A Very Simple Dumbbell Only Workout – Upper Body


In this article, we are going to go over a simple dumbbell only workout. You will only need 2 dumbbells. 2 Dumbbells, 1 weight and you will be able to get an amazing workout in. 

I found myself doing this workout a lot over lockdown, but have also performed it in the gym as well. Great for a busy gym session as you don’t need much equipment (Dumbbells and a bench) and also you don’t need much room or time. Depending on the weight, your personal strength and motivation this could be a 10-minute workout. You will understand why this might go on longer in the breakdown.

The workout is Chest and Back dominate but because we are doing Incline on the chest movements we will be hitting the shoulders slightly. So let us show you the workout than after we will go through a full breakdown.


This is the dumbbell only workout, a simple “drop set” workout containing 4 exercises.

15-12-9-6-3 – 2 Rounds
  • Chest Press (Incline)
  • Bent Over Row
  • Piston Press (Incline)
  • Deadlift


This dumbbell only workout is very simple. The aim is to complete it as quick as possible. It consists of 5 exercises that you will be doing as a ‘superset’. Starting with 15 reps, you complete 15 reps on all 4 exercises, after you complete 15 reps you repeat but do 12 reps, then repeat and do 9, then 6, then 3. Once you have complete the last reps, you repeat.

You want to take as minimal rest between rounds and exercises, as we said you want to complete the rounds as quickly as possible. If you need to rest, then rest. Once you have completed both round, note the time and next time you try it you can see if you improve.

Let us go through the exercises, We wanted to keep it so that you didn’t have to move around too much, As this is timed! So were are starting on an Incline Chest Press. The standard chest exercises. Everyone’s favourite. After that, we are going to a bent-over row (Same Weight, Same Dumbbells). You can choose if you want to do double dumbbells or single dumbbells. After that, we then go to a piston press. This is a great exercise for squeezing the chest, it is a real burner. I prefer to use one dumbbell and wrap my hands round the handle and press that way. Lastly, we are going to do some dumbbell deadlifts. Dumbbells by the side and explode up.

For all these exercises you want to use the same pair of dumbbells. So chose a weight that you know you will be able to complete the rounds but will also be challenging.


  1. Always prioritise form over weight. These workouts don’t require a lot of weight but make sure you aren’t going too heavy.
  2. Might take you a few attempts to get the right weight. You might start to light or too Heavy. If this is the case, just stop, reset and lower or increase the weight.
  3. This is a tough workout. However, you can also use it as a finisher at the end of a “Normal” workout if you wanted.


So, that is a simple and easy dumbbell only workout for you to try. Very simple and effective workout! No need for loads of equipment. This workout never gets easier as you will either find yourself taking shorter rest or even upping the weight. 

If you find yourself in a busy gym just grab a set of dumbbells and try this workout. Give it a go and let us know how you get on over on our Instagram. If you want to see any other workouts just send us an email or a DM on Instagram. We would love to see what workouts you all want to see. We will try our best to make some for you all.

In future, we might do more of these Dumbbell only workouts. Maybe we will do a series as we did with the one bench workouts (Read them here). If we do make more we will post the links below, so you can view the other workouts that we have to offer.

If you like this workout and want similar ones to this then check out our app for a free workouts!

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Written by Kieran Blacker

Kieran is the CEO and Founder of Sets & Reps. He decided to make an application that helped people get a gym workout when not at the gym. He designed, Coded and built the application himself.


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