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!

212 Comments+ Post Comment

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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!

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Posted Tue, 09/18/2018 - 17:44
Muc

Hi! I want to ask about the 2nd day's 2nd exercise: the "hamstring curl". It looks really dangerous especially when you have no one to help. My question is: can I replace this exercise with the "dumbbell stiff legged deadlift" or [I am sure] you have a better idea?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/19/2018 - 14:10
JoshEngland

Hi Muc,

Sure, that is a fine substitution. You could also do bodyweight hamstring curls by wearing socks and sliding your heels to your torso if you have hardwood floors.

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Posted Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:37
Ganesh

Hello Sir!! I am following the Work out plan with Dumbells Only.Since it is for beginners Can u pls provide for Intermediate as well as Expert one.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:11
JoshEngland

Hi Ganesh,

The intermediate plan is linked at the bottom of the page - a progression to that program will be added in the future.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 09/19/2018 - 03:52
Ganesh

Thanks Sir for the Info.

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Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 14:32
Martino

is this the best workout plan to buid muscule if i only have dumbbells and a bench? or is there better ones, and is it effective? will i see a change in a cuple of months?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 16:57
JoshEngland

Hi Martino,

This program does work - give it a shot!

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Posted Sun, 09/16/2018 - 09:19
Jourdal

What exercises should I do on this list or replace if I have shoulder issues? Is there a way to train around it and possibly rehab too?(shoulder impingement/rotator cuff injury).I have followed this program as the gym available to me only has dumbells, bench, multipress machine ang leg machine. I have followed this program for 2-3 months during that time I was also using a multi-press machine(incline,shoulder,chest machine) and was working out every other day. I stopped working out for about a month or two after my initial injury. The orthopedic doctor said this will eventually go away with time and that it is more like a sprained ankle but also said that I can workout but with lighter weights and with proper form. I found that my shoulders will pop and is painful when I do a fly that is without weights and upright.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi Jourdal,

With any injury, I recommend finding a personal trainer in your area. Injuries can affect movement patterns in ways that people cannot see and account for over the internet. Find a good trainer and pick their brains for a couple months. It'll be worth the investment.

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Posted Mon, 09/03/2018 - 19:40
Chris

Josh,
Working in the oil and gas industry I travel all over the world. This work out is awesome! Most all hotels and extended stays at minimum typically have dumbells. Getting back in my routine, sticking to my meal plan and now motivated! Thanks man!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:46
JoshEngland

Hi Chris!

Awesome to hear! Glad to be able to provide a program that fits your needs and goals! Keep crushing it!

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Posted Sat, 09/01/2018 - 17:43
Nedwaitt

Hey can you send me an intermediate all dumbell workout I have been bodybuilding for 21 years go to gym right now. I used to have a full cage and full set of dumbells 10 to 90lb. I dont want to go to gym anymore I am planning on buying a bodysolid home gym next year. I am 41 trying to get a home dumbell workout to full body to burn more fat preserve muscle. I am going to purchase a bench and a pair of adjustable dumbells.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:47
JoshEngland

Hi Nedwaitt,

Give this one a shot: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-upper-lower-wor...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 08/30/2018 - 18:31
Martins

Hi Josh. Can I substitute the Dumbbell Stiff Dead Lift with Hamstring Curls?
Can I substitute the Dumbbell Deadlift with Hiperextensions?
Deadlifts are tough for me since I'm a complete beginner, . If you have any better sugestions, please tell me. Thank you for the awesome workout.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 08/31/2018 - 10:56
JoshEngland

Hi Martins,

Unless physically unable to, I always recommend keeping deadlift variations in peoples workouts. Even if you have to start light and focus on mastering the form, it's a worthwhile exercise to perform and master.

That being said, there's no rule starting you HAVE to deadlift. if you don't like it, you can sub them out for other options.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 08/30/2018 - 14:13
Vinod

Hi,

I would like to know if there is any other alternative to the dumbbell step up workout? I have an average build body and I would like to know if I can use this workout routine to get lean instead of getting bigger.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 08/30/2018 - 15:32
JoshEngland

Hi Vinod,

Any dumbbell lunge variation should do the trick. Yes, this program can be used as part of a complete approach to accomplish those goals (but you'll need to address other factors such as diet, sleep, and stress as well).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 08/28/2018 - 21:34
Ky

How much time do you recommend between each exercise?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:15
JoshEngland

Hi Ky,

30-60 Seconds should do the trick.

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Posted Wed, 08/29/2018 - 18:34
Ky

Just to be clear, that's 30-60 seconds between sets and each exercise right?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 08/30/2018 - 09:15
JoshEngland

Hi Ky,

Yes, that is correct.

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Posted Thu, 08/23/2018 - 21:04
Will

Hey Josh

Quick question. When doing the 3 set exercises, should I start off with a lower weight and add weight each rep, like a 5x5 program? Or should I keep the weight the same for each set?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 08/24/2018 - 10:28
JoshEngland

Hi Will,

You can do either or depending on what you have access to and what you prefer.

I don't think it's a bad idea if you are able to do it. But as long as you are increasing the total amount of weight you move each workout from week 1 to the final week of the program, you will see results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 08/18/2018 - 00:48
Maxi

Hi can i exercise more than 8 week or it is better this way?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:01
JoshEngland

Hi Maxi,

You can use this program for longer than 8 weeks if you wish. Or you can progress to the 4 day dumbbell workout listed at the bottom of the article.

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Posted Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:06
Patrick

Could I start over day 1 exercises on day 5, day 2 on day 7 etc and just keep working out every other day? I feel like I would feel more productive this way? Let me know what you think, thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 15:01
JoshEngland

Hi Patrick,

Sure you can absolutely do that.

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 11:31
Nikhil

Hi Josh! What should be the weight of the dumbbells?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:06
JoshEngland

Hi Nikhil,

Depends on your strength and amount of pairs of dumbbells you have access to. You want each exercise to be challenging, but you should finish each set feeling as though you have one more rep left in the tank.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 08/05/2018 - 08:42
Dennis hobbelen

Hi josh,

I have just read your article and it look very promising, but i have some questions.

Since i have a busy life (wife, 3 kids, work) 1 started to do a 2 day ful workout, today i first grapped the dumbels for my biceps (doing machines now for 4 weeks) and noticed that i can pul 10 kg on one hand but on the machine 27 with both.

So i wanted to use your schedule for a 2 day full workout, is that posiible ? I don't have to be a body builder (altough i don't mind) but in combination With my new diet (1800 calories a day) to go from 97 kg to 77 kg and build up muscle (lose the belley fat).

Again i am no builder, a body like jason statham would be more theb enough for me :)