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Don't attempt this intense upper-body circuit workout without a spotter.
Dumbbells are an ideal solution for anyone that wants to build muscle and doesn't have time or access to a gym. They are cheap, portable and extremely versatile. According to "Men's Health" magazine, there are over 200 exercises that you can do with dumbbells. Even if you are a gym rat, an upper-body dumbbell circuit routine will challenge your muscles. A dumbbell circuit workout can be intense, so consult a doctor and enlist the help of a spotter if needed.
Get on the Circuit
Circuit training challenges your muscles because you perform each exercise back to back with minimal breaks. This forces your muscles to max out faster. Circuit training can also help you avoid boredom. For this circuit workout, perform eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise with less than 60-second breaks in between sets. Then take a three to five-minute break before repeating all of the exercises. Run through your entire circuit three times.
This circuit workout is broken into two separate workouts that you should do once or twice a week to build serious muscle. You should add in additional days for cardio, leg and core workouts for a complete workout plan. Plan to do each upper-body circuit workout on non-consecutive days. For example, do chest, triceps and shoulders on Mondays and Wednesdays and back, biceps and forearms on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Be sure to take at least one rest day a week for muscle recovery.
Chest, Shoulders and Triceps Circuit
By starting the circuit with exercises for your pectoral muscles, you will hit your triceps and shoulders before you even get to the specific exercises for them. Begin with one set of incline dumbbell chest presses and flat-bench dumbbell flyes. Move on from there to your shoulders with a set of military presses and standing shoulder shrugs. Your triceps should be good and warmed up when you hit them with a set of two-arm triceps extensions and one-arm triceps kickbacks. Remember that you are running through all six exercises once with less than a 60-second break between exercises. Take a three to five-minute break and run through the circuit again. After completing the circuit three times, you will be done for the day.
Back, Biceps and Forearms Circuit
Just as you started with your chest on the first circuit, start with back on this circuit in order to hit your biceps and forearms first. Begin your circuit with one set of bent-over rows and back flyes. Hit your biceps with two-arm hammer curls and one-arm concentration curls. Finish your circuit with wrist curls for your forearms. Follow the same format of completing all five exercises with less than a 60-second break in between sets and a three-to-five-minute break after completing the circuit. Run through the circuit three times and you will be done for the day.