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

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.

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

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

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Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2021 - 22:50


If I have the energy in between workout days, should I continue with full body workouts, or would it better to increase sets on my workout days instead?

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Posted on: Fri, 09/10/2021 - 20:18

Hi, Kevin. Try adding a set to each exercise on the workout days. Save the off days for recovery. Those are important for your overall progress.

Posted on: Sat, 08/21/2021 - 00:59

Hey.. How can i add pushups in all three days?

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Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 20:58

Hi, Smith. If you really want to add in pushups, use them to help you warmup before the workout begins, or you can do them at the end of the session for a good burnout. Try both and see which works best for you.

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/2021 - 16:38

Would it be alright to perform Dumbbell Squats 3x a week (removing Dumbbell Step Ups and Dumbbell Lunges) in this workout?

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Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 08:50

Hi, John. The step ups and lunges offer different benefits than dumbbell squats, so keeping them in the program would be best. If for some reason you can't do them, then check out the M&S Exercises section to find other alternatives that you feel you can do.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2021 - 23:44

I've been doing this workout for a few weeks now, and I love it! Quick question: Would the workout lose any of its effectiveness if you split up the six exercises for a particular day, for example, doing three in the morning and three in the evening? Thank you!

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Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 08:44

Hi, JG. The workout would be most effective doing it as it is written. However, if you are crunched for time and must split the workout up, it beats not training at all.

Posted on: Mon, 07/26/2021 - 09:02

How much rest time between sets?

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Posted on: Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:44

Hey Shxripan - rest can be anywhere from 30-90 seconds between sets.

Posted on: Fri, 07/16/2021 - 14:55

Hi, I train in BJJ (1.5 hrs a day x 4 days a week). I want to add strength conditioning in but am nervous about over training. Would this work out be ok? I would shift it to Friday, Sunday, Monday. Giving Saturday as a complete rest day. Friday and Sunday would only be this. Monday would be both this and BJJ.

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Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2021 - 09:45

Hey Robert - yes, this is a good program. Keep an eye on your recovery and make sure you're eating enough, getting enough water, and sleeping enough.

Posted on: Sun, 07/04/2021 - 09:36

Hello, in this workout can I substitute Dumbbell Squat with Goblet Squat and Dumbbell Step Up with Bulgarian Split Squat? Thank you.

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Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 09:13

Hey Giuseppe - yes you can

Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 19:54

Thank you!

Posted on: Sun, 06/20/2021 - 00:59


I was wondering if I could just do the first 3 days and still have it be a good weekly routine? I've been doing all 4 for a couple months and it's been great but recently I've become more busy and doing all 4 has become difficult to maintain. Thanks.

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Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2021 - 09:46

Hey Teddy - this is a 3-day program so you shouldn't have any issue following it as written

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 15:41

For dumbbell shrugs and dumbell side bends...the rep range is we get 15 we add weight the next week right?

Posted on: Mon, 05/31/2021 - 08:40

can a intermediate lifter do this....if its easy for me so can i add another set to all the exercises in the workout routine

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Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 10:03

Hey mickael - yes you can do that.

Posted on: Mon, 05/31/2021 - 06:09

the workout routine says that if we can get the maximum rep of a particular exercise....we have to add weight the next week right? suppose if we get 12 reps of bench press with a particular weight we have to add weight the next week right? so that we can get anywhere between 6 to 12 reps and then we have to keep using that weight till we get 12 reps and then increase and so on right?

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Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 10:05

Hey mickael - yes, that's correct

Posted on: Sat, 05/29/2021 - 14:33

Hi...most of the rep ranges are from if I get 12 on my first set...I have to keep increasing weight across both the sets to try to get to 6... right?

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Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 10:04

Hey Hope - you'll add weight the following week. Weight should be kept consistent across all sets.

Fiebe Op de Beeck
Posted on: Sat, 05/08/2021 - 05:45

Can I somehow go from 3 to 4/5/6 days a week using this program?

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Posted on: Mon, 05/10/2021 - 10:21

Hey Fiebe - it's best to follow the program as written.

Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 11:04

When should I take if I want to consume the supplements like fish oil, multivitamins and others?
And what time is the best to do these workouts?

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Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 11:23

Hey Henry - fish oil and multivitamins can be taken in the morning. Protein can be taken after your workout. Timing of your workouts isn't really all that important so whenever works for you is the best time to do the workouts.

Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 13:34

You means that I can take fish oils and multivitamins at the morning even though my workout time is in the evening? Right?
Then how should I choose the supplements that is best and suited to me?
Can I choose whatever I like in the kind of supplement?
Or should I choose by understanding the labels and instructions printed on the product?

Marco Dieguez
Posted on: Wed, 03/24/2021 - 15:48

Will this help with losing weight as well?

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Posted on: Thu, 03/25/2021 - 09:31

Hey Marco - yes, as long as you're eating in a caloric deficit.

Posted on: Sun, 03/21/2021 - 10:42

Hey What if you don’t have a pull-up bar to do the pullups? What can you replace the pull ups with? And why arms on twice a week? Thanks

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Posted on: Mon, 03/22/2021 - 09:33

Hey Steve - you can do single-arm dumbbell rows in place of pull ups.

Posted on: Sat, 03/06/2021 - 21:41

The calve raises seem unnecessary for those of us who don't want to train them. Also I've noticed there is just one horizontal pulling exercise and two horizontal push which makes this un balanced. Would it be ok to do the pull ups on wednesday taking the place of the calf raises and placing double dumbbell/inverted rows in the place of the pull ups on friday?

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Posted on: Mon, 03/08/2021 - 11:01

Hey Chris - yes you can do that.

Jody Young
Posted on: Mon, 02/15/2021 - 08:12

I really like this workout routine but do not have a bench or weights heavier than 30lb dumbbells. When I do bench my only option is the floor and I can bench my dumbbells 30 plus times each set. Is there a way to modify this with push-ups instead of or in addition to the dumbbell bench for better results? Thanks!

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Posted on: Tue, 02/16/2021 - 10:16

Hey Jody - check out this workout on training with light dumbbells: You don't have to follow that exact program, but there is helpful info about training with light dumbbells.

Posted on: Sun, 03/21/2021 - 10:06

add exercise ball for simulated bench; inexpensive and doesnt take up much room

Posted on: Tue, 01/05/2021 - 05:15

Hi, my lower back and butt easily aches with sit up. What exercise can i use to replace sit up?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:45

Hey Joseph - that sounds like a form issue and you're not fully using your abs to sit up. You can try hanging leg/knee raises instead.

Posted on: Sun, 12/13/2020 - 02:28

heyy i just have a set of 5 kg dumbell...and its written that u have to increase weight each set...what shud i do

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Posted on: Mon, 12/14/2020 - 09:46

Hey ramit - check out this workout designed around training with a single pair of light dumbbells:

Christopher Thomas
Posted on: Thu, 11/26/2020 - 23:00

Can I use one dumbbell size for all these exercises?
If not which body part do I go light, medium or heavy on like leg, chest & abs, back , shoulder & arms?

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Posted on: Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:36

Hey Christopher - you'll likely need different weights for different exercises. The weights you choose to use should be ones that you can move safely and with correct form for the given number of reps.

Posted on: Sun, 11/22/2020 - 22:09

Wide grip pull up in a dumbbell only workout ... how do you do that ?

Posted on: Thu, 11/19/2020 - 21:46

I'm a 21 year old looking to put on some size. I've been inconsistently going to the gym for around 3 years or so. I'm usually consistent for about 3-6 months and then stop for about 4. Although, I've been really inconsistent I have seen progress from when I first started. When I do workout I workout for 5 days a weeks. I really think I'm in a position to workout consistently this time, but i'm not sure if I fit in the 'beginner' category. Should I be looking to do beginner programs like this one or should I jump to more intermediate programs? Thanks in advance.

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Posted on: Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:37

Hey Cameron - beginner workouts can easily be made more challenging by pushing yourself on the weights and keeping your rest times short.

Posted on: Mon, 11/16/2020 - 22:53

I'm a 15y old looking to build some muscle mass and lose some fat. I'm 80kg and 6'2". I have 7kg dumbells and 10kg dumbells at home so I motivated myself to build a considerably shredded and lean physique by the end of 2020. I still look pretty weak even tho I have the strength to lift 22lb dumbells. I've been training at home for about a year at home with 10lb dumbells but no results. Since going to gym is not an option these days, will this workout help me? I need to build a lean but good looking body. Appreciate if you reply me.

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Posted on: Tue, 11/17/2020 - 09:29

Hey Yasas - your diet is going to play a large role in reaching your goals. As far as this workout, yes it is a good one! Check out this bodyweight workout as well:

Posted on: Fri, 11/06/2020 - 03:44

do we have to increase weight after every set?

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