your back down on a bench with your feet placed firmly on the ground. Prop your chest up and slightly arch your back to stabilize your form during the exercise. Start with both hands high above your chest and palms facing forwards so that the weights are touching each other. Then, lower the weights down towards the side of your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Next, push your hands back up to starting position slowly while controlling the weights. Complete 12 chest presses followed by one minute of rest. Repeat this three times.

4. Shoulder Presses

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Using two dumbbell weights, sit up straight on a bench with your shoulders back. Stabilize your body by placing your feet firmly on the ground. Begin lowering the dumbbells down on both sides of your shoulders with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Then, push the weights up so that the dumbbells meet directly above your head with your arms straight. Next, lower the weights back down to starting position. Complete 12 shoulder presses followed by one minute of rest. Repeat this three times.

5. Standing Dumbbell Rows

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Using two dumbbell weights, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your torso slightly forward (as seen above), keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Begin with your arms straight in front of you and your palms towards your body. To begin, bend your elbows and rotate the weights so that your palms are facing each other. Keep the motion tight — your elbows and weights should be parallel to each other and close to your torso. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows back until the weights brush your sides. Then, return to starting position. Complete 12 rows followed by one minute of rest. Repeat this three times.

6. Standing Dumbbell Flyes

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Using two dumbbell weights, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your torso slightly forward (as seen above), keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Begin with your arms straight in front of you and your palms facing each other. To begin, slightly bend your elbows while raising your arms on each side in a “flying” motion. Keep your shoulders relaxed and neck straight. Then, slowly lower your hands back down to starting position. Complete 12 flyes followed by one minute of rest. Repeat this three times.

This upper-body workout can be completed in 30-45 minutes. But don’t be afraid to change it up to fit your fitness level by adding or taking away repetitions! Do you have a killer upper-body move? Comment below to share your favorite exercises!

SWEAT REPORTER | Paytra is a musician and writer out of New York City. She moved from a small town in Michigan at age 16 to pursue her dreams, and has been making her mark in the Big Apple ever since! She is a Business Management major and double-certified personal trainer with 6 years experience, so she loves to write about all things nutrition/fitness. You can find her in the studio, at the gym, writing in her journal, or playing piano: and if all else fails, she’s hitting up her favorite coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan! site: PaytraMusic.com