How to Get Toned Arms? 15 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Arms

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone who is just starting their health and wellness journey, everyone knows the importance of having a strong and toned upper body. Not only do toned arms make you look fantastic, but a strong upper body with good lean muscle mass helps you in your daily activities like lifting, pulling, pushing, throwing, etc. Good arm and upper body strength helps you maintain balance, protects your bones from injury, and stabilises your joints while moving. Furthermore, it also helps to improve your posture! And getting that arm strength is not as difficult as you may think! All you have to do is incorporate your upper body workout into your regular exercise routine, and use a simple pair of dumbbells! But what are these dumbbell exercises for arms and how should they be executed?

A dumbbell is nothing but a free weight, made up of a small bar with weighted discs on both ends, that is used for training and strengthening upper body muscles. Majorly there are 2 types of dumbbells available in the fitness space: fixed dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells. Most fitness spaces like gyms and workout centres will have several fixed dumbbells, which come in several shapes, like circular dumbbells and hex dumbbells, to name a few, and in varying sizes and weights. For home workouts, it is recommended that you get adjustable dumbbells so that you can adjust the weight as your exercises change.

In this article, we shall outline some of the best exercises that you should incorporate while doing arm workouts with weights. These basic dumbbell exercises are very easy to do, and if you do them consistently, you will notice considerable and significant improvements in your arm strength and an increase in muscle mass. We shall also be outlining some of the other benefits of incorporating dumbbells into your workouts, along with some tips to keep in mind while crushing that arm workout!

Best Dumbbell Exercises for Arms

In this section, we shall explain and highlight some of the best arm day exercises. We will focus on three major muscle groups: your biceps, triceps, and forearms. All the exercises mentioned below, when done in combination with each other, will help you have a holistic upper body workout that strengthens your muscles and improves your posture and general body equilibrium.

Dumbbell Exercises for Biceps

  1. Dumbbell Bicep Curls

    One of the best bicep exercises with dumbbells, the bicep curl is very simple to execute. You can either do it standing upright or sitting down. Either way, make sure your back is straight and your core is engaged. Hold a dumbbell in both hands facing upwards and rest it near your hips. Slowly, while exhaling, bring your arms upwards towards your face using your biceps strength to bring your weights up. Lower the dumbbell in a controlled manner and repeat 10-15 times. This exercise mainly strengthens the long and short head of your bicep muscles, along with the brachialis muscle.

  2. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

    Another one of the best dumbbell bicep exercises is the dumbbell hammer curl. This is a simple variation of the bicep curl, but instead of your palms facing upwards, rest them so that they face your thighs. Then repeat the motion of curling your arm upwards from your hips towards your face and shoulders while exhaling. Pause, and deliberately bring your arms down to rest in the same position, and repeat 10-15 times. This exercise works out the long head of your bicep, along with the brachialis and brachioradialis.

  3. Incline Dumbbell Curl

    Take an incline bench and set it at a 45-degree angle. This is a seated variation of the bicep curl, and the steps are the same as the bicep curl, where you have to rest your hands loose near the floor with palms facing upwards and try to bring your arms up towards your face and shoulders. Be sure not to move your upper arms and use the biceps and elbows as your hinging points. Keep your back in position and keep your core engaged, as you deliberately bring your arms back down and repeat the exercise. This exercise strengthens your biceps brachii, and the bench provides an added challenge and helps work out the entire muscle group.

  4. Dumbbell Spider Curl

    A variation of the incline dumbbell curl; this time, you are lying on your stomach on the bench instead of your back. Loosely rest your arms near the floor, and without moving your upper body or losing stability, bring your arms upwards towards your shoulders. Use your elbow as a hinging point, and make sure to use your biceps to pull the weight upwards without bunching up your shoulders. Bring your arms down in a deliberate motion and repeat. This is one of the best dumbbell biceps workouts, as you have the additional factor of gravity to make this exercise more challenging.

  5. One-Arm Dumbbell Curl Over Incline Bench

    In this exercise, you are concentrating on slow and deliberate movements, which makes it an extremely effective one dumbbell arm workout. Stand behind an incline bench set at a 45-degree angle, and rest your arms on it in such a way that your shoulders are placed directly on top of the bench surface, like fitting in a piece of a jigsaw. Bend your body a bit forward to get comfortable, and spread your legs at a comfortable shoulder-wide distance apart for stability. Rest your arm loose on the bench, with your palms facing upwards, and then slowly bring your arm upwards towards your shoulders while exhaling. Make sure your movement is deliberate and only concentrate on using your elbow as a hinge, with the biceps contributing to the upward-pulling force, and then bring your arms down and repeat 10-15 and then change sides.

  6. Concentration curls

    Just like the previous exercise, this isn't a biceps dumbbell workout for beginners, as it is an extremely effective way to strengthen and isolate your bicep muscles. You should sit on a bench or chair with your legs spread apart and your upper body leaning forward while keeping your back and shoulders straight and your core engaged. Place on hand in such a way that your elbow is resting on your inner thigh on the same side, almost like a resting spot. This is your starting position, where your arm is bent at a 90-degree angle. Then, with your palms facing upwards and using your elbow as a hinge, bring your arm upwards towards your face, and then bring it down back to the starting position in a slow, deliberate motion. Repeat this motion 10-15 times, and you can even use heavier weights for this, as you have added support.

Triceps Workouts with Dumbbells

  1. Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

    This is an arm strength workout, as well as a triceps workout! Your shoulders, your core and the long end of your triceps all get engaged during this exercise. You can do it seated or standing, and it uses only a single dumbbell! You need to keep your back straight, hold one end of a dumbbell with both hands and take it behind your head. Raise the dumbbell above your head first, and slowly lower it as much as you can, while exercising control over your pace and ensuring that your shoulders are not rounding and bending from the effort. Use your elbow as your sole hinging point, and repeat the exercise by raising the dumbbell to your head each time. Ensure that your upper body and arms remain still, and use your triceps to exert force.

  2. Dumbbell Skull Crusher

    The biceps and triceps work in tandem when you are doing pushing exercises, so strong triceps are integral for an effective workout. While several dumbbell exercises for biceps and triceps engage both muscle groups, the skull crusher isolates your triceps muscles and strengthens them for combination workouts. You need to lie down for this exercise, with your knees bent and your feet firmly planted on the floor. Hold your dumbbells and extend your arms straight towards the ceiling, holding them aloft. Then, using your elbow as a hinge and not moving your upper body, bend your elbow toward your face and try that the dumbbells rest on either side of your face. Ensure that your elbows stay close to your upper body at all times and do not flare out outwards, as that may lead to injury and strain. Bring your arm back to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times.

  3. Dumbbell Kickbacks

    This muscle is also excellent for isolating your triceps and strengthening them, along with your shoulders. For this exercise, stand with your knees bent slightly, hold your dumbbells and let your arms rest on each side parallax to your upper body, with your palms facing inwards. Bend slightly from your waist while ensuring that your back is straight. Exhale, and while using your elbow as a hinge and not moving your upper body, extend your arms backwards so that the dumbbells move slightly behind, almost like a pendulum swing, make sure that your arms stay close to your torso and bring your arms black to your starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

  4. Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

    This compound exercise helps you focus on the lateral and medial heads of your triceps muscles, which will help you maintain strength for other dumbbell workouts. This is very similar to a close grip bench press, but instead, your palms are facing inwards. Lay down flat on a bench and adjust your upper body. Raise your arms just like you would in a bench press, but ensure that your palms are facing inward and your elbows are tucked into your upper body. Then, lower the weight to your chest and go back to your starting position in an explosive motion. Ensure that your dumbbells are parallel to each other and that your elbows are always tucked in, as this will prevent your chest from exerting the majority of the force.

Dumbbell Exercise for Forearms

  1. Zottman Curl

    Contrary to popular belief, compound exercises are not enough to strengthen and train your forearms. As your forearms are responsible for providing strength to your grip muscles, forearm workouts with dumbbells, especially like the zottman curl, as perfect for isolating your forearms and exercising those muscles. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, with your hands holding dumbbells resting loosely on your sides, with your palms facing inwards. Raise your arms using your elbow as a hinge, ensure that your upper body is not taking the majority strain of the movement, and bring your arms upwards towards your shoulders. Then, twist your wrist so that your palms face your face, and then twist your wrist again so that your palms face outwards. Then, maintaining this position, bring your arms down to your sides, and then twist your wrists so that your palms face inwards, like the starting position. Repeat 10-15 times in slow deliberate movements.

  2. Dumbbell Wrist Rotations

    One of the most effective dumbbell forearm exercises is the dumbbell wrist rotation. You can use this exercise to isolate your forearm muscles and strengthen them, along with your grip muscles. Hold your dumbbells tightly with your palms facing downwards, and your arms out from the elbows. Ensure that your elbows are tucked into your abdomen and your upper body isn't moving. Then, rotate your wrists until your palms are facing upwards, and then rotate them back, almost like turning a key in a lock. Repeat this 10-15 times.

  3. Hex Dumbbell Hold

    Another great arm strength workout is the hex dumbbell hold. This exercise is used to strengthen and develop your grip muscles. It is recommended to do this exercise using hexagonal or hex dumbbells, are they are easier to hold. Simply place your dumbbells vertically on the floor on each side. Then, bend down and place your palms firmly on the top of the dumbbell, making sure you have a proper grip on the top of the dumbbell, and sure that your fingertips cover the ends of the dumbbell so that you can grip it properly. Then, simply stand up and hold the dumbbells vertically on the sides of your body for as long as you can.

  4. Wrist Curl

    When you are doing arm exercises with weights, you should not forget your wrists and flexor muscles. In a wrist curl, you need to be seated either on a chair or a bench and lean forward slightly so that your forearms rest on your thighs, your hands holding the dumbbells are falling slightly beyond your knees, and your wrists are resting on your knees. Then, slowly extend your wrist downward, and let the dumbbell move downward until it touches your knees. Then, flex your forearm and twist your wrists upwards, as if you are flexing your wrist up and down, without moving your upper body and arms from their position. Repeat 10-15 times in slow, deliberate motions.

  5. Wrist Abduction

    This exercise is very similar to a wrist curl, in the sense that your upper arm is tucked into your abdomen and bent at a 90-degree angle. You should do this exercise standing up, and instead of moving your wrist up and down with your palms facing upwards, you do so when your palms are facing your body, and then flex your wrists up and down with the dumbbells in hand, to isolate and strengthen your forearms and grip muscles.

Benefits of a Dumbbell Arm Workout

There are many benefits to incorporating arm exercises with weights into your workout routine. Some of the key advantages are listed below:

  • Increased Strength and Muscle Tone

    • Stronger Arms: Your arm muscles become stronger and larger, which means better performance in everyday activities, like lifting heavy items, doing manual labour work, etc.
    • Improved Muscle Tone: Your muscle tone improves as lifting weights helps define your muscles' structure and gives you a more attractive and sculpted appearance.
  • Enhanced Functional Fitness:

    • Improved Daily Activities: Daily activities like carrying heavy weights, maintaining good posture, holding children, or even opening jars will become easier and more manageable. You will feel your body coursing with strength and reap the health benefits of having a sustainable and high-stamina physique.
    • Better Athletic Performance: If you play sports which rely on upper body strength and involve body contact or throwing, catching, or push-and-pull activities, then having a strong upper body will help you reap many rewards.

Tips to Remember Before Doing Dumbbell Exercise with Arm

  1. Start with Lighter Weights: Start with lighter weights so that you can understand the mechanics of the exercise and explore the full range of motion involved. You can always use heavier weights once you have mastered the exercise. Additionally, you should start with the minimum number of reps, so that you do not overexert yourself, and once your body has gained that strength, you can increase your reps and weights to challenge yourself.
  2. Warm-up and Cool-Down: Even the best dumbbell arm workouts will be ineffective if you do not do them properly and strain your muscles. Always remember to warm up before a workout, just to get your blood pumping and your body ready for the upcoming exercise. Post your workout, always remember to stretch and cool down, as you do not want to be sore or injured the next day.
  3. Exercise Control with Deliberate Movements: Ensure that none of your movements have any swinging or excessive momentum. Letting gravity or momentum do the job for you may seem easy, but it will reduce the effectiveness of your workout, as well as lead to the risk of unnecessary strain and injury. Even if you are doing an explosive movement exercise, ensure that your return to holding position is steady and controlled, to prevent any hasty injuries or clumsiness.
  4. Just Breathe: Never stop breathing while you are working out. Do not hold your breath or make it erratic with effort. Try to time your reps and movements with your breathing, so that your body moves cohesively and you do not feel drained. Always remember to exhale when you do a rep, and inhale when you return to your starting position.


  1. How heavy should the weight be for dumbbell arm exercises?

    You should always start with the smallest weights, as you need to let your body get used to the workout. You can then gradually increase your weights according to what feels comfortable, or according to the advice of your trainer.

  2. Can I build arms with dumbbells?

    Of course, you can! If you are looking to learn how to increase mass in arms, then incorporate dumbbells into your upper body workout to build jacked arm muscles that are both functional and attractive.

  3. Is 2 kg weight enough to tone arms?

    It may be enough in the beginning, but as your body increases in strength, you may need heavier weights to keep pace with your body’s capacity. The workout should not start feeling too easy, as that means it is losing its effectiveness. You can try heavier weights or increasing the number of reps you do to make up for it.

  4. Is a 3 kg dumbbell enough for biceps?

    It may be enough in the beginning, but you will need heavier and more complex weights as your body increases its strength and push-and-pull capacity.

  5. Are 2 kg dumbbells good for beginners?

    It is the perfect weight for beginners and the best weight range to use when you are just learning the various exercises and understanding their various ranges of motion.

  6. Is 1kg dumbbell enough to tone arms?

    It may be enough in the beginning, but you will need heavier and more complex weights as your body increases its strength and push-and-pull capacity.

  7. Can I tone my arms with dumbbells? /Can dumbbells help slim arms?

    Yes, you can! The best exercises for flabby arms involve using dumbbells to tone, strengthen and increase the lean muscle mass of your arms and upper body.