This 12-Minute, 4-Move Workout Will Fire Up Your Biceps and Triceps

Sometimes, it’s nice to take your time in the gym. Other times you don’t have an extra minute to spare—and that’s where this quickie kettlebell arms workout comes in.

Amanda Ting, DPT, CSCS, a personal trainer at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC, created the routine below for busy folks who want to hit their biceps and triceps (along with chest and shoulders too)—and be in and out in less than 15 minutes. With this workout, you’ll strengthen your arms for sure, but thanks to its circuit-style programming (where you move from exercise to exercise with minimal rest), your heart rate will stay elevated throughout. That brings us to another time-saving benefit: You’ll work on strength and cardio at once.

This kettlebell arms workout has more to offer, though, than just convenience, an upper-body burn, and a cardio bonus: It’s pretty damn functional. That means it strengthens your body in ways that translate directly to real-life movements (think pushing open a heavy door or lifting something overhead onto a shelf).

In two of the exercises—the floor press and overhead press—you’ll focus on one side at a time, which helps you ID and work on strength differences between them, says Ting. Plus, when only one side is working, this “forces your core to work a little harder to stabilize the rest of your body,” Ting explains. Another surprising benefit of doing these moves one after another is that it trains your ability to efficiently get up from the floor, she adds. “That’s crucial to longevity and mobility in everyday life.”

Ting programmed this arms workout with kettlebells, which also helps make it easy to fit into your schedule. “They’re versatile and fairly portable; you can complete this workout with only one to two kettlebells, making it excellent for most environments where access to fitness equipment is limited,” she says. You can truly do this workout anywhere, like at the gym, at home, at your desk, or even outside, she adds—and still have enough time to make dinner and sneak in an episode or two of your latest Netflix binge.

Ready for a kettlebell arms workout that targets your triceps, biceps, and shoulders? Right this way.

The Workout

What you need: One medium-weight kettlebell for the chest press and biceps curl, and one slightly lighter one for the overhead press and triceps extension.

The right weight will vary depending on your current fitness level and arm strength, but five to 10 pounds is a good starting point for beginner lifters. “The weight should feel challenging by the end of the interval, but not impossible,” Ting says. If you feel like you could keep going long after your work period is over, your weight is too light; if you can’t even get through 15 seconds of the movement or you feel your form starting to break before the 30 seconds are over, your weight is too heavy.


  • Single-Arm Chest Press
  • Single-Arm Overhead Press
  • Biceps Curl
  • Overhead Triceps Extension


  • Do the following moves in the order listed below. Perform each movement for 30 seconds, resting 10 seconds before starting the next exercise.
  • Once you’ve done one set of every exercise, rest for 15 seconds before starting another round.
  • Do 3 rounds for a 12-minute workout. You can also do 1–2 rounds as a finisher at the end of your main upper-body workout.

Demoing the moves below are Billy Anslow-O’Rourke (GIFs 1 and 4), doctor of physical therapy and Queens-based group fitness instructor; and Alicia Jamison (GIFs 2 and 3), senior coach at Body Space Fitness and adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College.

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