Dumbbell Only Home Or Gym Full Body Workout

Short on equipment? No worries! This dumbbell only workout can be used at home or in the gym for building muscle mass. You can also use this as a muscle shock workout to mix things up.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
8 weeks
3
30 minutes
Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Male
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

Stuck at home and only have dumbbells? Maybe you're in a rut and what to try something different?

The dumbbell only home or gym full body workout focuses on the use of heavy compound lifts, and allows you to maximize muscle gains with minimal equipment. This workout can be run for an extended period of time. As long as you are experiencing strength and muscle gains, stick with this routine! Here are some key elements to maximizing progress:

  1. Progression. Never waste a set. Always push for more reps on every set using good form. When you can hit the top level of the recommended rep range on your first set of an exercise, add weight! This means that if an exercise calls for 3 sets of 6 to 12 reps, and on your first set you can perform 12 reps, add more weight the next time you perform this exercise.
  2. Failure. Do NOT train to failure. Train to the point where you believe you might fail if you attempt another rep.
  3. Food. You MUST eat more then it takes to maintain your bodyweight to pack on muscle mass. If you do not do this, you may add strength, but it will be very difficult to add muscle.

A note for women: Women can perform this workout. Recommend rep range is 10 to 15 for most sets.

You will be working out 3 days per week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Do not add additional exercises into this workout. Cardio can be performed first thing in the morning, or post-resistance training.

Monday
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Squat 3 6-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 6-12
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 6-12
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 6-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 6-12
Sit Up 3 10-25
Wednesday
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Step Up 3 6-12
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 6-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 6-12
Standing One Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 10-20
Dumbbell Shrug 3 10-15
Dumbbell Side Bends 3 10-15
Friday
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 3 6-12
Dumbbell Floor Press 3 6-12
Wide Grip Pull Up 3 6-12
Standing Hammer Curl 3 6-12
Lying Dumbbell Extension 3 6-12
Lying Floor Leg Raise 3 10-25

1.8K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 02/11/2018 - 18:53
Richard

Hi -- Just started using this routine. I would like to add a forearm set at the end of one of these days? Which day would make the most sense to add in my forearm set please? Cheers, Rich

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:49
JoshEngland

Hi Richard,

I'd recommend farmer's walks, but you can simply pick any forearm exercise: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/forearms

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 02/11/2018 - 02:05
Austin

Hey SIr,
I am a skinny guy and have never gone to gym in my life.

This week, I bought a pair of dumbells, each 5 pounds. Now my question is if I do the above exercises will I get big and bulky and is this program actually for skinny guys like me ? Please help.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:51
JoshEngland

Hi Austin,

Yes, with time, patience, dedication, and implementing progressive overload (buying heavier weights over time), you'll see muscular gains performing this workout.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/10/2018 - 10:56
Natanael Betanc...

Can you follow this program even if you are underage? 16 to be specific.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:50
JoshEngland

Hi Natanael,

Yes, this program is perfectly fine for 16 year olds to perform.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 14:41
Peter Palazzolo

Hi, I'm thinking of starting this workout with my girlfriend soon. Would this work abs and pecs as much as everything else? Just wanted to find a workout that equally balances the whole body.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:02
JoshEngland

Hi Peter,

Yes, this program will help you build a balanced physique.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 14:08
Josh

Hey, this work out looks great. Thanks for posting it. So my aim was to use this work out to not just build strength/muscle, but most importantly to lose weight, as I've gotten about 50-60 lbs past where I should be at. I've been eating cleaner and doing cardio, but I've been told that doing just cardio would only serve to burn muscle as well as fat. Do you have any suggestions, particularly for food intake, when weight loss is a major goal? I was just concern that eating more than what it takes to maintain my body weight would counteract the weight loss. Any information would be great Thanks again.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 14:14
JoshEngland

Hi Josh,

Weight loss is simply an energy control equation. You have to burn more calories than you take in.

Start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Subtract 250-500 calories from the number you get and aim to eat that many calories each day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 13:05
Ryan cooper

Hi, cannot believe you guys shared such information with us for free. Thank you guys. Will start following routines. Again thank you. :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 16:21
JoshEngland

Hi Ryan,

You're welcome! Best of luck accomplishing your goals!

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Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 09:46
Jack

I'm currently working to build more muscle. I just recently had a child, so I'm not able to make it to the gym like I used to. I bought a set of powerblocks elite 50 and adjustable bench. Is this workout just as effective as using the machines in the gym? I've lost the weight, i want to pack the muscle on. I just want a good routine to do at the house to build muscle.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:53
JoshEngland

Hi Jack,

This workout is definitely effective. Is it as effective as workouts you could do in the gym? It depends on the person. Everyone reacts differently to different workout programs.

At the end of the day, this one sounds like it will best fit your individual lifestyle and if performed consistently and paired with an appropriate diet, will help you accomplish your goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 01/21/2018 - 21:36
Dan

"Cardio can be performed first thing in the morning, or post-resistance training"

I try to run 2 - 3 times a week, generally after work during the week days and during the day either Saturday or Sunday (4 - 5 miles per run, average 8 minute-per-mile pace). If I were to do this workout plan Mon-Tues-Wed in the mornings before work, and keep the running to after work hours or on the weekend, would that be a viable strategy for muscle gain? (along with a proper diet, of course).

Thanks for providing all of this free info.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 09:27
JoshEngland

Hi Dan,

You're welcome man! Thank YOU for reading.

Sure, that sounds fine. The amount in which you run might limit your overall ability to build muscle, but you should still see some noticeable gains provided your diets on point.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 01/14/2018 - 18:08
David J Rodriguez

I have 4 pairs of dumbbells 15lb, 20lb, 25lb, 30lb. And adjustable bench. I was wondering how to use my weights with this 8 week program. Should I start with 30's only or do like a reverse pymarid starting 30 working down to the 15lb 's. Looking to build mass with what I have.. Any suggestions? Thanks..

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/15/2018 - 08:42
JoshEngland

Hi David,

That's definitely an option. Other recommendations would depend on your muscular strength and endurance. Personally for me, I'd probably use the heaviest weight possible for sets of 12, manipulating the rep tempo when able as a form of progressive overload.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:06
David

Eating Question: How to eat more ? Do I do the 40% Carbs, 40% Protein, 20% Fats Where i eat 2 to 3hours through out the day. Not sure if this eating method applies because I'm not lifting super heavy weights. To maintain my weight 181lb's my calories is approximate 2, 716.50. Any free advise or suggestions on the nutrition. Thanks again!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/15/2018 - 15:00
JoshEngland

Hi David,

You should be consuming approximately 45-65% of your calories from carbohydrate sources. Protein you can consume 10-35% and fat you can consume 20-35%.

To eat more, choose more caloric dense foods such as healthy fat sources: nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters, oils, fatty fish, etc.

You can also drink your calories - i.e. sports drinks and protein drinks.

Those are the two easiest ways to eat more during the course of the day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/01/2018 - 13:08
Ryan

Given that the legs are worked each time, would it be a bad idea to also incorporate a moderate 30 minute jog on the off days? Ex: Tues, Thurs, Sun? I know there could be a risk to overtrain but I'm trying to get back into running but I also want to start a fullbody routine. Thank you for the help.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/02/2018 - 09:34
JoshEngland

Hi Ryan,

That should be a fine addition to this program for most healthy individuals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 11/18/2017 - 06:48
Faisal

Hi, I am 15 years old. My question is that I have 2 kg dumbbells so what is your recommendation on the sets and reps since I do not feel any pain or change in my muscles.

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Posted Sun, 12/03/2017 - 06:47
Luciano

Hey, sup! To make your muscles grow you'll need heavier dumbbells, if you want to gain mass it is recommended that you use what you consider medium to heavy weights and less than 12-15 reps, combine that with 0:45 - 1:30 rest between sets and you're good to go

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Posted Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:54
Ben

Hi, been doing this programme for nearly 8 weeks now very happy with results! wondered what other programs you'd recommend to try next.

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Posted Sat, 10/28/2017 - 14:03
Rod

Hello, I really appreciate this template and have been doing it for quite a number of weeks now. I've upped the weight on my dumbbells too. I was wondering if there is a next level/more advanced workout that I can look at that is similar to this in the sense that it's an at home workout using primarily dumbbells? I feel like my body is getting conditioned to this workout pattern and it has started to diminish my gains. Thanks a lot for your help.

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Posted Fri, 10/27/2017 - 02:07
Evan Rahman

Hey man.. Just wanted to the food habit routine for this 2 months. i am 23 years old. I am 172.72 cm and 70 kg.

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Posted Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:38
Dominic

Hi again.
If I want to add another 1 set after 4 weeks of training, should I add it for larger muscle groups only like chest, back and legs? (biceps, triceps, shoulders - 3, chest, back, legs and abs - 4)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:30
JoshEngland

Hi Dominic,

Yes, that is one way you could progress with this program. Determining how to progress with come down to your individual goals and capabilities. I think this would be a fine option for most lifters.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 10/14/2017 - 23:32
Michael

Hello. Do you have any suggestions for warm ups before the workouts or stretches after the workouts? Any answer is appreciated! Thanks for you help!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/16/2017 - 09:58
JoshEngland
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Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 20:59
Nick Brown

This looks like a great workout plan. How much time is intended between each set?
How much between each exercise?
Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 10/11/2017 - 08:32
JoshEngland

Hi Nick,

Rest for 30-90 seconds after each set and exercise.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/09/2017 - 15:56
Dominic

I've got a very important question. Can I increase the number of sets to 4 after 4-6 weeks or would it be too much?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:08
JoshEngland

Hi Dominic,

That would be a great way to progress using this program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:42
Andy

Hi
Want to get my son doing this Dumbbell Full Workout Routine
He's 14 years old
What should he be doing Repetition Wise
Also am I correct in Saying not to heavy

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:07
JoshEngland

Hi Andy,

Does your son want to begin working out? The only reason I ask is if not, I wouldn't suggest forcing anything on him.

With that said, at 14 focus on teaching your son the importance of proper rest, sleep, and nutrition. I'd also recommend on focusing on proper form with him. Don't worry about weight, but really hammer down proper execution of the lifts.

This program should be a fine starting point for him.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 10/06/2017 - 13:08
Dominic

Hi again, Josh.
Can I move Wide Grip Pull Up exercise to Wednesday as my 7th exercise and replace this exercise on Friday by One Arm Dumbbell Row/Bent Over Dumbbell Row or is it a bad idea? The reason I wanna do this is that it's so hard for me to pull up after biceps training and I just can't pull myself up more than 3 times.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:03
JoshEngland

Hi Dominic,

Sure that should be a fine adaptation to this program.

If you struggle with pullups, you can also check out this article: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/pull-up-progressions

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/28/2017 - 09:20
Elliot Smith

Hi,

Interested in building muscle mostly in my arms to start. Would I see results because I don’t see too many bicep and triceps workouts each day. I’m about 160lbs with skinny Arms. Don’t really need to lose weight. Maybe gain some with muscle.

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Posted Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:54
Dominic

Hey Josh.
I've got another question. Can I replace dumbbell step up exercise on Wednesday with dumbbell squad just like on Monday? I don't feel a burn in my quads that much doing dumbbell step ups. I think that dumbbell squads work better for quad muscles but that's just my opinion after few workouts. What do you think?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/27/2017 - 13:37
JoshEngland

Hi Dominic,

Sure, that would be a fine substitution.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/22/2017 - 05:29
Dominic

Is Frankoman's dumbbell split workout a good idea for 10 weeks after this workout? Or maybe should I try a new workout 4 times a week instead of 3? Please, answer.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/22/2017 - 08:40
JoshEngland

Hi Dominic,

That'd definitely be a good option to go to next. You're also more than welcome to ride this workout for as long as you see results (even if it is more than 10 weeks).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:46
Dominic

Can I change the order of exercises? I want to set seated dumbbell press for example as my first exercise on Wednesday. The rason is I can't increase the same amount of weight as in other exercises. The same case is with biceps training on Monday. Also can't add more weight for the last set. Can you answer to my question? It's very important for me.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:52
JoshEngland

Hi Dominic,

Yes, that should be fine. This program is simply a template, you are more than welcome to alter it to better fit your needs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 22:42
MrsDan

Hi! I have a quick question. I originally started this after lots of searching because it said at-home/beginner/dumbbell only routine. That is exactly what I was looking for! However, Im on day 3 of my first week and in 3rd exercise is a wide grip pull up? Did I miss something or was this put on here by mistake? I only have dumbbells and am doing this at home, hence the reason I picked this plan :)
Sorry if there is an obvious substitution; Ive never done weights before and am a true "beginner".
Thanks so much!!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/19/2017 - 08:36
JoshEngland

Hi MrsDan,

I'd personally do a dumbbell row variation. Unless you have some sort of resistance bands or cable pulley, you're not going to be able to mimic the pull up movement pattern to target the lats. That said, I'd highly recommend buying a pull up bar. Pull ups are a versatile exercise that has a lot of real world application. Plus, home pull up bars are fairly inexpensive to purchase. Just a thought.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/14/2017 - 10:19
Dominic

Can I add additional exercise for shoulders on Saturday + Wide Grip pull up on Sunday for example? It looks like there's only one exercise for shoulders on Wednesday, so would it be a good idea to train this body part twice a week just like biceps and triceps? Same with lats.

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Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 20:32
Anthony

I am looking for a good workout plan that can help me to gain muscle weight