This 5 day dumbbell only workout program only requires dumbbells and is perfect for those looking to build lean muscle mass at home or on the go!
Workout Summary

Workout Description

So, you’ve completed the 3 day full body dumbbell only workout?

AND you’ve completed the 4 day upper/lower dumbbell only workout as a form of progression?

Well, you’ve asked for it and today I’m bringing you the next step in our dumbbell only workout series.

The following workout, for those who only have access to a set of dumbbells, is a 5 day per week program.

It can be performed by those who work out at home in their home gym, travel frequently and need a go-to program they can do at a hotel gym, or anyone really who prefers to use dumbbells over other implements at the gym.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

5 Day Dumbbell Workout Split Overview

The workout can be performed for up to 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks, you may want to consider increasing the volume within the workout, the weight of the dumbbells you are using, or look into facilities that offer more of a variety of weighted equipment.

The program calls for you to work out 5 days per week. What days you decide to work out on are completely up to you. Just ensure that you incorporate 2 rest/active recovery days into your weekly schedule.

The goal of the program is to help you build muscle. Of course, if you’d rather use it to help aid in fat loss, that is completely fine too. Just be sure to adjust your caloric intake accordingly.

Keep rest periods right around the 45 second mark for this workout program.

If you have any other questions about this 5 day dumbbell only workout program, please be sure to leave them in the comment section below.

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps Dumbbell Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press 5 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-10
Dumbbell Floor Press 3 8-12
Standing Dumbbell Press 4 8-10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 8-12
Dumbbell Tricep Kickback 3 8-12

Day 2: Legs & Core Dumbbell Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Goblet Squat 4 8-10
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
Dumbbell Rear Lunge 4 8-10 Each
Dumbbell Frog Squat 3 8-12
Dumbbell Calf Raise 4 20
Weighted Crunch 3 20
Side Planks 3 20 Secs Each

Day 3: Back & Biceps Dumbbell Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bent Over Row 4 8-12
Tripod Dumbbell Row 4 8-12 Each
Dumbbell Pullover 3 8-12
Reverse Grip Dumbbell Row 4 8-12
Dumbbell Bicep Curl 3 10-15
Dumbbell Hammer Curl 3 10-15

Day 4: Legs & Core Dumbbell Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Squat 4 8-10
Dumbbell Deadlift 4 8-10
Dumbbell Split Squat 3 8-12 Each
Dumbbell Hip Thrust 4 10-15
Dumbbell Calf Raise 4 20
Dumbbell Side Bends 3 15 Each
Plank 3 20 Secs

Day 5: Complete Upper Body Dumbbell Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 4 8-10 Each
Dumbbell Arnold Press 4 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-12
Chest Supported Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
Dumbbell Pinwheel Curl 2 8-12
Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension 3 8-12
Dumbbell Shrug 3 12-15

We’d love to hear your results from using this program. Please be sure to let us know how it goes in the comments!

Next Workout: 6 Day Dumbbell Only Workout Program

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2024 - 23:52

Is it advisable to do this for 5 straight days then 2 days rest afterwards?

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Posted on: Wed, 02/28/2024 - 12:33

Hello Wakfu, if you've been working out for a while, then you could potentially train five days in a row, but I would suggest monitoring your recovery to make sure your strength isn't compromised.

If you're new to training, then it would be best to train no more than three days in a row without a day off. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2024 - 07:59

i always get muscle failure on day 3

Posted on: Sat, 02/17/2024 - 03:42

I just started program and love it! I have been doing a 5/3/1 BBB cycle and wanted to take a break from the barbell and see if I can refocus myself. Is there a version of this programming that includes gym machines as well?

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Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2024 - 09:14

We have other PF workouts here on M&S, Ryan. Check this one out.

Ahmed Shahab
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 21:04

Hi Josh great work out. I had one question for upper body days the dumbbells work just great for me. But on lower body/leg days would it be okay to use Smith Machine bars at Planet Fitness? I feel I can get better form and balance using the Smith Machine and especially for squats I feel like an anterior weighted bar gives me more control, balance and overall better form. Thanks.

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Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2024 - 09:12

What's good, Ahmed? Thank you for reading M&S!

These workouts were for people that had just dumbbells to work with. If you're able to use machines, then by all means go for it. Your reasoning makes perfect sense as well. Good luck and let us know how this works for you.

Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 15:56

Hi, what warm up routine would you recommend with this workout? Thanks

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Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2024 - 11:10

Hi Shane, this should help you warm up properly for these workouts.

Posted on: Fri, 02/09/2024 - 21:58

What would be be the best way and day to add push ups and dips?

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Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 05:29

Hi Alex, do dips on Day 1 and pushups on the upper body day at the end. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 02/04/2024 - 13:27

Why is the pdf set to print the entire length on half a page of one sheet of paper, instead of like 2 sheets, or both sides of one sheet? Is there a way to change that to print larger?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 05:28

Hi Aaron, I tried myself and found the same problem. The resolution I found was to screenshot half of the workouts on one image and print them that way. I will report this to my editor to see what we can do about it. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted on: Sun, 02/04/2024 - 06:00

Hey I'm 6,2 but only 67kg and wanting to bulk up a bit more. I have no bench and a very basic dumbbell set. I was wondering how you determine how much weight you should be lifting for each exercise. Also the 2 rest days, should they be split or one after the other? Thanks

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Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 05:26

Hello, Robert! For the bench exercises, use the floor. It won't be the same range of motion, but it beats nothing. As for weight, trial and error, I am afraid. Start very light and work up until you find a weight that is challenging. The rest days can be split up as you see fit. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2024 - 20:34

I have a question I have plates and barbells and a bunch of dumbbells I've yet to find a program that implement both what can I use barbells on to lift more weight the biggest dumbbells I have are 50lbs and I'm maxed in some exercises

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Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 05:24

Here is one for barbells and dumbbbells, Joseph. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 10:02

I have a question I don't have a bench at home. And I was gonna ask how do I do an decline bench press if I don't have one at home?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 09:28

Hey Josh, what do you have? Let me know the equipment you can work with, and I will do my best to help you out.

Posted on: Sat, 02/03/2024 - 15:06

I only have dumbbells that range from 15,20, and 30. I also don't have a bench at home so for some of the workouts involving chest I'll just do different push ups targeting that muscle group in the chest.

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Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 05:25

For the bench exercises you can do them off the floor. For decline, you may have to do dumbbell flyes instead. Hard to replicate the decline movement without a bench or access to dip bars.

Posted on: Sat, 01/27/2024 - 11:58

What sort of cardio do you recommend as a complement to this routine? I enjoy circuit training with low weights and compound movements for heart health but also have read articles indicating steady state cardio for longer durations is better for fat loss and overall health.

I'm an easy gainer with a stereotypical endomorph body and have been on a lifelong journey to "shrink" my thickness. I can put on size and strength very easily but getting rid of it is pushing water up hill.

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Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 09:28

Hi Cooper. If you've been doing the circuits but haven't noticed results, it may be time to make a switch. For a few weeks, do steady state cardio either in the morning or after training. If you wanted to do one circuit workout a week, I think that would be okay.

Also, consider your nutrition as well. You may need to make adjustments on that side to help kickstart your progress.

Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 20:46

Help me understand Why will the steady state cardio work better?

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Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2024 - 12:13

Steady state will help preserve muscle mass and keep your heart rate in a range that has been shown to be the best for both metabolism and calorie burning. This article on Zone 2 cardio may help you understand more about why steady state can work.

Posted on: Fri, 01/26/2024 - 17:35

hello, I'm close to 15 years old (overweight but not on an extreme cause) I have some history of working out, but sadly I do not have a bench, could this still work? thanks.

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Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 09:11

Hi Alan, you could do the flat bench work on the floor. You would have to skip the incline work, though. The closest I have found to an alternative to that is packing pillows and folded blankets on the floor for you to rest your upper body on. Even that isn't the best, however.

With that adjustment, I think you can still do this.

Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 17:39

Alright could I use a chair instead? Another question I have is would getting a bench give me better results? I'm thinking of getting one soon

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Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2024 - 12:02

You could for seated but I don't know how effective it would be for incline.

An adjustable bench is absolutely worth it. I highly suggest getting one. You can find them nowadays for less than $200. Not cheap but absolutely worth it.

Noah Clark
Posted on: Sun, 01/21/2024 - 16:37

So day 1 as an example should I do the DB bench press once and then move to the next exercise? Or do I do the 5 sets in a row with 45 sec rest in between and then move on to inc. bench press etc?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/23/2024 - 10:50

Hi Noah, do the five sets with 45 seconds of rest, then move on to the next one. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 01/18/2024 - 08:47

Hi! I’m in the middle of week 8 of this program and am loving it! I haven’t missed a single workout. I’ve increased the weight and reps each week. I’m noticing a lot of changes in my upper body, but not getting the results in my lower body. I’m 5’7, 135 lbs. I have a lot of cellulite in my legs and backside. I’ve added leg finisher workouts at the end of the leg days…squat jumps, hamstring curls with a ball, and banded glute bridges. Is there something I need to do to get better results? My diet is pretty good. Could use some work reducing alcohol and increasing protein. Anything else?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/23/2024 - 10:50

Hi Laura, it can take longer to see the results in the lower body, but they will come. The extra movements you put in are a good idea, and yes, backing off alcohol and upping protein is also recommended. What are you doing with your nutrition and supplementation?

Nathan J
Posted on: Sun, 01/14/2024 - 18:31

Hey there, I am a 14 year old, and I’ve been doing this workout for 10 weeks.

I see a strength gain and muscle mass gain for sure but I’m not really improving much anymore.

It’s still moderately difficult but I could do way more reps than what it says. Should I Superset or up my reps, maybe increase weight?

any help would be appreciated!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/23/2024 - 10:48

If you can up the weight, do it. Supersets at the end of the workouts are also a good idea to make it more interesting/challenging. If you try this, let me know what you think. Thank you for reading M&S, Nathan!

Posted on: Thu, 01/04/2024 - 04:32

Hey, im a 15 year old using this routine and im liking the soreness I’m getting since I know it’s working, is there any way to add some forearm workout into this program?

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Posted on: Sun, 01/07/2024 - 20:03

Hey Jonathan. Glad you like the program, but don't let soreness be the only way to determine how effective it is. Once you get used to training, the soreness may decrease, but you could still be having great workouts.

Forearm work: Add wrist curls to the end of all workouts. You can also do static holds with the heaviest weights you can manage and try to hold them for a set time. We also have other forearm exercises here.

Hope this helps!

Lennon Murphy
Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2024 - 13:53


I have 2 questions about day #3 Back & Biceps.

1) Can you recommend 1 additional back exercise? I find this is my shortest day of the 5, with 45 seconds of rest between sets and 2 minutes of rest between the different exercises.

2) I'm left handed. I've been doing 3x15 at 12.5 lbs for the bicep curls and the hammer curls. My right fatigues well before my left. What is the best way to help my right arm catch up without sacrificing an effective workout for my left? Lower weights for both arms? Fatigue my right but still finish up with my left?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!


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Posted on: Sun, 01/07/2024 - 19:48

Hello, Lennon. Go with shrugs for the traps. If you slightly bend forward at the hips and bring the dumbbells up and back, it will hit the middle of the upper back as well as the top of the traps.

As for the right arm, start every set with the right arm before switching to the left. Once you finsih with the left, go back to the right and do as many reps as you can. This is similar to a rest-pause set, and it can help make the right side work harder without having to sacrifice anything on the left. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2024 - 02:56

Im 16, 6’2 and 78kgs and im trying to build more of my chest, back, arms and shoulders instead of legs since I already train legs with the sports I play. What would you suggest I substitute instead of the second leg and core day? Since i feel like its excessive for me and I’d be better off training another muscle. Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/04/2024 - 19:52

Hey Jake, I would suggest simply taking a couple of exercises from each upper body workout and doing an upper body day. Pick your favorites for chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps, and do them all in a similar sets and reps scheme. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2024 - 05:55

Hey man does this workout help in gaining visible muscles?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2024 - 20:23

It can help with that. You should see some positive results within a couple of months as long as your diet and recovery are supporting your training.

Take pics now and again a couple of months from now, and you should see a positive difference.

Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2024 - 03:00

What diet and recovery would you suggest?

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Posted on: Thu, 01/04/2024 - 19:53
Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2024 - 03:19

I just noticed that Roger is saying we should complete one exercise at a time and then move to the next one. I've been doing them in rounds and increasing weight. I do like the progress I've seen with my current method. My concern about switching is that I would get tired too quickly. I'd be happy with more muscle, but I do pretty intense cardio after every workout and I'm afraid exhausting myself would leave me without enough energy to fully do each exercise followed by my cardio, which would result in me just gaining weight. This is why I avoided lifting previously.

I have my own pros of the current way I'm doing things; namely getting some results and able to be consistent. What are the pros and cons to each way?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2024 - 20:21

Hey Dale, If your way is working for you, then keep doing it. Getting results for you is what is most important. Most of the people reading this, however, would be wise to do each exercise in its entirety before moving on to the next.

As for your concern about getting tired too quickly, I don't think that would happen, but I am not there training with you. Try it for yourself and decide. Either way, thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2024 - 22:46

I decided to block off the sets into groups of 2 or 3. It's been working so far, but it takes longer than when I did circuit. I have some other questions about specific workouts. As the dumbbells get heavier, I feel more comfortable using a machine or having a spotter, so I'm trying to figure out some next steps. I'll ask the specific workouts on those pages, in case they've already been answered.


Posted on: Tue, 12/26/2023 - 18:37

I am on my second week of trying this exercise program. Before starting this program, my routine was five days a week of numerous super sets each day (legs included twice a week). These super sets focused on biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, forearms, and legs/calves.
However, the first week of your program caused some soreness that I was not expecting! I'm thankful for that soreness as it let me know that I need to change up my current program every now and then, and not do the same thing every week for years.
I will be looking into other programs on your website in the near future.

Posted on: Sat, 12/23/2023 - 17:18

Hi, thank you for the great program. I have a few questions: 1. Would I be able to use this program if I want to train martial arts (2/3 times a week)? I do my martial arts training late at night and I could do the dumbbell workout in the morning or during my free days. Or is it overkill? If so, would you recommend another of your programs?
2. I am not sure I do/understand progressive overload. Let's use the dumbbell bench press as an example. I am starting with a weight of 35 lbs. I start with 5 sets of 8 on the first week. Then I add another rep each week and after I reach the max I move on to a higher weight after which I reset the nr. of reps per set back to 8. Is it a good example of progressive overload?
Thank you!