Dumbbell Only Home Or Gym Full Body Workout

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

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
8 weeks
3
30 minutes
Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Male
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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.

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

1.9K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 21:47
Logan

Is it ok to start the program on a Wednesday. But still begin with the Monday program? Just making sure it is ok to do.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 15:07
Steven

Absolutely.

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 21:43
Nolan

i am 16 out of shape quite over weight and just sick of it i am trying the one suggested at very start about the 16 year old but, i am not very strong any advice i would like to get my self up to par

plz it would help out a lot :] (male)

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 15:07
Steven

Hi Nolan,

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 21:33
smertz

This is a great workout, I've been following it for about 1.5 months now.

I'm struggling though with my hand strength not keeping up with the rest of my muscles. Any way to help work on getting my hand strength up, so that I can keep building on the weights for the rest of my body?

thanks!
-- Steve

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 15:06
Steven

First thing I would recommend are lifting straps. Secondly, try doing 3-6 sets of static holds each week. Simply load up a barbell with weight and hold it for 60 seconds. Add weight when you can.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/06/2011 - 13:40
Steven

Static holds don't take very long, I would use them at least after your back training day, or possibly also on a second training day a few days later.

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Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 18:53
smertz

Thanks for the advice! I will give that a go.

How often should I do the static holds? Doing this plan Mon/Wed/Fri Doesn't really give much down time to do the static holds. Or should I add them to the routine days?

Thanks again!
-- Steve

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 17:25
Solomon

Hi there im 17 y.o. and i am 5ft 5inches i weight about 248pounds can u tell me any tips on how to begin to lose weight and build muscles. I hate running and i dont have a gym membership yet. Ty

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 15:05
Steven

Hi Solomon,

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 12:24
ryan

hi steve, i was wondering if you could help me. im 16 and i want to become more muscular in my arms, abs, chest and back. ive been looking into routines but im not entirely sure which one would suit me. i have got a bench with upto 75kg weights, bars for bench pressing and bars to curl weights. what would be a good routine with this equipment to improve my body?

many thanks, ryan

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 13:21
Steven

Hi Ryan,

This workout is a great choice.

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here is an article that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 05:19
noni

Cant wait to get started on this new plan getting bored of current training but I work 12.5 hour night shifts so only have limited time after work to workout (1.5 hours max in AM)and I enjoy my cardio, is it ok to continue my pre lift cardio workout (usually a mile or two on tredmill alternateing HIIT on certain days. Thanks

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Posted Sun, 05/22/2011 - 10:49
eric

hey steve can i work out my abbs separately from this work
out routine???

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/23/2011 - 13:17
Steven

Absolutely.

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Posted Fri, 05/20/2011 - 19:54
danny

hi i have i am pritty lost iv tryed lots of workouts i dont see eny change i havent got time to go to the gym and i dont no what i should be eating im skinny so does that mean i have to put weight on to biuld muscle

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/23/2011 - 13:16
Steven

Hi Danny,

You aren't gaining for two reasons:

1) You aren't pushing for progression of weight.
2) You aren't eating properly.

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here is an article that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Fri, 05/20/2011 - 08:36
Leevo

I started using this routine this week, I bought a bar for the door, but it turns out the frame is too thick. I can't hang the bar there.

I've seen different kinds of dumbell rows listed as suggestions as alternatives, but I'm told that nothing quite works as well as actually doing chin ups/pull ups.

I'm currently renting so finding and installing one that hangs from the wall is out of the question.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Posted Wed, 05/18/2011 - 13:04
Travis

Hello,

I love this work out it give me a great burn, but there is one work out I am unable to do at the gym, and was wondering if there was an alternative. The Dumbbell Step Up is the one I need an alternative to. Thanks for any help!

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/18/2011 - 13:09
Steven

Hi Travis,

You could try the dumbbell goblet squat. Hold a dumbbell with two hands around chest level and squat.

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Posted Sun, 05/15/2011 - 18:16
Liam

Hey,

I am just starting out and stumbled across this routine and it certainly looks good. I am 20, 6'1" and 170lbs. I recently spent 3 months doing a lot of tennis and cutting my diet and have lost 30lb. I am concerned that if I increase my calorie intake to over 2500 I will put fat back on... is this likely?

Also using as heavy a weight as I can manage will this produce visible gains in terms of muscle growth? Or is this more of a routine to get form practice?

Thanks in advance :)

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Posted Fri, 05/20/2011 - 15:20
Peabo

Hi Liam,

In a condition of no intensse physical activity you might put fat back on if your calorie intake goes over 2500, but I think that's not the case if you are playing tennis and do this work out.

I have try a similar work out a few year ago to start and I must say that this work out gave me a good strength, coordination for more advance training. This work out gave me an enormous amount of strength, guys that look bulkier than me can not even lift more weight than me.

I measure 5'6 back at that time my weight was about 140 lb, as an asian guys I was pretty weak and thin when I first start it. But with some protein and weight gainer I am now 170lb full of muscle and believe me my calories intake is far beyond 2500 calorie, but it does not matter since I lift weight to compensate the extra effort require to lift weight.

With this work out it will produce visible gain for sure because I try it and you will get in shape for other activities. Even with no protein or weight gainer it will produce visible results. I just start taking these product a few month ago, the look is just even better.

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Posted Sun, 05/15/2011 - 13:09
shane

Steve,
I'm not sure if you still go on here but im 23 5'11 228lbs. Im not out of shape but i want to build muscle. Im not sure how much i eat. All i know is this workout is awesome and i can already see a difference after a week. What would you suggest i eat? I eat healthy as in meat fish vegetables and fruit. No sugar soda or candy etc. Should i change my diet?

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Posted Fri, 05/13/2011 - 19:48
Mark S

How much time do you recommend between sets?

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Posted Thu, 05/12/2011 - 19:05
Paul T

hey this looks really good just some questions...so im pretty skinny and im trying to find a good routine before signing up for a gym...this looks good...but i can hardly curl 25's ha...im guessing to start with 15 pounders...or what could you recommend for me?

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Posted Thu, 05/12/2011 - 16:19
Nicole

I am just beginning Triathlon training and would like to use this routine to supplement my swim/bike/run. I will be doing core strength 3x per week. Should I leave out the sit ups on Monday since I will be working core separately?

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Posted Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:46
yuvraj

hii steve ....i wanna gain some weight but should i do ??

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Posted Tue, 05/10/2011 - 20:01
Sunny

I'm 18 years old, 5'5", 120 lbs. I am planning to start this workout. My goal is to gain muscle mass and some weight because right now I'm really skinny. I am really just wondering how should I change my diet. I pretty sure as of now I am not eating enough. Could someone give me a simple diet plan. Am I to eat lots of calories or only protein or what. I am still in school so I don't have all the time in the world to devote to preparing meals. Sorry for the noob questions but couldn't find answers in the previous comments. Just a side not is p90x good for gaining mass.

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Posted Mon, 05/09/2011 - 13:00
eric

hey.
hey steve i been doing this work out for more then 12 weeks now!!
what shoulkd i doo now?
do a diferent routine or what plz tell me.
age 18
180 pounds
height 5'11
currently using dumbells of 30 pounds

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Posted Mon, 05/09/2011 - 11:10
Tim

I am 5'10 245lbs I was in the marines 14yrs ago I want to loose 50-60 lbs and tone the muscle that I do have under thee will this do it for me

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Posted Thu, 05/05/2011 - 23:09
eric

hey steve i been doing thi work out for more than 12 weeks!!
what should i do now i,ve seen progress
age 18
lbs 180
can u tell me??

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Posted Mon, 05/02/2011 - 21:34
codey

hey i have no questions but i would like to say thanks to you guys for showing this to us for free, if it wasnt for this website i dont think i would be in shape at all. thanks a whole bunch

-codey

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Posted Mon, 05/02/2011 - 13:36
Robbie

Im really new to weight lifting and I'm not sure how much weight I should try and lift?
Also sometimes I get slight joint pain when I finish off a set; does this mean i'm lifting too much or I have bad technique? :)

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Posted Sat, 04/30/2011 - 19:32
Eric

Hi, im 15 and am looking to get bigger arms as well as gain upper body strength for the upcoming hockey season. I'm 5'8 135 pounds, what do you recommend?

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Posted Thu, 04/28/2011 - 11:41
dave

hi steve been useing your workouts for few months now and doing good with it but was looking for some advice on maximuscle cyclone,, will this help me get abit bigger,, or is there another that you would recermend,

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Posted Wed, 04/27/2011 - 11:18
Paul M

I just started my first day with this routine yesterday. I'm sore as hell, but I enjoyed it. I don't have a training partner, so dumbells seemed like a natural fit.

Seems like earlier you mentioned that this could be used as a cutting routine with a deficit of calories. I'm planning to do just that. I'm a bit overweight, but I hate running and doing cardio machines for a long time. I just do 5 minutes of cardio warm up.

Excited to keep with this routine for a while. Thanks for sharing it.

I do have a question though. You said not to add excercises to this, but I would like to add short HIIT sessions on off days if I get time, as I'm going to start playing in a hockey league in a few weeks. Probably just an elyptical or bike. Would there by any problem with this while using this routine?

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Posted Tue, 04/26/2011 - 17:22
Mark

Hi Steve, thanks for all the great info so far.

I'm planning on using this for my first ever bulk in a couple of weeks however i did a test run this wk. I play football (soccer) 2 times a week and find that doing the leg exercises holds me back in games as the legs are sore from the squats/lunges. As I already have decent leg muscles but hardly any strength in my arms, would you suggest leaving out the legs stuff & maybe adding other upper body exercises or just omit the leg stuff for now & adding back in on a future bulk when I have some upper body strength thus correcting the imbalance i feel I have?

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Posted Mon, 04/25/2011 - 18:12
ufc fan

hi, im 12, I know, its a little strange for me to be on this site, are 20lb dumbbells good for me or should I go higher.

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Posted Mon, 04/25/2011 - 14:36
Arthur

hey, i've done a little training before but i'm still really an amateur, i'm pretty tall and thin but i am desperate to get strong and have a little to show;)This is what i had planned: interval training on tuesday thursday and sunday,this workout on monday wednesday and friday, a fast 20min bikeride on monday and wednesday and a long 45-60 mins ride on saturday. Do you think this would be effective?

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Posted Sun, 04/24/2011 - 21:53
Chris

Hey I am 16 years old. My height is about 6'1" and I weigh about 155. I'm always tired of people telling me how skinny I am so I want to put on some muscle weight. My current weight is not all muscle so you can basically say I'm not toned. I do have a home gym but most of the workouts on this website do not coincide with what is available with my home gym (I also have some dumbbells)(Oh and I have a pool if that counts for anything. Plus money is an issue when it comes to needing money. So basically I'm asking if you could help me out by letting me know what I should be eating, what supplements I should be taking. And how I can put on a significant amount of muscle on, over summer break. I want to shock everyone at school. I am very serious about undertaking this challenge for myself, so all help would be appreciated.

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Posted Sat, 04/23/2011 - 19:26
Ray Cruz

Hi steve, I've been working out for currently a year now and I have seen results, but lately I haven't seen any results. My goal is to build more muscle mass, get cut, and strength. Is this the best workout to build bigger biceps, tricep, chest, shoulder, abs and back. If you have a specific workout that I could follow with the number of sets and reps that would be appreciated. One last question I followed your workout today it was intense and I finish it in exactly 45mins and 14secs. Is that good?

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Posted Wed, 04/20/2011 - 13:09
Seth

Hello Steve. Thanks for the great article. I am 35, 190lbs and 22% body fat. I would like to get to 180 and get my fat down into the teens.
I am wondering:
Should I start with this workout routine?
Should I add cardio on rest days (or after workouts)? If yes, how much?

Also, if I give it my best shot, do you think this is an achievable goal in 6 months? Should I even stick to the same workout for 6 months?

Thanks again for the help! I really appreciate it.

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Posted Mon, 04/18/2011 - 20:12
erica

hi I'm Looking to lose weight and gain muscle? what workout you recommend?

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Posted Fri, 04/15/2011 - 23:43
Richard

How long and when should you rest on this routine? between exercises/between sets?

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Posted Thu, 04/14/2011 - 22:02
Nick

Hey Steve,
I've started this program about 3 weeks ago and am falling in love with this workout. I've tried various other workouts but I just couldn't stay with it and by reading your comment replies I'm convinced that I was doing it wrong before. Anyway...

I'm interested in joining the military in a few years and I would like to increase the amount of pushups/pullups I can do. Would it be beneficial to add in pushups into the workout ? If so how often and how many sets/reps ?

Thanks very much.
Nick

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Posted Thu, 04/14/2011 - 00:23
Shali

Hi!
I used to be very much into powerlifting, so I was very into strength training, but not so much gaining muscle mass because of weight classes. About a year ago I weighed 160 and could squat 380, but I looked like I weighed about 135. I would have considered myself in pretty good condition, running 2 miles a day, and following a very intense lifting and diet plan, but even at my best, I had NO arm definition. I could bench 160 (not that impressive, but my arms were so small) and no one would have ever guessed. So here's the question, do you have any tips for this workout that could help get some arm definition to a female such as myself? I know how to work hard, I guess I just don't know where to work.

Thanks!

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Posted Tue, 04/12/2011 - 08:02
Jay R

I was in kinda good shape last year but with a sports injury and then lack of persistance, i got fat again. Before i was toning. This time yes i want to gain bigger muscle, so if i have to eat a lot, will my abs even show, somewhat? or will i just get bigger but with a big stomach. My weight from last year went from 179 to 205 now.

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Posted Tue, 04/12/2011 - 06:19
Sajawal

hi
plz tell me the exercises better for making muscels cuts with the help of dumbels.....

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 04/12/2011 - 07:41
Steven

Hi Sajawal,

Weight training does not help reveal or cut the muscle. Only a good cutting diet can do that.

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Posted Thu, 04/07/2011 - 06:53
Steven

Hey Steve,
I'm new to lifting and just started this workout routine and was wondering how long in between sets do i wait or should i do another exercise and then come back to the previous to complete the next set?