Upper Body Functional Strength Training Workout with Dumbbells


Calorie burn:

121 to 220





Equipment Needed:

Bench, Dumbbell, Physio-Ball

Workout type:

Strength Training

Body focus:


Workout Details

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.



05/05/15 9:26am

This will literallY KICK YOUR BUTT. I normall do 20lb flies I had to use 10 lbs that physio ball really puts the moves on you. I love how this diversified my lifting his week and will be incorporating this frequently.

#bestarmworkout #physioball #healthyhotair #weitlossjourney #womenweightlifting #weightlifting #armtoning

04/14/15 4:18am

Love the moves - great series and would love more like this. Suggestion, could be slightly slower and focused on form of arms with balance - mention form maintainance more and make it more about really good form and focus - I love ST like that helps get into your muscles and get a god work out


12/05/14 10:37am

Wow. This is so awesome!


09/08/14 6:34pm

I have been doing your 8 week weight lost program and, I love it! However, I do have one question. Why is it that i look slimmer and less "jiggly
" and have been gaining muscle, but when i weigh myself, i weigh pretty much the same wight as before i started. If you could answer this, that would be great! Thanks


07/15/14 12:58am

Love switching between different equipment: in this case a physioball. I've used 2 kg (about 5 lbs) weights. I could have used more, but I don't have heavier weights (yet). Thank you!


06/10/14 5:30pm

It was hard for me to keep my balance on the Physioball, I don't know how effective work out it did here. Lol... day 3


03/29/14 10:55am

I thought my balance was good- not so sure after doing this workout! Great strength AND balance challenge! Great job - as usual. Thanks Daniel and Kelli!


02/15/14 8:39pm

I follow fitness blender 8 week fat loss programme. but that programme only emphasises on fat loss. is there any programme that could do more for us in terms of bodybuilding?


10/22/13 2:19pm

I don't have a pysioball or a bench can I do it on the floorv


07/03/14 9:18am

You could use a chair for the seated moves and do a bridge on the floor for the flies, skull crushers, and pullovers. However, physioballs a great buy because they are only about $30 at Target.


01/26/14 1:38pm

If you have a coffee table, or an elevated surface you can lay or recline on, that'd work as a substitution. The floor doesn't work because you don't get the same range of motion.


08/12/13 10:16am

After doing many of your videos on Youtube freely, I started the 8 week program. I'm on day three and I struggle with long work outs, I get bored with anything over 20 minutes. I was almost dreading doing an hour today, but this video was my favorite out of all of them by far! It was challenging and I was drenched when I was finished. I'm really looking forward to more strength workouts now too, you videos are the best!


08/05/13 2:35am

Day three of the 8 week programme (first round) I found the planks very difficult but managed through the workout. I have 8kgs weights but found them to heavy. I am female and only 5'1", I weigh 63kgs (target 52kgs) and I am 38 yrs. Would 2kgs weights be good?


07/10/13 7:45pm

I couldn't complete this portion of the Day 3 Workout. I don't have a bench or a ball, so I did it on the floor. Is that as effective?


04/18/13 9:47am

I love your videos! They are some of the best I have come across on my quest for better health. Thanks! Also what is the estimated calorie burn for this workout?


03/14/13 4:16pm

i am on day 3 just tried to complete this but my dumbells are round and would not stay still! Frustrating.


03/07/13 3:15pm

What are the calories burned in this workout? My apologies if I missed it. Love your videos! Thanks so much.


02/25/13 11:03am

Day #3! Your workouts are AMAZING #fitnessblender


02/20/13 12:27pm

Awesome. Didn't have dumbbells but googled how to do these exercises with resistance bands instead. I definitely need more workouts like these. Good job.


12/29/12 3:14am

Hi Guys

I bought you ebook and following 8 week plan. I am new to dumbbells. Is there any particular dumbbell weight we should use, any suggestion. I'm male 1.65 m 73 kg trying to squeeze my BMI from overweight to normal aiming some 65 kg. BTW thanks for the superb stuff online. Great Guys!


09/04/12 12:40pm

This was my first time doing this workout today and I loved it!! Awesome workout! Keep up the great work!

fitness blender

06/21/12 8:54am

@nanno We have many total body workouts that target the arms as well as the rest of the body and would be a great combination to help you lose a bit of fat weight to uncover your arm muscle as well as tone and shape the muscle that is already there. Just look through our video library and try any of our total body workouts.

fitness blender

06/21/12 8:51am

@slimnfit If your doctor has put limits on what you can and can't do physical then he/she will be the best to ask about what else you can do. We have many body weight exercise routines however, only your doctor will be able to tell you if they are appropriate for you. Sorry we can not be of more help. I would caution you to postpone doing our 8 Week program until you are released by your doctor to continue. I know you want to hit your goals but suffering an injury because you are pushing to hard to soon is the quickest way to derail your fitness plans.


06/21/12 5:24am

Hi, I've just begun your 8 week program and am on day 3. I couldn't do this routine today, as my doctor advised me against any exercises that involve lifting weights. I suffer from a weak cervical spine and have been attending physio therapy sessions for the same since the past 3 months. However I really want to continue with the program to attain my goal weight. Can you please suggest some routines that help maximum calorie burn and that does not involve weights? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!


04/30/12 8:26am

Hi,I am doing this workout 3 times a week and I need to know what more can I do to slim down and tone up my arms especially my triceps!!

Leave a Comment

Sign in required

To access this section, please sign in to your account. If you don't have an account yet, sign up now. It's free!