20 Minute Dumbbell Upper Body Circuit Workout

20 Minute Dumbbell Upper Body Circuit Workout is a short by excellent upper body strength workout from Caroline Girvan. For only being 25 minutes, this workout gets intense! If you use weights that challenge you that is. The exercises target the chest, back and shoulders, but they are all compound moves that work many muscle groups, so your biceps and triceps are also getting worked. This workout felt shoulder heavy to me, even though my back and chest definitely got some nice work. I think it is because I have started using heavier weights for shoulder work. I couldn’t stick with them though for the entire workout. You have one circuit of 8 exercises that you do 3 times. The first two times through I used my 18 pound dumbbells for the shoulder work but the second time through the circuit was a struggle. So I had to drop to my 16.5 pound dumbbells the 3rd time through the circuit. My shoulders were still working hard with the lighter dumbbells! This is a tough workout! I love these short workouts Caroline created in December 2021. You can use them by themselves if you are short on time, use them as a finisher for another workout or you can do like I did this morning: pair two of these shorter workouts together for a great total body strength workout. I did Caroline’s 20 Minute Dumbbell Leg Workout followed by this workout. Between the two workouts I got an excellent total body strength workout.

Most of the exercises in this workout are done interval style: 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest. Except for one exercise (pullovers) which is done for 60 seconds with only 10 seconds of recovery on either side of it. There is a timer in the upper left hand side of the screen counting down your intervals and recoveries. During the recovery Caroline previews the next exercise. There is also a little bar at the bottom of the screen that counts down the entire workout time as a percentage

20 Minute Dumbbell Upper Body Circuit Workout is 24:54 minutes; 1:45 minute intro, no warm up and 2:15 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and fitness mat. Caroline is using 15kg/33 pounds and 9kg/19.8 pounds dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used.

  1. Double arm bent over row (30# DBs)
  2. Chest press (22.5# DBs)
  3. 10 second recovery
  4. Pullover for 60 seconds (one 35# DB)
  5. 10 second recovery
  6. Shoulder press (arms in goalpost) (18# DBs first 2 circuits, 16.5# DBs 3rd circuit)
  7. Push ups
  8. Arnold press (18# DBs first 2 circuits, 16.5# DBs 3rd circuit)
  9. Repeat #1-8 two more times

Finisher: (100 seconds, no rests/recoveries)

  1. Deadstop push ups for 40 seconds (do full push ups, but lower entire body all the way to mat, raise hands off mat briefly, keeping body straight from feet to shoulders when pushing up)
  2. Diagonal press for 20 seconds (hold one DB by bar in both hands, push DB in front of you on an angle upward) (one 16.5# DB)
  3. Repeat #1

For more info on Caroline Girvan’s workouts and other (free) streaming workouts I’ve sampled and reviewed, check out my Streaming page.


One thought on “20 Minute Dumbbell Upper Body Circuit Workout

  1. Happy Monday! (?)

    Today I did Heather’s H2.0 Day 14 Core & Booty and tacked on Daily 10 Day 7 Lower Body HiiT to target that area a little more. The H2.0 wasn’t hard but it was enjoyable. The two workouts complemented each other well. I was backed up to a meeting so I had to boogie through the workouts quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

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