The Perfect 10-Minute Dumbbell HIIT Workout for a Sculpted Upper Body

Your typical upper-body routine with all the usual arm exercises — like biceps curls, shoulder presses and maybe some push-ups — has a well-earned place in a balanced fitness plan, but it's not necessarily the most exciting workout of the week.

That's about to change: Although this at-home circuit is only 10 minutes long, it's designed to send "your heart rate through the roof," says Luke Milton, certified personal trainer and founder of the online HIIT program Training Mate.

Not a second of those 10 minutes goes to waste, so don't be surprised if you find yourself a little — or quite a bit — out of breath. Milton suggests using medium-difficulty dumbbells, but if your arms are starting to feel too shaky, you can still build strength and burn calories using just your body weight (or dumbbell alternatives like soup cans or water bottles).

Giving each exercise 100 percent of your effort in this quick session will pay off, Milton says. "I want everyone after this circuit is finished to go down to your local sunglasses shop and pick some up, because your future's looking bright."

Now that you've finally found an upper-body workout to get excited about, grab your weights and prepare to sweat.

Tip

Prep your muscles by running through some upper-body warm-up exercises, including arm circles and swings.

The Workout

Milton will lead you through two rounds of five different upper-body exercises, performing each move for 45 seconds. Although the goal is to rest for just 15 seconds between exercises, take longer pauses as needed and then jump back in when you're ready.

Your weights should feel heavy enough to challenge you, but you should still be able to finish 45 seconds of each exercise with good form.

  1. Diamond Push-Up: Pull your elbows in toward your ribs and squeeze through all your major upper-body muscles as you push up.
  2. Triceps Kickback: "A little trick here: Try and engage that little finger," Milton says. "Really turn into this exercise."
  3. Crawl-Out Push-Up: You'll start to feel this move burn out the arms, while also engaging your chest muscles.
  4. Dumbbell Box: Don't forget to breathe as you alternate between jabs and uppercuts to spike your heart rate.
  5. Mountain Climber: Challenge yourself by driving each knee toward the opposite elbow.

Tip

If you have 10 more minutes to spare, Milton recommends pairing this routine with a lower-body circuit to take your workout to the next level. Then, spend a few minutes cooling down to stay injury-free.

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