Dumbbell Only Workout: 3 Day Full Body Dumbbell Workout

Dumbbell Only Workout: 3 Day Full Body Dumbbell Workout
This workout program only requires dumbbells, has just the right amount of volume to promote muscle growth, and is perfect to do at home or on the go.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
8 weeks
3
25-30 minutes
Dumbbells
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

The following workout is designed for those who only have access to a set of dumbbells.

It’s perfect for those who work out at home, travel and are on the road a lot, or beginners who are new to weight lifting.

It can be performed as a complete workout program for up to 8 weeks. At that point you may want to consider increasing the volume of the workouts or change up your routine to include more of a variety of equipment.

This program calls for you to work out 3 times a week. Since these workouts are full body workouts, it is best to have a rest day in between your work out days.

For example, you could perform this program on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This will give your body enough rest to recover in between workouts.

Be sure to track your rest periods during your workouts. The rest time in between sets for this program should be between 30-60 seconds.

Feel free to add cardio and ab specific training as you see fit. I’d recommend HIIT after your workouts on your work out days and a lower intensity form of cardio on your off/recovery days.

If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to ask in the comments section below!

After you've finished this workout program, move on to this 4 day dumbbell only workout program.

Day 1
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Squat 3 10
2. Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 10
3. Bent Over Dumbbell Row 3 10
4. Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10
5. Lateral Raises 2 8
6. Standing Dumbbell Curl 2 8
7. Lying Dumbbell Extension 2 8
Day 2
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Lunge 3 10
2. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl 3 10
3. Dumbbell Deadlift 3 10
4. Dumbbell Military Press 3 10
5. Dumbbell Flys 2 8
6. Hammer Curl 2 8
7. Seated Dumbbell Extension 2 8
Day 3
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Step Up 3 10
2. Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 10
3. One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 10
4. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Press 3 10
5. Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly 2 8
6. Zottman Curl 2 8
7. Close Grip Dumbbell Press 2 8

Post your post-workout swolfies in M&S gear on IG and tag @muscleandstrength, #muscleandstrength, or DM them to us to get a shoutout on Muscle & Strength stories!

242 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 12/09/2018 - 12:19
Quinton

Is there and advanced stage to this 3 day full body dumbbell workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:08
JoshEngland

Hi Quinton,

There's a whole series of workouts for dumbbells. The main difference is increasing the number of days you train. So while there's not another 3 day program, the next step after this one is the 4 day dumbbell only program:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-upper-lower-wor...

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Posted Sun, 12/09/2018 - 10:40
Ice

Can i add exercises to this workout program after i complete it for the day for specific part of my body that I need a little more help with like my chest and back isolation workouts?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:10
JoshEngland

Hi Ice,

Absolutely! Make it your own!

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Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 13:18
Ice

For this dumbbell workout does it really workout the whole body or just the main muscle groups?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 14:09
JoshEngland

Hi Ice,

It is a full body workout but each exercise targets a different muscle group.

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Posted Thu, 12/06/2018 - 16:00
Jack

Hi Josh. My goal is too loose weight but if possible build and maintain muscle at the same time since i am quite worried about loose skin ( Im only 18 anyway so shouldn't be a massive issue) would this dumbbell work out help with my goal? I plan to do this dumbbell routine and once im use to it starting to do HIIT stuff on the 3 days after the dumbbell work out. Then maybe having a relaxed jog on the rest days to keep me a bit more active, does this sound like a decent idea to you, thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:25
JoshEngland

Hi Jack,

That sounds like a great overall strategy! Yes, this program should help you with the goals you have mentioned.

Best of luck!

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2018 - 15:10
Ice

Hello
does this workout build muscle mass( strength) or size( hypertrophy) or both? Can i add SL 5x5 to this workout or just do this workout as it is? How many minutes of HIIT after the workout should I do? And would hiit affect my gains if i do it right after weight training? Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 12/04/2018 - 16:05
JoshEngland

Hi Ice,

This program can help with both. For maximum strength, there are better programs on our website: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/strength

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2018 - 16:40
Ice

How long should I do hiit after this workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:31
JoshEngland

Hi Ice,

Start off with 3 min warm up, 5 min HIIT, 3 min cool down and work your way up from 5 mins to no longer than 15.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:37
Ice

Should I do 5x5 compound exercise then do isolation? I want to build my chest my legs and my back.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 12/06/2018 - 13:59
JoshEngland

Hi Ice,

5x5 is definitely a solid rep scheme that will help you accomplish those goals.

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Posted Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:56
Mark

Hello Josh ,

Thanks for putting this program together, it is very helpful, I am on my 2nd week now and I feel better already .

I have two questions,
Can I do this excercise twice a day (AM and PM) on training days ? Or is it better just to do once .

I am trying to get better at pushups , is it ok to perform pushups on rest days , training days or not do at all ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/03/2018 - 13:14
JoshEngland

Hi Mark,

I'd recommend performing them just once as prescribed.

Sure, you can add in pushups to your training day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 11/26/2018 - 19:47
dale harding

Hello,
I'm going to try this work out next week onwards, I'm looking to get more of a muscular looking figure so bigger arms etc, I'm a 16 stone 6ft 2 male who plays football twice a week, and I'm a builder so very active! Is this the right workout for my goal?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 11/27/2018 - 11:29
JoshEngland

Hi Dale,

This is an excellent workout based on your goals and lifestyle.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 11/20/2018 - 00:05
dave

hey josh... is it fine if i'm not taking any supplement... will my body stilll gain enough muscle

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:52
JoshEngland

Hi Dave,

Yes, that is fine so long as your getting plenty of nutrients from your diet alone.

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Posted Thu, 11/15/2018 - 08:30
Yaz

this workout is amazing after an injury. i had to take a year and a half off due to my injury. I do go heavy on some sets to speed things up. i'm going to do the 4 and 5 day workouts that you recommended after I finish this also.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-upper-lower-wor...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/5-day-dumbbell-only-workout-s...

i totally appreciate your hard work to give us this awesome workouts.
THANK YOU !!!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:52
JoshEngland

Thanks Yaz!

Hope you enjoy all of them! I have a 6 day program coming out next month to add onto this list as well. It'll be linked at the bottom of the 5 day program once it is published.

Best of luck with your goals!

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Posted Tue, 11/13/2018 - 15:23
Adam

Both the military press and flys give me pain in my left shoulder and I'm only lifting 6kg should I lower weight whilst doing sets hoping pain stops before moving up in weight or change to different exercise?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/16/2018 - 11:12
JoshEngland

Hi Adam,

Tough to make a recommendation here since I can't view how you're performing the exercise and what is causing you pain.

Definitely don't do anything that causes you pain. You can certainly experiment to find a weight or variation that doesn't cause pain, but it's difficult to recommend anything over the internet. Alternatively, you can look for a professional trainer in your area to help address the issue and find pain-free movements.

I know it's probably not the answer you were hoping for, but it's the best I can provide.

Hope it helps!

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Posted Thu, 11/01/2018 - 04:48
Steven Nguyen

Hello Josh,

I'm a beginner, 125 lbs, 6 ft, trying to get bigger. I was wondering if I could rearrange the individual exercises into categories of body regions (e.g. arms, legs, torso) and then work on my arms Day 1, my legs Day 2, then chest Day 3. Instead of taking a day to rest in between each, I'd be resting my arms during the two days I focus on other body parts, and I'd be working out everyday essentially. Would an everyday workout system like that be more or less effective than the one you suggested (work full, rest, work full..)? I don't mean to be rude in changing your system; I just want to know if working out everyday will speed up my progress or have the opposite effect.

Thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 11/01/2018 - 08:54
JoshEngland

Hi Steven,

For beginners, I always recommend full body workouts over body part splits. They simply work better and there's a lot of science out there that backs up the notion.

Of course, if that's what you enjoy, I'd say go for it. At the end of the day - the work out you enjoy doing is the one you're most likely to do and the one that will likely get you the best results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/29/2018 - 14:33
Haley

Hi,

I was wondering if each of these are a full body work out? Like is day 1 full body, day 2 full body, etc. Or are the three days together considered full body?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/30/2018 - 10:53
JoshEngland

Hi Haley,

Each day is considered a full body workout.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:09
Andrea

Hi Josh, what weight would you recommend I start with for this program? I have 3 kg dumb bells, would that be heavy enough to see results? In general what are some good weight variations to have for home based training?
My 14 year old son also wants to start doing this workout with me - what weight would you recommend for him? He's an active, sporty kid.
Thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 10/24/2018 - 10:21
JoshEngland

Hi Andrea,

That's tough. You'll be stronger on different lifts than others, so it's difficult to recommend one weight. Generally, you should pick a weight you think you can use for the prescribed reps. If too heavy, move down. If too light, move up. You should finish each set feeling as though you have 1-2 reps left in the tank. A good rule of thumb is 75-85% of your working max for the prescribed rep ranges.

If only able to purchase one set of dumbbells at a time, I'd go with one that will be challenging for your weakest exercise. Then the next time, pick a set that will be challenging for your strongest. In no time, you'll have a solid home gym.

Same would be said for a 14 yr old performing this program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 10/13/2018 - 19:37
Carolyn

Given my work schedule and the time I have available to work, is it okay if I did the 3 day split like this?
Week 1: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
Week 2: Monday, Thursday, Friday
And repeat.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/15/2018 - 14:21
JoshEngland

Hi Carolyn,

Depending on the weight used and your ability to recover, I think this should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/08/2018 - 17:45
Kev

Can I use the triangle system in which where I do many reps with small weights and increase weight with a decrease in reps...... Other thing is how soon should would I see a difference in strength

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/09/2018 - 09:55
JoshEngland

Hi Kev,

Sure - the program is simply a template. Feel free to alter it in whatever ways best match your goals.

It takes time. That being said, if your goal is strictly building strength, you'd be better off training heavier in a lower rep range on some of your key lifts. One of these programs might suit you better:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/strength

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 10/04/2018 - 16:47
Tsubasa

Hi, I am going to start this workout and I want to get stronger without getting really bigger is it good If I do 8 reps instead of 10 and if I do it as a circuit
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:07
JoshEngland

Hi Tsubasa,

You'll build strength and lean muscle mass. Sure, you can change the workout up that way.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/01/2018 - 22:20
Arjun

i was wondering that would this help with abs and fat?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/02/2018 - 09:13
JoshEngland

Hi Arjun,

Not directly, but it can help you burn calories which will help in your fat loss efforts - fat loss is needed to be able to see your abs.

The most important thing when it comes to abs is eating right and sleeping enough. Check out these articles:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-diet-to-get-abs

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/get-shredded-while-you-sleep

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/27/2018 - 17:34
Bob

What would you recommend after the eight weeks
are complete as far as another work out routine?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/28/2018 - 09:03
JoshEngland
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Posted Sat, 10/06/2018 - 13:51
Bob

Thanks for the reply and info.

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Posted Tue, 09/25/2018 - 11:39
Dave

Is there an recommended means of determining what the correct weight is to use for each of these sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2018 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Dave,

Pick a weight you think you can use for the prescribed reps. If too heavy, move down. If too light, move up. You should finish each set feeling as though you have 1-2 reps left in the tank. A good rule of thumb is 75-85% of your working max for the prescribed rep ranges.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 09/24/2018 - 15:42
George P

Should all sets of each exercise be completed one at a time or should the exercises be performed as a circuit?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 16:55
JoshEngland

Hi George,

Both can work. It was written to perform all sets at a time before moving on to the next exercise.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/21/2018 - 06:51
Jake

Hello I am liking this work out plan a lot my only problem is I don't have a bench so some of the work outs I can't do. How can I substitute those workout without a bench. Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/21/2018 - 11:25
JoshEngland

Hi Jake,

Perform lying on floor or utilizing a sturdy chair.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/23/2018 - 18:16
Jake

Thanks! I was worried lying on the floor wouldn't give me the full range of motion. Thank you though this is a great workout.

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Posted Fri, 09/21/2018 - 05:46
Christian Gonzalez

Is it okay to do 30 minutes cardio on recovery days? Like Tuesday's and Thursdays? Instead of doing hiit after workout and still good results?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/21/2018 - 11:25
JoshEngland

Hi Christian,

Yes, that is completely fine.

Hope this helps!