Working Out at Home: Dumbbell Exercises for Upper Body

Working Out at Home - Upper Body Dumbbell Workout

Let’s Talk: Working Out at Home

Good afternoon, everyone! I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since I wrote my last post. My days have been pretty busy lately, especially with my freelance social media/digital marketing job. (I work for a jewelry retailer so it’s prime sales time with the holidays fast approaching!) I’ve also been busy sticking to my training (and meal) plan, which calls for twice daily workouts four to five days a week (I do fasted cardio in the morning and then a strength & cardio routine in the evening).

This week, however, my trainer is away on a much-needed vacation (he works 12-hour days, seven days a week!). While I’m glad he’s getting some time away—he certainly deserves it!—I’ve been doing so well with my training that I was a little disappointed when I realized I would be on my own for most of the week. Some of the exercises in my workout routines require gym equipment like the cable machine and pec deck machine, so I thought that I’d have to go to Planet Fitness to do my strength training workouts. However, I know the gym gets busy in the evening, which is when I typically do my strength routine, and with the amount of work I have with my freelance job I really don’t have all day—or night—to spend at the gym waiting for equipment to open up. So I decided I’ll just do my upper body workouts at home this week, using alternative dumbbell exercises for the exercises I’d typically do on machine or with other equipment.

(Luckily Adam comes back Thursday, so I’ll be doing my leg workout—which requires heavier dumbbells than I have at home & more machines—with him in the gym.)

I had to do some research to find alternatives for some of the moves, like cable crossovers, incline barbell press and plate-loaded incline press. Below are the at-home upper-body dumbbell workouts I’ll be doing this week. My workout split is shoulders, traps, and triceps on Monday, then chest and biceps on Wednesday.

Upper-Body Dumbbell Workout #1: Shoulders, Traps, and Triceps

Upper Body Dumbbell Exercise - Arnold Dumbbell Press Upper-Body Dumbbell Workout - Arnold Dumbbell Press

Upper-Body Dumbbell Exercise - Standing Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press Standing Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press

Upper-Body Dumbbell Exercise - Side Lateral Raises Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises

Upper-Body Dumbbell Exercise - Triceps Kickback Triceps Dumbbell Kickback
Photos:Bodybuilding.com

  1. Arnold Dumbbell Press – 5 sets 15 reps (I use 12-lb. dumbbells.)
  2. Standing Dumbbell Press (neutral grip) Superset With Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises – 4 sets 15 reps (I use 10-lb. dumbbells for the Shoulder Press; I start with 10-lb. dumbbells for the Side Lateral Raises and drop to 8 lbs. once I start reaching failure.)
  3. Tricep Dumbbell Kickback – 4 sets 15 reps (I use 8-lb. dumbbells.)

Upper-Body Dumbbell Workout #2: Chest and Biceps

Upper-Body Exercise - Decline Push-up
Photo: Bodybuilding.com

Swiss Ball Preacher Curl
Photo: Fitbie.com

  1. Decline Pushups – 5 sets 10-12 reps (This is an at-home alternative for the Incline Barbell Press.)
  2. Flat Champagne Press – 4 sets 10 reps (watch a video of this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPVu-afccHo)
  3. Lying Dumbbell Cross Overs – 4 sets 10-12 reps (at-home alternative for cable cross overs; watch how to do it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpSu2ZSZgSI)
  4. Lying Dumbbell Flys Superset With Flat Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets 15 reps (at-home alternatives for pec deck flys and plate-loaded incline press)
  5. One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls – 3 sets 15 reps (These can be performed at home on a Swiss ball instead of a preacher curl bench. See photo above.)
  6. Dumbbell Preacher Curls (both arms at the same time) – 4 sets 12 reps
  7. Concentration Hammer Curls – 4 sets 12 reps

Do you prefer working out at the gym or at home? Do you have any dumbbell alternatives for machine exercises? Share them in the comments!

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