Frankoman's Dumbbell Only Split

A dumbbell only workout for home or the gym that will pack on muscle mass. This routine design by Frankoman from the M&S forum.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
3
Dumbbells
Male & Female

Workout Description

Tired of looking for a dumbbell only routine to work out at home with? Don't want to buy any expensive equipment? Then here is a workout for you! All you need is an adjustable bench and some dumbbells. This is beginner - intermediate. If you have a pullup bar I highly suggest adding chinups or wide grip pullups to back day!

Daily Workout Schedule:

Monday - Chest and Triceps
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Flys 3 12
Triceps
Dumbbell Skullcrusher 3 12
Dumbbell Tricep Kickback 3 12
One Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 12

Tuesday - Rest Day

Wednesday - back and Biceps
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
One Arm Dumbbell Row 5 12,10,10,8,6
Bent Over Dumbbell Row 5 12,10,10,8,6
Dumbbell Pullover 2 12,10
Biceps
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Cross Body Hammer Curl 2 10

Thursday - Rest Day

Friday - Legs and Shoulders
Quads
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Step Up 3 12
Dumbbell Squat 4 12,10,10,8
Hamstrings
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 12,10,10,8
Calves
Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 2 15,12
Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise 2 12,10
Shoulders
Standing Dumbbell Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 12,10,10
Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Fly 3 12,10,10
Dumbbell Shrug 4 12,10,10,8

 Saturday and Sunday - Rest Days

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About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

944 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 06/10/2012 - 19:00
orlando
hey there im 23 and i found this routine so if i stick with it will it get me fit my dumbells are 20 pounds and im a beginner
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Posted Fri, 01/17/2014 - 15:37
Otokonoko
I found that 20lbs is a little too much for some of the tricep and shoulder workouts, but too little for the back and leg workouts, yet perfect for some of the other ones. It's best to have a wide range of dumbbell weights to find what's best for each individual workout.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 09:54
Chase
hey i was just wondering with this routine if you can add exercises even though it is a split routine, for example : on chest and triceps day, and a shoulder, bicep exercises on bicep and back day, add a shoulder and chest exercises would you still gain good benefits or should i stck to split day. thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 10:07
Steven
I wouldn't recommend that. It is better to focus on progression of weight. That is the real key for muscle gains. Working each body part more might actually be counterproductive.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 13:10
Oli
I've been doing this routine for 5 weeks now and I'm still unable to use heavier weights for each exercise. Is this normal?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 17:06
Steven
Are you pushing for more reps on every set you perform?
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Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 07:38
Oli
I'm unable to buy any more wight plates at the minute. Should I up the reps instead then?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 08:17
Steven
I would try to do as many reps as possible then.
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Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 09:30
Oli
Thanks :-) I'm going to try to go until failure on the last set.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 17:26
karl
i have been doing this workout for a couple of weeks now and have noticed strength gains so have increased the weight. i have also noticed that after the workouts the left arm seems to be more worked out than the right. do you think this is because as i am naturally right handed therefore my right arm is stronger and the left arm is in a sort of way catching up with the right? or what do you think it can be or should i do?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 17:52
Steven
That's pretty normal. Dumbbell workouts tend to help to equalize arm strength, but this can take years. Just continue to work hard as you are doing and even though the right arm isn't working as hard it will grow.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 23:17
jeraldo
I only have 20lb dumbbells only, can i used this just to build muscles with this program, things tough now
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 09:33
Steven
The key to building muscle is progressive resistance. To effectively build muscle you will need access to heavier weight.
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 06:08
karl
1 last thing, carbohydrates, are they essential in building muscle? at the moment i am on a low carb high protein diet as a fat loss diet. i also take the protein 90 milkshakes after the workouts and everyday really as i do other training (cardio etc) on the free days. so basically i am not eating many carbs during the day and take around 35grams with the milk i use for the milkshake. are these ok or should i take more? what do you recommend as i also need to lose fat thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 09:26
Steven
The biggest impact on muscle building comes from eating enough food. It will be hard to gain muscle on a low-calorie diet. I recommend train hard, lose the fat, then concentrate on building muscle. Muscle building requires protein intake and a smart amount of quality fats, so if you're cutting there isn't much else to cut out other then carbs.
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:17
karl
then thats perfect because with the high protein and low carb diet i am doing i eat plenty of calories from protein and quality fats. all i cut are the carbs thanks
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 14:31
Eric
I have been doing this for two weeks now, when should i move up in weight? Or should i do more reps per set?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 15:07
Steven
Every time you hit the upper rep range for an exercise, move up in weight.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:15
Brett
Hi, I'm unfamilier with the terminology - what do you mean by upper rep range? Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 11:11
Steven
If the rep range is 6 to 12 reps, the "upper" level for this range would be 12.
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Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 12:21
lazlo
is it bad to workout late with this routine
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 12:53
Steven
No.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:19
Brett
I jog some rest days which keeps my lower body in check. therefore i'd like to swop out the leg exercises for another body part on the Friday. What other upper body parts would you recommend i could slit with my shoulders on this routine?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 11:12
Steven
I wouldn't recommend avoiding training your legs. Cardio doesn't impact the body the same as resistance training.
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Posted Fri, 05/21/2010 - 18:43
chance
can i gain mass if all i have is 20lb dumbbells doing these workouts
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Posted Fri, 05/21/2010 - 18:48
chance
im already kinda built and all i got is 20lb dumbbells can i still gain muscle from this workout?
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Posted Sun, 05/23/2010 - 07:45
stulker
is it ok that i focus on abs workouts and yoga on Rest days?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/23/2010 - 20:36
Steven
Yes.
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Posted Sun, 05/23/2010 - 15:38
Sam
I start off with 11.5kg worth of weight, which I can handle for all the leg exercises (so I need to start adding weight for them). However when it comes to the arm/shoulder/back/chest exercises I can typically handle a few sets, but then have to drop down to 8.5kg to finish all the sets and exercises. Is my dropping down to finish the routine a correct move or am I doing it wrong?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/23/2010 - 20:19
Steven
It's ok to drop weight as long as you are pushing for more on every set of each workout.
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Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 07:53
Sullymanman
When doing exercises that involve working one arm at a time eg One arm dumbell row. Do you work each arm for the stated 5 sets? Thank you
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 08:45
Steven
Yes. Perform that number of sets for each arm.
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Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 12:13
Chris
How long would you say it takes you to complete any day's weight lifting session?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:28
Steven
I would say an hour for Monday and Wednesday, and possibly 90 minutes on Friday.
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Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 19:40
jason
hi when doing these exercises, do I do them like circuit training for example; do 4 sets of dumbell bench then the 4 sets of incline bench?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:30
Steven
I would perform one exercise at a time. The workout wasn't specifically set up as a circuit.
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Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:07
Dash
May i skip dumbell skullcrusher, because it seems to hard.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:11
Steven
I recommend finding a suitable replacement exercise.
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Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:19
Dash
what would you recommend me.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:32
Steven
You could try: Closegrip Dumbbell Press http://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/close-grip-dumbbell-press.html
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Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 03:02
Dash
thanks, and the last question, are the rest days necessary.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 08:59
Steven
Yes. More is generally not better for natural athletes.
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Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 12:14
david
When doing sets of 12,10,10, and 8 reps, do you keep the same weight for each set as you decrease the number of reps?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 09:00
Steven
That's hard to say. You want to use as much weight as you can for each set. You may be able to keep the same weight for all sets.
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Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 13:24
timothy2575
how important is it to do this routine in order? back/back/back-bi/bi/bi i started doing it that way then just began to alternate back/bi/back/bi.. wasn't sure if im cheating myself.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 14:26
Steven
You want to be careful about taxing your biceps while still working back. Biceps are involved with most back movements to varying degrees, and in general it is better to do all your back work first.
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Posted Fri, 05/28/2010 - 15:24
timothy2575
ok thanx. what about the rest of the routines? should i just go from top to bottom? doing one muscle at a time?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/30/2010 - 13:02
Steven
Yes. That's generally the best way to workout.
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Posted Sun, 05/30/2010 - 00:52
Peter
I've just started this workout at home, but i also train 5 nights a week in Hanmudo (Korean martial art), would either workout hinder progress in the other? And is the workout enough to gain size if I'm already eating high protein diet?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/30/2010 - 08:13
Steven
Just make sure you are eating enough, and rest as much as possible. You should be fine.

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