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
3
Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Male & Female

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
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1.7K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 11/15/2010 - 11:06
ERB

I just started this program last week. So far great. I do have a couple questions though.

1. I'm currently cutting my calories for weight loss, but eating healthy food choices. I also use a good whey protein supplement post workout in addition to good food choices to aid in muscle recovery. Even with a smaller calorie intake, should I see cutting/toning results since I'm eating fewer calories than required to maintain my current weight?

2. Since this a full body workout and set up to go 3x's a week, every other day, is one day of rest really enough for the same muscle groups to be worked again. If I'm still sore after my Friday workout, is it okay to go on with Monday's workout? I'm sore, but not uncomfortable.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/16/2010 - 11:32
Steven

Hi ERB,

1) It's very hard to add muscle while cutting fat. But with that said, you will start to look more defined which will make your muscles look bigger.

2) One day of rest is fine between full body workouts because they do not have the immense daily volume per bodypart that splits have. Training with soreness is ok.

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Posted Sun, 11/14/2010 - 16:25
Danny

Im thinking of starting this routine..And also when i start it i will start on the loading dose of creatine and will also be taking whey protein supplements...Roughly how long till i will see results using this routine ?? Also it says monday-wednesday-friday...could i then do sunday-tuesday-thursday and so on or just stick to mon-wed-fri ??...Thanks Dan.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/16/2010 - 11:29
Steven

Hi Danny,

A beginner who trains hard and eats right can make very fast gains gains the first three to 6 months of lifting. You could possible gain 10 pounds of muscle during this time, which is quite substantial.

You could use this workout Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday.

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Posted Sat, 11/13/2010 - 22:19
josh

How long do you take between sets in one exercise, and from one to the other. Also are you saying not to do cardio on days off?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 11/14/2010 - 09:34
Steven

Hi Josh,

Rest about 90 to 120 seconds between sets.

Cardio can be perform several times per week - first thing in the morning, on off days, or post-workout.

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Posted Sat, 11/13/2010 - 08:03
Patrick

Hi Steve
I want to pack on size but am kind of the skinny would this still allow me to gain muscle?
Another question I have heard that to build size and raise your testosterone level you should do compound exercises is that true?

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 11/13/2010 - 08:44
Steven

Hi Patrick,

This is a good muscle building workout. Compound exercises are king! Squats, deadlifts, bench press, dips, pullups, rows, overhead presses, etc.

Keep in mind that a workout alone won't allow you to build muscle. You also need to eat correctly. Here are some articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-to-gaining-m...

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

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Posted Fri, 11/12/2010 - 20:59
Jason

Hello Steve,
My name is Jason. What is the best workout routine??? I've been getting into working out since last year and I'm still trying different things while still learning. Here's the gear i have; a jump rope, dumbells(weights not a problem), an straight weight bench bar.
Here's the exercise's I've been doing; jump rope for 10 minutes, gorilla bar lift where i lift bar up above head & lower behind back & up again & then forward in front of chest,6 inch leg lift's while i hold leg's off ground for 1 minute, dumbell curl's while standing up, dumbell knee bends military style, sit up's; the way i do sit up's is i come up straight back down then as i come back up i lean to my right then back down & up straight again & then as I'm coming back up this time i lean to my left, dumbell laydown press on floor, push up's normal/with dumbells.
Mainly i work out 3 time's a week , but as of now i do a.m. and p.m. work outs. Does working out every day mean better or worse? Which is the best well-rounded work out routine for me? I try yo exercise and work out every aspect of my body , so i could realy use your help and advice Steve on routines, exercises, and work out schedule. My email is jasonshadow_forever_18@yahoo.com
Thank You,
Jason

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 11/13/2010 - 08:42
Steven

Hi Jason,

There is no best workout routine. What are your goals? Are they primarily to build muscle?

Working out with weights every day is not good for a beginner. You should limit your weight training to 3 days per week for a while.

Let me know your goals and I'll help...

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Posted Sun, 11/14/2010 - 18:36
Jason

Well Steve, my goals are to work out every aspect of my body. I want to gain muscle mass mainly. I want to build muscle and get those rock hard abs. The kind of shape i want to be in? I want to be around 165-180 pounds, but built with lean muscle not like an 250 pound body building but rather somebody who looks like an MMA fighter. I drink protein shakes that has 65 grams of protein with every scoop. In the A.M. work out i eat oatmeal as it is and in the P.M. i ear tuna fish before i work out. Those are the foods I've been eating before work outs.
Thank You Again,
Jason

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/16/2010 - 11:26
Steven

Hi Jason,

Keep in mind that natural bodybuilders who are ripped are around 160-180 pounds, so to hit your goals you will have to train like a bodybuilder. Only steroid users get bigger than that and stay ripped.

I would suggest starting with this routine, or a beginner's workout for 2-3 months:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/3day-beginners-workout.html

Regarding eating, check out these two articles:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-to-gaining-m...

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

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Posted Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:34
Jason

Thank you so much for your advice & help Steve. Yea, that's the body type i want is around 160-180 pounds, mostly lean muscle or what not. i'll try it 3 day's a week and 2 time's on those 3 day's as an A.M. & P.M. work out.

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Posted Fri, 11/12/2010 - 03:53
Mike

hey steve i'm just wondering how its best to split up my time?
i work 13 hour shifts so 1 week its just a half day tuesday and then thursday but then gets reversed so i only get 2 days off in 7 days. i have found trying to fit exercise evenly around the 2 weeks difficult. would i benifit as much by doing monday, rest tues, wednesday, rest thurs, friday, rest sat, sunday, and then together on wednesday and thursday the following week?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 11/12/2010 - 12:04
Steven

Hi Mike,

I might suggest this 2 day workout:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/2-day-simple-ab-split-by-stev...

It is very effective, and could simply be run on alternating days that you have available.

As far as the 3 day, the first week is fine but the second week would have you doing 2 full body workouts on back to back days which is a bit too much.

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 11/13/2010 - 08:40
Steven

Hi Mike,

I don't think that's too much of a gap. I think it will work well.

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Posted Fri, 11/12/2010 - 17:56
Mike

thankyou, last question, if i was to do that first week and then only one day the second week, would my body begin to reject the first week and not really register the second? would this work;

1-monday, 2-wednesday, 3-friday, 1-sunday, 2-thursday 3-monday...

...or is this too much of a gap in between sun-thurs and thurs-mon?

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Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 00:02
James

Just wondering if there's anythign I can replace the dumbell bench press with that doesn't require many weights. Right now I only have an adjustable dumbell set that goes up to 20lb on two bars, or up to 35lb one bar. Its enough for the other exercises but it does nothing at all for the bench press (of course, it's only 40lb). I'm gonna try buy more weight plates or maybe a barbell, but until then, anything you can suggest to replace that exercise?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 07:59
Steven

Hi James,

You could try push ups as a replacement.

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Posted Mon, 11/08/2010 - 09:02
Mike

Nevermind that last comment, I just noticed the pullup exercise in the last day, sorry about that.

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Posted Mon, 11/08/2010 - 08:54
Mike

Hey Steve. Great looking workout. I'm about to start it today when I get home from school. Just a quick question. I have a chin-up bar at home and I'm wondering if there's anything I could replace/add with it, or if it doesn't really add any more dynamic to the workout? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 11/08/2010 - 03:00
aidan

hi i was just wondering if i could substitute the floor press instead of the bench press as i don't have a bench. does the limited range of motion reap any consequences? thanks in advance, aidan

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 08:44
Steven

Hi Aidan,

The floor press is a great choice. As long as you are pushing yourself, the limit of range of motion won't be an issue.

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Posted Sun, 11/07/2010 - 21:51
Blake

Steve,

I am 5'10 inches 190 lbs 24 years old, a year out of college. I have a gut (overweight) and just quit smoking so I gained a lot of weight from that. I would like to lose about 30-40 lbs and add definition, and gain muscle.

I think this would be a good workout for me correct me if i am wrong. What would be a good timetable to achieve these results, what caloric and protein intake should i consume, and etc should i focus on.

I'm going to Hawaii in February and don't want to look like a slob.

Thanks,

Blake

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 08:43
Steven

Hi Blake,

This workout is a solid choice. To lose 30-40 pounds, and to maximize muscle retention, you will probably need around 4-5 months at most. As fas as diet, check out these articles:

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 Sun, 11/07/2010 - 20:23
Ali Haider

Can I add any forearm exercises in this routine....if yes then what would be the preferable exercises?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 08:41
Steven

Hi Ali,

You could try static barbell holds for 30-60 seconds.

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Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 16:51
Ramish

Hey i just wanted to find out that you said you should eat 30 - 40 gram of protein after every 2.5 - 3 hours which was really helpful to me. But i just wanted to know how many grams of protein does a boiled egg have and would that help me in gaining muscle mass if i do that everyday?. And also can i keep eating my normal food ?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 11/05/2010 - 13:08
Steven

Hi Ramish,

One egg has about 7 grams of protein. Eggs are a very nutritionally sound food, and would definitely help with muscle mass.

Regarding eating, check out this article:

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

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Posted Tue, 11/02/2010 - 22:04
Luke

Great but I have some concerns.I am 15 do you have an effective workout for me.

Thank you

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 11:38
Steven

Hi Luke,

This is an effective workout. What are your concerns?

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Posted Mon, 11/01/2010 - 16:32
david

hi my name its david iam just starting to work out again i am going to do the dumbbell full body workout!!!what can i do the other two days of the week, can i run or use the bike ?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 11:38
Steven

Hi David,

You can bike on off days.

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Posted Fri, 10/29/2010 - 21:15
Jerry

what are we supposed to do on the weekends as part of the workout or do we just rest?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 11:37
Steven

Hi Jerry,

Just rest.

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Posted Thu, 10/28/2010 - 13:23
Dave

I had a question about the dumbbell step up, I am doing a total of six sets. 3 sets for step up right leg, then 3 sets for step up ? How high should the step be?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 11:35
Steven

Hi Dave,

Steps can be as little as 6 inches, and up to bench height. Check out this video:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/dumbbell-step-up.html

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Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:32
Steven

I am a beginner and I'm going to start with this workout. Can you tell me the right time to take a Whey protein shake - before or after?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:44
Steven

Hi Steven,

Whey is best taken post-workout and first thing in the morning. Casein protein is best taken in between meals and before bed.

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Posted Tue, 10/26/2010 - 19:55
Kasun

Hi,

Can I do cardio on the other two days of the week? Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 09:26
Steven

Hi Kasun,

Absolutely!

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Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 19:05
charlie

hay i currently have a workout i do but i'm not sure if its good or not could you possibly help me. the following below is my workout.

in your honest opinion is this good?

Day 1

Stretches 10sec each stretch

Biceps Set Reps
Zottman curls 2 10
Hammer curls 2 10
Concentrated 2 10
Bicep curls 2 15

Chest Set Reps
Pushups 2 25

Lats Set Reps
Dumbbell row 1 25

Traps Set Reps
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row 2 10

Abs Set Reps
Crunches 2 50
Bicycles 2 100
Foot to foot 2 100
Leg tuck 2 30
Leg raise 2 30

Day 2

Stretches 10sec each stretch

Quadriceps Set Reps
Dumbbell squats 1 15
Jump squats 1 10

Biceps Set Reps
Zottman curls 1 25
Hammer curls 1 10
Concentrated 1 25
Bicep curls 1 10

Shoulders Set Reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 1 15
Arnold Press 1 15
Dumbbell front Rises 1 10

Abs Set Reps
Crunches 2 50
Bicycles 2 100
Foot to foot 2 100
Leg tuck 2 30
Leg raise 2 30

Day 3

Stretches 10sec each stretch

Biceps Set Reps
Zottman curls 1 25
Hammer curls 1 10
Concentrated 1 25
Bicep curls 1 10

Traps Set Reps
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row 1 10

Lats Set Reps
Dumbbell row 1 25

Chest Set Reps
Pushups 2 15
Flies 2 10

Shoulders Set Reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 1 15
Arnold Press 1 15

Abs Set Reps
Crunches 2 50
Bicycles 2 100
Foot to foot 2 100
Leg tuck 2 30
Leg raise 2 30

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 09:36
Steven

Hi Charlie,

That workout has potential, but you aren't always hitting the largest muscle groups first (like chest and back), nor is you exercise selection always optimal (bench press is better than pushups).

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Posted Sat, 11/06/2010 - 14:07
charlie

hi steve thanks for ur reply and thanks for the tip :)

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Posted Mon, 08/01/2011 - 23:40
Charlie

Hey, thanks for your reply, I apologise for the lateness. I prefer using dumbells, are there specific exercises I can do to target the main muscle groups with a mixture of body weigh and dumbell exercises?
Thanking you in advance.

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Posted Sat, 10/23/2010 - 18:03
Onur

Hi, do you suggest a specific workout for forearms or is this program enough to build it as well?

Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 09:31
Steven

Hi Onur,

Most individuals will see an increase in forearm size simply by all the gripping work involved with this routine. I wouldn't rush to add any. Wait about 6 months and see how your forearms respond without direct work.

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Posted Thu, 10/21/2010 - 14:32
mike

im 29y.o. 185 pounds 5-9 med build i want an mma fighter build do you think ths is the right one for me should i use suppliments and what kind?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 10/22/2010 - 08:16
Steven

Hi Mike,

This workout is a good choice. As far as diet and supplements, check out this article:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/power-muscle-burn-bulking-die...

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Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 23:34
Raji

I am, having trouble loosing my stomach. I'm 17 years old, 5'2.5, and weigh 118. I really want to drop to 110, how should I achieve this. I work out 7 days a week