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.

Editor's Note: Make sure you’re doing all the right things you need to be doing to build lean muscle mass. For those looking for a more in-depth resource to teach them how to build muscle, we’ve created a FREE 5 day Muscle Building Email Course.

The course will teach you how your body builds muscle, how to utilize workout plans on our website to maximize muscle growth, how to eat to build muscle, how to supplement to build muscle and how to track your progress.

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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!

758 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 01/14/2021 - 23:48
Mark

Hey! Loving this workout, im almost at week 8 but i dont have the time to do the 4 day program, does it still work if i keep doing the 3 day program with increased weight?

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Posted Fri, 01/15/2021 - 09:27
Abigail_M&S

Hey Mark - glad you're loving the program! Yes, you can repeat this program once you finish the 8 weeks.

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 01:41
Jose

2 questions

1. Which HITT and/or abs program do you recommend after a workout in each of these days? Especially if you're just getting back into working out.

2. To follow up on recovery days, which low intensity cardio do you recommend?

I hope to try and force myself to go Monday and Friday (27. 5"7', 140lbs, trying to gain overall muscle mass/reduce belly)

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:21
Abigail_M&S

Hey Jose - check out this ab workout: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/27-home-based-ab-workout.html. For low intensity cardio on recovery days, you can go for a walk/hike or do 30-45 minutes on the treadmill or stair master.

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Posted Sun, 01/10/2021 - 21:09
David R.

Is there any direction you can offer regarding choosing the appropriate weight when starting this program and increasing weight through it’s progression?

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:12
Abigail_M&S

Hey David - you should choose a weight that you can move safely and with correct form for the given number of reps. You can increase weight when the current weight you're using no longer serves as a challenge.

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Posted Sun, 01/10/2021 - 14:47
Kima

Would anyone mind recommending some ab exercises that could be added to this workout(I'm really a beginner, I have no idea what to do) that are dumbbell only - or without equipment?

Thanks in advance!

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:10
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kima - check out this ab program you can add at the end of your workouts: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/27-home-based-ab-workout.html

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Posted Sun, 01/10/2021 - 03:45
Fredrik

Been doing this now for 7 weeks, after next week will start the 12 week 4 times a week workout plan. Have noticed muscle gain and that i'm stronger already.

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:09
Abigail_M&S

Hey Fredrik - awesome job!! Keep us updated on your progress.

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Posted Fri, 01/08/2021 - 12:13
Stan

Should I do this program or Frankoman's dumbbell only split workout? I'm completely new to weights. Got adjustable dumbbells max 10kg per side. 17y. I read doing full body workout is more effective for beginners. Let me know )

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:08
Abigail_M&S

Hey Stan - both programs are great! You are correct that starting with full body workouts is more effective for beginners. With this program, we also have 4, 5, and 6 day versions that you can progress through as well.

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Posted Thu, 01/07/2021 - 18:11
Charlie

I’m 16 been tryna put on muscle for a while and there’s definitely some, I’d consider myself one of the bigger out of my friends however I wanna focus on arm growth and overall physique and size, is there a program for this ?

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Posted Fri, 01/08/2021 - 09:21
Abigail_M&S

Hey Charlie - are you restricted to only using dumbbells?

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Posted Thu, 01/07/2021 - 03:42
Vincent

I’m a 16 years old who is only 5’5 and 120 lbs (I believe I have fast metabolism) who wants to maximize my growth hormones to get taller (;-;) and gain muscle weight. With only a set of 10lbs dumbbells. Do you think this would be a good workout plan?

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Posted Thu, 01/07/2021 - 09:53
Abigail_M&S

Hey Vincent - check out this workout centered around training with only a single set of dumbbells: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/single-pair-dumbbell-bodyweig...

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Posted Sat, 01/02/2021 - 15:30
Issi

Hi.. Just starting off.. Do I use the same weight for each exercise?

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Posted Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:29
Abigail_M&S

Hey Issi - yes you'll use the same weight

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 00:55
Ghufran Yousaf

I'm a 21-year-old 5'9 guy who currently weighs 187 pounds and I want to lose fat and build muscle. I currently only own a basic bench and a set of 4 kg dumbells (will be getting 8 kg soon).

I want to ask the following questions:

1. Is this workout is suitable for me as it's only been a month since I've started working out.
2. What HIIT program would you recommend after the workouts?
3. Would an hour or two of walking suffice for my rest days?
4. I work a 9-5 job so what would be the best time for me to work out (preferably after 5 pm)?
5. Should I eat my dinner before or after working out?

Thanks in advance.

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:12
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ghufran - Since you only have one pair of dumbbells, check out this workout: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/single-pair-dumbbell-bodyweig.... For cardio, you shouldn't need to do HIIT plus 2 hours of walking on rest days. That's a lot of cardio and can hinder your body from recovering properly. You can either do HIIT or steady-state cardio after your workouts. As far as time of day to workout, you can work out after work. You can eat dinner before or after your workout. That is going to be personal preference.

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:17
Ghufran Yousaf

Would you recommend walking after my workouts? And if so for how long and also what is best for me on rest days?

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Posted Tue, 12/29/2020 - 09:05
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ghufran - 30-45 minutes of walking after your workouts will work. As far as rest days, it's best to have one or two complete rest days per week depending on how your recovery is.

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Posted Sat, 12/26/2020 - 18:35
J

Just completed week 8. I haven't seen much progress in terms of physique but I certainly feel stronger, and I've also progressed with the amount of weight over the weeks. It was only around the week 6 mark where I actually properly took hold on my diet and try to hit the macros (esp protein) but I am always experimenting trying to find the best way to achieve this.. Going onto the 4 day program now, with a better mindset and I'm confident I can smash this program + my diet goals. This program is a great one for beginners, thanks m&s!

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:06
Abigail_M&S

Hey J - great job!!

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Posted Sun, 01/03/2021 - 18:49
J

Thank you, I also thought I should add this just in case one person finds this useful - think it was actually around week 4 (instead of week 6 not sure what I was thinking) where I decided as a skinny fat guy to start 'bulking', so hitting 2600 cals (for age/weight/maint cals yknow how it goes) where in reality as a skinny fat guy I probably should have been in a calorie deficit. I gained about 4.4 pounds (dec to jan) on the scale and while I definitely feel stronger, I realised I want to reduce my body fat % so I'm going back to week 1 and starting at a calorie deficit as I don't really feel comfortable gaining more weight and fat at the moment. Does this mean I wasted 8 weeks doing this? Well up to anyone's interpretation, I know I'm stronger than I was when I started, but now I know what must be done to achieve what I want and as cliche as it sounds, its all part of the journey... Aiming for 2000 cals a day hitting that protein good and will do this program for 8-12 weeks and keep this thread updated.

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Posted Wed, 12/23/2020 - 13:02
josh

Hi, should I add any isolation/ab exercises at the end of the workout?

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:07
Abigail_M&S

Hey josh - you can add in ab exercises at the end of your workout.

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Posted Tue, 12/22/2020 - 23:26
K.

I just wanted to take a few moments, nearly nine months after I started using this routine, to first thank the developers and to make a few comments about it.

When the quarantine hit, I had just finished moving a very basic weight bench and basic set of dumbbell weights (3lb to 20lb sets) into my basement. I needed a very basic workout to go with my very basic circumstances, and I needed something to keep my body moving in a crazy, crazy world. This workout provided me with exactly that. It's compact rather than time intensive and perfectly accessible (particularly given the links to exercise how-to's) for beginners or people who dabble in lifting but may not have done so in a while.

Since my office has opened back up, it continues to be an integral part of my weekly life. It may be designed for only 8 weeks, but it remains perfectly useful and pragmatic to my circumstances in addition to fitting well into my schedule.

Thank you again, guys. Thanks to this, my quarantine bod came out a little more shreddy and a little less fluffy. I look forward to digging into some of your other workouts when my home-gym circumstances have changed a bit more.

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Posted Wed, 12/23/2020 - 10:04
Abigail_M&S

Hey K. - so glad you found success in this workout! Great job sticking to it!

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Posted Wed, 12/16/2020 - 09:30
RL

This is yet another "dumbbell only" workout that is NOT dumbbell only! You also need a bench!

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Posted Sat, 12/12/2020 - 21:18
Henry

Hi! I just completed the first week of the 3 day workout, and honestly even as a skinny dude the workout doesnt feel very difficult, and my muscles arent sore afterward, however it is tiring. (I'm using 15 pound dumbbells). Would you recommend upping the weight I use? OR, would you recommend that I switch the 4-day-a-week workout with the dumbbells as more of a challenge? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 12/14/2020 - 09:23
Abigail_M&S

Hey Henry - if the weight isn't challenging, I would up the weight. Do you only have the 15s?

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Posted Sat, 12/12/2020 - 16:09
Greg

Question: is it okay to do some jumping jacks, burpees or jump rope to warm up prior to doing this workout? Also I always assumed this workout was done in a circuit? What is the advantage of doing all sets per exercise at once (or what is the disadvantage to a doing in a circuit)?

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Posted Sat, 12/12/2020 - 12:57
Martin

How can I add this workout to the M&S app?

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Posted Mon, 12/14/2020 - 09:15
Abigail_M&S

Hey Martin - we currently don't have an app

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Posted Fri, 12/11/2020 - 07:08
Atacan

Great workout. Is it really the best to rest? I am not very tired during the pandemic period, is there a program that I can fill those gaps rather than doing nothing on the rest day? Or should i just have a rest?

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Posted Fri, 12/11/2020 - 09:05
Abigail_M&S

Hey Atacan - yes, it's best to follow the program as written. If you're looking for something a bit more challenging, check out our 5-day dumbbell only workout: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/5-day-dumbbell-only-workout-s...

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Posted Sat, 12/12/2020 - 18:57
Christopher Day

Do cardio and core

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Posted Sat, 12/05/2020 - 11:22
Prasad

Great training programme. I am in mid of it. Just one query about weights ..lets say Im working with now 2 x12 pounds ...Can i increase in middle of this 8 week programme ...or stick to it. What after 8 weeks ? thanks a ton

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Posted Mon, 12/07/2020 - 09:03
Abigail_M&S

Hey Prasad - you can increase weights from week to week!

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Posted Fri, 12/04/2020 - 00:26
ramit

do we have to do 10 lunges per leg in day 2 for each set?

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Posted Fri, 12/04/2020 - 08:07
Abigail_M&S

Hey ramit - you'll do 10 total lunges

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Posted Thu, 12/03/2020 - 23:42
Ramit

Do we have to do 10 dumbbell one arm row per hand like in total 60 one arm rows with both hands combined..right?

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Posted Fri, 12/04/2020 - 08:07
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ramit - you'll 10 rows per arm for each set.

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Posted Sun, 11/29/2020 - 21:44
Gab

Hello, I am a beginner in workouts. Will this help in fat loss in the chest and the stomach? Also, is jump rope enough for the rest days?

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Posted Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:33
Abigail_M&S

Hey Gab - sadly, you can't spot-reduce fat. A solid diet paired with a workout program like this one will help you reach your goals. You can do jump rope as your cardio.

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Posted Thu, 12/03/2020 - 03:59
Gab

But, will these program help me lose fat overall? Or just for muscle building?

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Posted Thu, 12/03/2020 - 11:46
Abigail_M&S

This will help with both.

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Posted Thu, 12/03/2020 - 19:38
Gab

Ok, thanks a lot!

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Posted Mon, 11/16/2020 - 12:19
A

I have a pull-up stick that I can use what exercises can I replace with pull-ups?