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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1.6K Comments+ Post Comment

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

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Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 07:56
Daniel

Hi Steve,

This routine looks really and I'm gonna be strarting it. I was just wondering would it be ok to start the routine in the morning around 6am and do card in the gym after I finish work about 5pm? Also throughout the day making sure I eat correctly and healthily.

Thanks.

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 12:26
Steven

Hi Daniel,

Cardio later in the day is a solid choice.

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Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 16:29
Jay

Hey I wanted 2 know if playing basketball on tues and thurs would be a problem...I also wanted 2 know the if that's the only weight lifting that's necessarry or if more can b done

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 12:25
Steven

Hi Jay,

Playing basketball won't impact your gains as long as you are eating properly. As far as the program, I wouldn't add in more volume. This is a full body approach and shouldn't be used more than 3 times per week.

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Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 02:40
mitch

hey steve,
i was just wondering how fast my reps should be, should i go around the same passe as the guy in the video is? (if that make sence?)

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 14:44
Steven

Hi Mitch,

You want to use good form and a controlled speed. Don't focus on speed so much as focusing on completely the rep. As the weight gets heavier it becomes more difficult to use the same speed. Make every effort to lift the weight and complete the rep. This is most important. No need to lift slow on purpose.

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Posted Sat, 10/16/2010 - 02:54
ben

what workout should i switch too after this one to keep my gains up. btw i only have dumbells and a 15 pound barbell

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 14:42
Steven

Hi ben,

You could try the dumbbell and barbell workout:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-barbell-home-workout...

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Posted Fri, 10/15/2010 - 15:37
Calum

Hi steve, Im 17, weighing approx 64kg and approx 6ft in height. I am desperate to put weight on ansd to gain muscle. Do you think this workout would be best to develop these goals?

Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/18/2010 - 14:40
Steven

Hi Calum,

This workout is a solid choice. You will also want to make sure you are eating properly. A good weight program needs a solid diet. 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 Wed, 10/13/2010 - 01:50
Lestat

Greetings

I am 5'11 and currently 311 pounds, i have lost 50 pounds over the last couple months due to gall bladder issues.

I am told to start a strength training workout to help with the loose skin from further weight loss, i plan to keep this weight loss up but in a more healthy way.

Im currently working on cardio only, i have the DB's already at home of various weights.

Would you recommend this work out to start with, and what weight per DB would you start with?

THank you

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:51
Steven

Hi Lestat,

You want to take a month or two and practice good form while slowly increasing the weight. Over time you will start to understand which exercises are easy and need more weight.

At some point you will need to start pushing yourself so that you maximize muscle retention as you loose weight. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

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Posted Wed, 10/13/2010 - 01:21
xavier

how heavy should my dumbbells be?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:49
Steven

Hi Xavier,

As heavy as possible, if muscle mass is your goal. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

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Posted Wed, 10/13/2010 - 01:07
mitch

im 16 and ben using dumbbell wieght of around 17-24 lb depending on the exercise, is this not enough? if not how heavy should i go? and i have also been running around 5km before hand, is this appropriate?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:49
Steven

Hi Mitch,

If your goal is to gain muscle, you need to constantly challenge yourself. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

The weight you have will prevent you from making any substantial progress. I would either purchase more weights or look into a gym membership.

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Posted Tue, 10/12/2010 - 22:30
Josh

Hey Steve,
First of all, GREAT site and workout plan!! This is the best place I have found.
Anyways, I am 35 yrs old; 5'11-225 lbs. I am looking to build muscle and lose weight. All the added weight went right to my gut. I have been on your workout for two weeks now. I am doing cardio on my off days and added USP Labs Powerfull supplements, as well as fish oil and multivitamin. I also have been drinking whey protein shakes. Thing is, I am not noticing a drop in weight. Could that be because I am simultaneously adding muscle? I am eating good and drinking a lot water. I am going to start a calorie journal, but I doubt I am eating more than 2000-2300 calories a day.
Thanks again,
Josh

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:44
Steven

Hi Josh,

There's a good chance you may be adding muscle. If you are training hard, the body can add a pound or more per month when you first start training.

If your goal is weight loss, definitely start counting calories. 2000-2300 per day should be helping you to drop fat. Count calories for 2 weeks and try staying around 2200 per day. Watch the scale during this time, and if you don't lose weight try 2000 per day. Also, here are some articles that might 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 Tue, 10/12/2010 - 13:43
Valerie

Hi Steve,

I am in my mid forties and am not overweight, but I am losing muscle tone. I really want to improve the appearance of my arms, butt and thighs. Will this workout help?

Valerie

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:41
Steven

Hi Valerie,

This workout is a great choice. You will also want to make sure you eat right to help you reach your goals. Here are some 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 Tue, 10/12/2010 - 06:12
John

hey, im a teenager and ive been doing the routine which is
monday: arms,
tuesday: legs
wednesday: rest
thursady:arms
friday: legs
sat/sun: abs and cardio

i always do an ab workout and cardio AFTER every training, as ive read that if you have already depleted all your muscles of energy, the body turns to fat to get the energy required to run that little bit further. I am defitnely noticing change in strenght, but not in definition and size. i eat not very much protein, as we are a very healthy family, but not eating much meats, etc. would this routine add size to my muscles, or is it just the way im eating?
NB: i usually do 3 sets of 8 on my arms (heavy weights) and 3 sets of 15/20 on my legs (heavy-ish weights)

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:40
Steven

Hi John,

It's most likely your diet. An improved diet will really help. Check out the following articles. A poor diet will limit muscle gains.

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 Tue, 10/12/2010 - 05:29
nowshad

hi steve, i hav a question.............can i change the schedule to tuesday,thurusday and saturday? by the way thanks a lot for short tips :)

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/14/2010 - 09:37
Steven

Hi Nowshad,

Absolutely! Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will work great.

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Posted Mon, 10/11/2010 - 04:04
Kerry

I have recently lost 185lbs. with the help of a bariatric bypass; unfortunately I have become very week, and have very little muscle mass. I can only afford dumbbells at the moment, and need help. My legs are pretty fit from the hiking and other activities I do, but I really need help on my upper body. I have created a work out routine with exercises I've found on Muscle and Strength, but need advice on the number of reps/sets for my routine. I plan on working out 6 days a week with the thought of working each body part every other day. At this point I need endurance, strength, and size. In which order should I proceed, and can you help me by telling me how many reps/sets I should be doing to build up my endurance, strength, and size. I was thinking about starting with my endurance, then moving onto size, and then finally strength. I am just unsure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Kerry