Workout Details

  • Duration: 27 Minutes
  • Calorie Burn: 121-220
  • Difficulty: 4/5
  • Equipment: Bench, Dumbbell, Physio-Ball
  • Training Type: Strength Training
Body Focus Upper Body

Upper Body Functional Strength Training Workout with Dumbbells


Functional Strength Training utilizes resistance to increase the strength in muscles used to complete movements that are frequently used in every day living. This kind of training is ideal because it results not only in increased strength, but also a stronger, more synchronized connection between muscles and the nervous system.

Fitness Blender’s Upper Body Dumbbell Workout has three rounds of seven exercises, for a total of 27 minutes. We do 12 repetitions of each functional exercise.

In order to be able to do this routine, you’re going to need a set of dumbbells, (or adjustable dumbbells), and a physioball. If you don’t have a physioball, you can use a bench, but an exercise ball challenges your core more comprehensively because you must constantly be stabilizing yourself.

Exercises in this routine:

Physioball Alternating Chest Fly
Plank Row
Shoulder Press/Arnold Press, Alternating
Alternating Dumbbell Pullover
Alternating Skull Crusher
Alternating Hammer Curl
Single Leg Overhead Cross

Common Questions

How often should you do functional strength training?
The exact frequency that you will strength train depends on exactly what your goals are.

People who want to build strength should aim to train 3-4 times a week, alternating in between workouts that focus on the upper or lower body so that the muscles you worked the day before get to “rest” and recover the next day while you challenge the other muscle group. People who are wanting to gain size may want to train slightly more frequently.

Whatever your fitness goals are, it’s important to realize that muscles need rest; doing a strenuous workout on muscles that are still sore and have not had a chance to heal may impede or even undo your gains.

How much weight should I choose to lift?
You don’t want to choose a light weight and breeze through the entire routine, and you also don’t want to choose a heavy one that jeopardizes your form, either (using a heavy weight that you end up swinging around with momentum to complete the range of motion renders your effort nearly useless).

In this strength training workout video we do twelve repetitions of each exercise per set. With that number of repetitions, you want to choose a weight that becomes pretty challenging to lift at around reps 9 or 10. By round three, the last round of reps should start to feel difficult to complete by number 7-8, just because you have already done those two previous rounds.

I am a girl and I don’t want big bulging muscles, I want to be slim. Should I lift a light weight with higher reps?
Women do not have the hormones necessary to “bulk up” like men do. It takes deliberant training and supplementation to get the bodybuilding look, so do yourself a favor and do not let the fear of looking like the woman version of The Hulk keep you away from strength training.

On the flip side, having a higher amount of lean muscle mass will help your body to burn a higher number of calories, even while you’re resting. That means that it’s actually easier to get slim & stay slim.

Muscle also takes up less room than fat, which means that strength training could actually end up in your clothes fitting looser and your body looking smaller. There’s also the fact that muscles don’t “jiggle” the way that body fat does.

Weight bearing exercises also have a laundry list of health benefits, including increased boned density, increased posture and coordination, improved mood because of endorphins released, and the lessened likelihood of developing various diseases.