5 Best Upper Body Exercises For Women With Dumbbells

Shayla Whitter

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Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished you could tone up your upper body? Maybe you’ve tried a few exercises, but they just don’t seem to be working. 

Or maybe you’re totally new to this whole working-out thing and have no idea where to start. Well, don’t worry – we are here to help!

When most women think of weight training, they imagine bulky muscles and a serious tone. But that’s not actually the case! 

Weight training can help you sculpt your entire upper body into the shape you’ve always wanted rather than bulking your muscles. And yes, it can be fun, too!

When it comes to sculpting the upper body muscles, most women think they need a whole bunch of equipment or special machines. Nevertheless, there are plenty of exercises that you can do with just a set of dumbbells.

So today, we’re going to show you 5 upper body exercises perfect for toning and shaping the upper body. 

Whether you’re an experienced athlete or a complete beginner, these upper-body strength workouts will help get you closer to your goals. So grab a pair of weights, and let’s get started!

Benefits of Upper Body Strength for Women

Many women don’t think about strength training their upper body. But there are lots of great benefits to doing so. 

Strength training with weights can help improve posture, protect joints, and reduce the risk of injuries. Check out these five benefits of upper body strength for women and get started today.

Build a Positive Body Image

As any woman knows, upper body workouts can be essential for building a positive body image. Not only do they help to tone and strengthen the muscles, but they also help to improve posture and reduce the appearance of excess fat.

“You have to train the best way that is suited to you, a way that will allow you to progress. Ronnie Coleman

However, upper-body workouts can also be difficult to stick with, particularly if they are not part of a well-rounded fitness routine. One way to keep upper body workouts interesting is to vary the exercises. 

For example, try incorporating other exercises, such as tricep dips or overhead presses, instead of always doing traditional push-ups.

By mixing up the routine, you can avoid boredom and keep your upper body in tip-top shape. In addition, upper-body workouts for women at the gym can be a great way to boost confidence and feel good about yourself. 

So next time you’re in the gym, don’t forget to give your upper body some love.

Improve Posture

Upper body strength is often overlooked in overall fitness but can significantly impact your posture. Strong upper back, shoulder blades, and chest muscles help keep the spine in alignment and prevent slouching.

Additionally, upper body strength helps you to offset the effects of gravity, making it easier to stand up straight and tall. As a result, improving your upper body strength can be a great way to improve your posture.

Women can do many upper body exercises to achieve this goal. Some of the best exercises for upper body strength include push-ups, pull-ups, and overhead presses. 

By incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine, you can soon enjoy better posture and improved health.

Enhance Your Workouts

When it comes to working out, most people focus on exercises that target the lower body. However, upper body strength is also important for overall fitness. In addition to helping you move better in everyday life, upper body strength can boost your workout in several ways.

Upper body exercises help to improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine. Strong upper body muscles can help to offset the risk of injuries to the lower body. 

These exercises can help you burn more calories since they require more energy to perform. So if you want to get the most out of your workout, don’t forget to include some upper-body exercises in your routine.

Simplifies Daily Activities

Everyday tasks like reaching for a jar on a top shelf or holding and playing with your kids can become a lot more difficult when you have weak upper body muscles. But upper body workouts for women are not just about looking good in a tank top.

These exercises can also help to make everyday tasks easier by strengthening the muscles in your arms, shoulder blades, and back. 

Upper body exercises can help us to tone our arms, chest muscles, and upper back muscles, making everyday tasks like setting furniture or carrying heavy bags a breeze.

Best Upper Body Exercises For Women With Dumbbells 

For women, there are specific equipment-less exercises that target your upper body. To attain a good posture, you need muscle-targeted exercises. Dumbbell exercises mainly involve upper body muscles, so these are best to get the desired results with lesser effort. 

Here are some easy upper body exercises using dumbbells that you can conveniently perform at home or the gym. 

Bent Over Dumbbell Row

There are a variety of upper body exercises, each targeting a different area. Bent over dumbbell rows is one such exercise that targets various muscles at a time. Bent over dumbbell row works most on the latissimus dorsi (back muscles). 

Not only your back muscles are involved, but your bicep muscles are involved. 

How to Do It?

  • Stand with your feet and shoulder wide apart at the same width with dumbbells in each hand. 
  • Keep your back flat, bend your knees by keeping your hips forward. Lower the dumbbells and then row up leading your elbows. 
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades, and lower your dumbbell back to the starting position, and lift them to the maximum capacity. 
  • You can perform this exercise with different weights if you are doing heavy weights, lower your reps, and vice versa. 

Bent Over Rear Delt Raise

If you want to target the rear shoulder, bent-over rear delt raises are best. This exercise specifically targets your deltoid muscle. Not only does it improve the strength of the upper body, but it also keeps your back straight. 

How to Do It?

  • There are two ways of performing this exercise. Either you can keep your feet together or hips wide apart. Once you attain your initial position, bend forward over your hips. 
  • Bend till your torso is in a parallel position with the ground.
  • Then raise your arms in a lateral position until they are in line with your shoulders. 
  • Hold in this position for a bit, then go back to the starting point. 

Bent over delt raise is best for the s shoulder muscles. It keeps your posture straight and strengthens your shoulders to perform better.

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

To improve your upper body’s strength, triceps extension is a good option. Head dumbbell triceps extension fully extends your triceps as you hold dumbbells behind your head. In this way, upper body muscles are targeted to the maximum capacity. 

There are many ways to perform triceps extension, but behind-the-head tricep extension with dumbbells has the most positive results. 

How to Do It?

  • Hold the dumbbell above your head, keeping your arms straight. 
  • Slightly lower your elbows while holding the weight overhead.
  • Then extend your arms to the starting position. 
  • You can perform this exercise, lying over a bench, or in a standing position. 
  • Simply, repeat the motion. 

There are many ways to perform this exercise, perform in variations and choose what works well for you. 

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

To perform dumbbell lateral raises you don’t need much, just a flat surface and a dumbbell are needed. The lateral raise involves your upper body, specifically. It targets your deltoid, commonly called shoulder muscles.

How to Do It?

  • Stand up facing in the forward direction with your feet closely held together. 
  • Your palms should be inward, with dumbbells in each hand. 
  • After holding dumbbells, raise them laterally to your shoulder height. Try to keep your arms slightly in front of your shoulders. The arms facing shoulders laterally are the scaption position. 
  • Lower the dumbbells to the starting point, slowly. Repeat the whole movement. It is better to focus on quality but not quantity. 

Incline Dumbbell Press

One of the most popular upper body exercises is the incline dumbbell press. It not only strengthens your upper body muscles but it also targets the problematic muscles like the pectoralis major, the triceps branch, and the anterior deltoid

The muscles often get affected during high-intensity exercises. 

 How to Do It?

  • The posture is critical for the incline dumbbell bench press. Lie flat on your back on a weight bench. 
  • Hold your feet tightly on the ground while keeping the barbell at your shoulder width. 
  • Slowly lower the barbell towards your chest, then press it back to the initial position. 
  • Make sure, you keep the elbows close to your side while performing the incline bench press. 

Follow the same pattern again to achieve the target. 


1. How much weight should I use for these exercises?

In dumbbell exercises, weight usually varies, and depends on your fitness and your muscle strength. You can increase the weight with time, as your body keeps adjusting. Also, perform strength training exercises for better sustainability. 

2. Will women grow their biceps by doing these exercises?


These exercises work on your posture and strengthening of upper body muscles. But there is no significant growth of the biceps by doing these exercises. To grow your muscles, try other different exercises. 


Women who strength train can expect numerous benefits, both aesthetically and functionally. Upper body exercises with dumbbells effectively target specific muscle groups and achieve desired results.

The lateral raise, behind the head tricep extension, bent over dumbbell row, incline bench press, and bent over rear delt raise are all excellent movements to include in a workout routine. 

With regular practice, women will develop greater upper body strength and definition. These exercises can also help improve posture, boost workouts, and make everyday tasks easier. Additionally, strength training can lead to a more positive body image.

Ultimately, by incorporating dumbbell exercises into their fitness routine, women can achieve a strong and healthy upper body.

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