20 Single Dumbbell Exercises (One Arm Workouts For Home)

Let's face it; motivation to exercise consistently is hard to come by. And if you work out at home, it can be even more challenging. Moreover, not seeing immediate results causes many people to throw in the towel altogether. 

However, adding variation to your workouts is a great way to keep things fresh, and it's a great way to get the results you're looking for. 

If you're trying to build big arms, a strong core, and increase your work capacity, single dumbbell exercises are the way to go. 

1. One-Arm Dumbbell Floor Press  

The one-arm dumbbell floor press will strengthen your chest, shoulders, and triceps creating balance and stability in each arm. This is also a great move to engage your core.

How To Perform: 

  • Grab a dumbbell using an overhand grip and lie flat on your back. 
  • Bend your knees, keeping your feet planted on the floor. 
  • Fully extend your free arm and put your palm flat on the floor. 
  • Extend the arm holding the dumbbell outward, bringing the elbow to a 90-degree position, your triceps resting on the floor, holding the dumbbell above your chest. 
  • Exhale and engage your core while pressing the weight toward the ceiling.  
  • Pause, retract back to starting position, and switch arms. 
One-Arm Dumbbell Floor Press

2. Single Arm Bent Over Row 

The DB bent-over row is an excellent compound free-weight exercise. Your upper and mid-back muscles carry most of the load as you lift. Your arm and chest muscles, such as the biceps and pectorals, are also worked in this move. 

Related Article - Barbell Row Vs Dumbbell Row

How To Perform: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab a dumbbell in one hand with a neutral, overhand grip. 
  • Bend forward at the hips until your midsection is almost parallel with the ground.  
  • Lift your elbows up toward your torso until they are parallel with your back. Pull your shoulder blades back through the movement. 
  • Lift the dumbbell up toward your chest.  
  • Pause when your elbows align with your torso, then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat with the other arm.
Single Arm Bent Over Row

3. Seated Single Arm Tricep Press 

A one-arm tricep extension is an excellent move to target the triceps. It also forces you to engage your core.

How To Perform: 

  • Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in one hand.  
  • Lift the dumbbell up, so it's at shoulder height, and extend your arm up over your head.  
  • Turn your wrist until the palm of your hand is facing forward and your pinkie is facing the ceiling.  
  • Lower the dumbbell behind your head slowly, holding your upper arm stationary. Inhale as you lower the dumbbell and pause when your triceps are fully extended. 
  • Flex your triceps and return to the starting position. Repeat the move with the other arm.
Seated Single Arm Tricep Press

4. Single Dumbbell Goblet Squats 

The Goblet Squat is an excellent lower-body exercise. The goblet squat is perfect practice for proper back squat form. It's a simple movement, but don't underestimate its benefits.

How To Perform: 

  • Hold the top of the dumbbell with both hands in an underhand grip with your wrists facing each other.  
  • The top of the dumbbell should be just under your chin, and the bottom should be touching your stomach. 
  • Lower yourself into a squat, keeping your knees behind your toes and your butt back.  
  • Keep your chest up and your shoulders back, keeping the dumbbell touching your stomach. 
  • When you reach the bottom of the squat, your thighs should be parallel to the floor, and your elbows should be barely touching the insides of your thighs. 
  • Drive up through your heels, with your knees out, chest up, and butt back.
Dumbbell Goblet Squat

5. Single-Arm DB Snatch  

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatches will improve your power, skill, coordination, strength, and conditioning. It's also much safer and more beginner-friendly than the barbell snatch.

How To Perform: 

  • Grab a dumbbell in your right hand. 
  • Put your hips back and bend your knees. With your right arm straight, lower the dumbbell to the floor. 
  • Keep your chest up, push your hips forward, and pull your shoulders and chest up and back.  
  • Keep the dumbbell close to your body, pull your right elbow up, pulling the dumbbell up until you catch it at shoulder level. 
  • Keep your legs straight and glutes squeezed, and press the dumbbell straight up above your head.  
  • Lower the dumbbell to your shoulder, then to waist level, and repeat with the other arm.
Single-Arm DB Snatch

6. Core Twist  

The core twist has an intense focus on the abs. You can straighten your arms to increase the difficulty. Once you're comfortable, you can speed up the move. To make the movement more challenging, do it in a seat position while leaning back.  

How To Perform: 

  • Stand with your knees slightly soft with a dumbbell at chest level. 
  • Stabilize your pelvis as you rotate your rib cage right and left. This is one rep. 
  • Keep your abs pulled toward as you twist from side to side.
core twist

7. Bulgarian Split Squat  

The Bulgarian split squat is an excellent exercise that will develop your quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and back. 

Further Reading - Bulgarian Split Squat Substitutes

How To Perform: 

  • Start in a split stance position while holding a dumbbell in one hand by your side with a neutral grip. 
  • Put your back foot on a bench to increase the range of motion. 
  • Flex the front knee and descend until the back knee touches the ground beneath your hip. 
  • Drive through the front foot and extend the knee as you return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat on the other side.
Bulgarian Split Squats

8. Single Arm DB Step-Up With Press 

Step-ups increase leg strength and activate muscle groups throughout your entire lower body. Your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and adductors are all activated. Adding the SA DB press adds core stability and works the muscles in your arms and shoulders.

If you don't have a plyo box or other stepping surface, check out our guide to the best step up alternatives!

How To Perform: 

  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand and place the same foot on a bench. 
  • Quickly step up, driving the knee to hip height. 
  • In the same motion, press the dumbbell overhead, directly above your shoulder joint.  
  • Repeat on the other side
Single Arm DB Step-Up With Press

9. Dumbbell Glute Bridge  

The dumbbell glute bridge is a great accessory exercise to perform before or after main strength work to increase glute development.

Related Article - Best Dumbbell Glute Exercises

How To Perform: 

  • Lie down on your back and fold your legs at a 45* angle 
  • Put the dumbbell on your upper thigh 
  • Push your hips towards the ceiling and slowly return to the starting position.
Dumbbell Glute Bridge

10.  Single-Arm Overhead DB Press  

The single-arm dumbbell overhead dumbbell press is great for shoulder strength. It also works your core muscles, most notably, the anterior core. 

How To Perform: 

  • Stand and hold a dumbbell just outside of your shoulder. 
  • Keep your arm bent and your palm facing in. 
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. 
  • Brace your core and maintain it throughout the entire exercise. 
  • Press the weight overhead until your arm is completely straight.  
  • Keep your shoulder down. 
  • Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Single-Arm Overhead DB Press

11.  Single-Arm DB Chest Press  

The single-arm dumbbell chest press is an excellent move to strengthen your chest and arms. It has greater demands on balance and stability than a regular dumbbell bench press because your body has to resist the urge to rotate on the bench. 

How To Perform: 

  • Sit on a bench with a dumbbell resting on your thigh. 
  • Bring the dumbbell to your shoulder and slowly lie down on the bench. 
  • Keep the dumbbell at your shoulder with a neutral grip. 
  • Maintain a slight arch in your back and keep your feet planted on the floor with your shoulder blades retracted. 
  • Hold the arm without a dumbbell straight out to your side. 
  • Brace your core and push the dumbbell overhead. 
  • Slowly bring the dumbbell back down to your shoulder.  
  • Repeat with the other arm.
Single-Arm DB Chest Press

12.  Dumbbell Sumo Squat  

The dumbbell sumo squat will strengthen and tone your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It will also help build your arms as well.

How To Perform: 

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder length apart, toes pointing out, holding a dumbbell in front of the chest. 
  • Bend your knees slowly, lowering your hips so your thighs are parallel with the floor.  
  • Keep your weight back in your heels. 
  • Stand back up, completely strengthening the legs and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement.
Dumbbell Sumo Squat

13.  Single-Arm Arnold Press  

The Arnold press is a comprehensive exercise that builds your shoulder muscles. The movement of an Arnold press activates all three of the deltoid muscles in your shoulder.

This exercise was popularized by the one and only legend of bodybuilding Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you're in need of some motivation, jump over to our page on the best fitness quotes from Arnold.

How To Perform: 

  • Grab a dumbbell and stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.  
  • Hold the dumbbell slightly above your shoulder with your palm facing your body and your upper arm close to your ribcage.  
  • Start the upward movement by moving your elbows out wide and away from your body. As your palms begin to face forward, press the dumbbells overhead.  
  • At the top of the move, your arms should belong with a slight bend in your elbows, and your palms should be facing forward.  
  • Start the downward movement by bending your elbows and pulling with your lats.  
  • In one smooth motion, rotate your arms until your palms face your body.  
  • Your upper arms should return to the starting position close to your ribcage.
Single-Arm Arnold Press

14.  Suitcase Lunge  

The suitcase lunge makes the structures of the knees, hips, and trunk work hard to remain neutral. You'll want to twist and lean to counter the load, but the benefits come from staying neutral.

How To Perform: 

  • Grab a dumbbell and hold it to your side like a suitcase. 
  • Perform alternating lunges keeping your body neutral. 
  • Switch the weight to the other hand and do the same number of alternating reps.
Suitcase Lunge

15.  Sit-Up to Press  

Add dumbbells to the mix to amp up your sit-ups for a total body exercise. This will fire up your shoulders and chest with the added resistance of the pressing motion. It also increases the intensity in your abdominals.

How To Perform: 

  • Start on your back with bent knees and feet firmly on the mat. 
  • Keep your elbows bent with the dumbbell resting above your chest. 
  • Bring your head, neck, and shoulder off the mat like a traditional sit-up. 
  • Then extend your arms out and long-press the dumbbell forward.  
  • Slowly return back to the mat.
Sit-Up To Press

16.  Dumbbell Burpees 

Burpees are a full-body move that combines cardio with strength training. Adding dumbbells allows you to get even more out of the exercise.  

Read Also - Burpees Alternative Exercises

How To Perform: 

  • Start in a standing position and lay a dumbbell in front of you horizontally. 
  • Bend over and lower your hands to the ground with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Jump your feet back into a high plank. 
  • Lower your chest to the ground, and then raise your chest back up. 
  • Jump your feet back to your hands. 
  • Stand back up, keeping your spine straight and thrusting forward slightly from the hips. 
  • Jump over the dumbbell, and then turn to face the dumbbell. 
  • Repeat the move.
Dumbbell Burpees

17.  Bench-Supported Single-Arm Row  

The bench-supported single-arm row will isolate your lower back, upper back, and lower traps. It also strengthens your core, biceps, and shoulders.  

How To Perform: 

  • Put a dumbbell on both sides of a flat bench and place your right knee on the end of the bench
  • Bend at the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor. 
  • Put your right hand on the bench in front of you for support. 
  • Grab a dumbbell with your left hand with an overhand grip. 
  • Keep your lower back straight and pull the dumbbell straight up to the side of your chest. 
  • Keep your upper arm close to your side.  
  • Pause for a second at the top and squeeze your back muscles.  
  • Return to the start position.
Bench-Supported Single-Arm Row

18.  Single-Leg Deadlift  

The single-arm deadlift works the hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back muscles. Using one arm to perform a deadlift creates more force on each side of the body than you can produce when you use both arms.  

How To Perform: 

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Hold a dumbbell in your right hand by your side and rest your left hand at your side. 
  • Keep your knees and back straight as you bend your hips and lower the dumbbell between your legs toward the ground. 
  • Reverse the move and stand up, bringing the dumbbell back to your side. 
  • Repeat with the other side.
Single-Leg Deadlift

19.  Turkish Get-Up  

The Turkish Get-Up is a full-body exercise that challenges your endurance, mobility, and core strength. 

How To Perform: 

  • Lie on your back, keep your left leg straight, and bend your right leg at the knee. 
  • Hold a dumbbell in your right hand above your chest, leaving your left arm on the floor. 
  • Use your core to prop yourself up to a sitting position and push off the floor with your left elbow. 
  • Slide your left arm out to push off your palm and bridge your hips as high as possible.  
  • When you're high enough, pull your left foot underneath and your left hand off the floor to kneel. 
  • Now push yourself off your front and back feet to rise up to a standing position.  
  • Follow the movements in reverse to return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Turkish Get-Up

20.  Seated Dumbbell Concentration Curl  

Dumbbell concentration curls are an isolation movement targeting your biceps. Your trapezius, obliques, Levator scapulae, Erector spinae, and wrist flexors are also utilized.

How To Perform: 

  • Sit on the end of a flat bench and lean forward.  
  • Hold a dumbbell with your right hand, and then place the backside of your upper right arm on the inside of your right thigh. Place your left hand on top of your left thigh.  
  • Make sure you extend the length of your right arm and dumbbell toward the floor.  
  • Squeeze your right bicep hard as you curl the bicep toward your left pectoral muscle. Pause for a second or two before returning to the starting position. 
  • Repeat the desired number of repetitions for your right bicep before switching over to your left. 
Seated Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Benefits Of Single Arm Over Both Arm Dumbbell Exercises

We're all used to training with weights in both hands. Whether it's a barbell or a set of dumbbells, using both hands comes naturally. But, if you always train with weight in each hand, you could be missing out. 

With single-arm dumbbell exercises, you can reap significant benefits that you can't get with traditional two-arm training. First, when you train with just one arm, you will find yourself leaning away from the weight or leaning into it. When you resist the urge to lean, your core is forced to engage to stabilize your body. This gives you an excellent core workout, no matter what move you're doing. 

And if you are looking to gain size and strength, single-arm training is perfect. When you train one arm at a time, the sets take twice as long to complete. This doubles your muscle's normal time under tension, allowing for faster gains. 


Which Muscles Are Targeted In These One Arm Exercises?

With single-arm dumbbell exercises, you can target any muscle you'd target using two dumbbells. For example, you can target your chest, core, back, triceps, and more.

  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Chest Exercise 
    The one-arm dumbbell floor press is an excellent move to strengthen the chest. It will also strengthen your shoulders and triceps while creating balance and stability in each arm.
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Ab Exercise 
    The sit-up to press is an excellent one-armed ab exercise. However, the press at the end makes it almost a total body exercise.
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Back Exercise 
    The single-arm deadlift is an excellent movement for your lower back. It also works the hamstrings and glutes. 
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Exercise 
    The one-arm tricep extension is an excellent tricep exercise. It also forces you to engage your core throughout the movement. 

Workout Program For Single Dumbbell Exercises  

The best thing about a single-arm dumbbell workout is that they are easy to perform, and all you need is a single dumbbell. And you don't need to invest a lot of time in the workout. An hour a day, 3-5 days a week, will get you outstanding results. And remember, before you start an exercise program, always consult with a doctor. 

Below is a sample single-arm dumbbell workout program you can follow. 

Upper body Single-Arm DB Moves: 

  • Single-Arm Overhead DB Press 
  • Single-Arm DB Bench Press 
  • Single-Arm DB Snatch 
  • Single-Arm Triceps Press  
  • Single-Arm Alternating Bicep Curls 

Lower Body Single-Arm DB Moves: 

  • Single Dumbbell Goblet Squats 
  • Bulgarian Split Squat 
  • Single Arm DB Step-Up With Press  
  • Dumbbell Sumo Squat 
  • Single-Leg Deadlift 

All of these moves will engage your core, so it isn't necessary to isolate your core. Perform the upper body moves one day and the lower body moves the next. Add in rest days and cardio days, and with dedication and consistency, you will see the results you want.


Common Single Dumbbell Exercise Questions

Can I gain muscle with one arm dumbbell workouts? 

You can absolutely gain muscle with single-arm dumbbell workouts. Any single-arm dumbbell performed safely and correctly, paired with proper nutrition, will aid in gaining muscle. They may even help you gain faster than working with two dumbbells. 

How many reps should I do to build muscle? 

There's not a set amount of reps you should do to build muscle. It all depends on your goals and your current fitness level. If you aren't able to lift heavy, you need to do more reps. If you can lift heavy, you don't need to perform as many reps to build muscle.

What exercises can I do with 1kg dumbbells? 

Since 1kg dumbbells are so lightweight, you do almost any exercise with them. If 1kg is too light, you will need to do a lot of reps or increase your weight. Overhead presses are usually done with lighter weights, so 1kb dumbbells would be perfect. 

What should the dumbbell weight be for a beginner? 

It depends on the beginner. Everyone is different, so not everyone will be able to lift the same amount on day one. Never try to follow a cookie-cutter approach to working out. Instead, you should figure out what works for you and your body. 


Conclusion

Adding variety to your workout keeps things fresh and is more likely to keep you motivated and working out. The single-arm dumbbell workouts we talked about above are a great way to shake things up and try something new. And if you like them, any one of them could be a new staple in your exercise routine. 

Last Updated on April 12, 2022