Dumbbell Only Workout: 4 Day Upper/Lower Dumbbell Workout Routine

This dumbbell only upper/lower workout program only requires dumbbells and is perfect for those looking to build lean muscle mass at home or on the go!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
12 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

The following workout is for those who only have access to a set of dumbbells.

It can be performed by those who work out at home, have to travel frequently and want to get a good workout in with limited equipment at a hotel gym, or as a progression from my 3 day dumbbell only routine.

This workout can be performed as a full workout routine for up to 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks you may want to consider altering the volume, weight you use (i.e. invest in a new pair of dumbbells), or even venture out and join a local gym that will have more of a variety of equipment for you to use.

The program calls for you to work out 4 days per week. What days you decide to workout is completely up to you. With that being said, it’s best to have 48-72 hours of rest in between your two upper body workouts and 48-72 hours of rest in between your two lower body workouts.

An example would be to perform the workouts in the order they are listed and take your rest days on Wednesdays and the weekends. Your rest days are the perfect opportunity to incorporate cardio training, flexibility training, foam rolling, or a combination of the three.

The goal of this workout is to help you build muscle. However, it can also help you with your fat loss goals depending on your calorie intake.

Rest periods for this workout program should be limited to 30-60 seconds.

If you have any other questions regarding this upper/lower dumbbell only workout program, please be sure to leave them in the comments section below!

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The course will teach you how your body builds muscle, how to utilize workout plans on our website to maximize muscle growth, how to eat to build muscle, how to supplement to build muscle and how to track your progress.

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Day 1: Dumbbell Upper Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bent Over Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-10
3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Pullover 3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Bicep Curl 2 8-12
6. Dumbbell Tricep Extension 2 8-12
7. Dumbbell Shrug 2 12-15

Day 2: Dumbbell Lower Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Goblet Squat 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
3. Dumbbell Plie Squat 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl 3 8-12
5. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 8-12
6. Plank 3 20 Secs

Day 3: Dumbbell Upper Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10
3. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
4. Chest Supported Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2 8-12
6. Dumbbell Floor Press 2 8-12
7. Seated Dumbbell Shrug 2 12-15

Day 4: Dumbbell Lower Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Rear Lunge 4 8-10
3. Dumbbell Hip Thrust 4 8-10
4. Dumbbell Split Squat 3 8-12
5. Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 8-12
6. Planks 3 20 Secs

If you give this program a try, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Post your post-workout swolfies in M&S gear on IG and tag @muscleandstrength, #muscleandstrength, or DM them to us to get a shoutout on Muscle & Strength stories!

443 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 01/13/2021 - 16:26
Husain

I have not started yet and I am little skinny. Does this help build abs? I see only plank exercise help build abs in all exercises which is done 2 days a week.

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Posted Thu, 01/14/2021 - 09:56
Abigail_M&S

Hey Husain - this program is not specifically designed to help build your abs. If you feel like adding additional ab exercises, check out this program: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/12-week-ab-workout-for-ab-def...

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Posted Tue, 01/12/2021 - 11:04
Vinny

I'd like to add some core/abs work to my routine. Would doing the Muscle and Strength Home based Ab Workout after lifting on the same day be ok?

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/27-home-based-ab-workout.html

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Posted Tue, 01/12/2021 - 11:10
Abigail_M&S

Hey Vinny - that's a great choice!

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Posted Thu, 01/14/2021 - 12:34
Vinny

Thanks for the prompt reply!

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Posted Fri, 01/08/2021 - 13:14
Mark

Hi have I to use progressive overload for this workout or up sets or reps or just do the same reps and sets each week ?

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:06
Abigail_M&S

Hey Mark - you'll do the same sets and reps each week. Because the reps are given in ranges, you can vary your reps each week if you'd like.

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Posted Thu, 01/07/2021 - 17:22
Will

Can you break up this workout for three times a week? So M: U1 W: L1 F: U2 following week
M: L2 W: U1 F: L1 etc.

Thanks!

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Posted Fri, 01/08/2021 - 09:20
Abigail_M&S

Hey Will - That's not ideal, but it can be done. We do have a 3 day dumbbell only workout routine: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/3-day-full-body-dumbbell-workout

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Posted Wed, 01/06/2021 - 14:54
lilac

How long should I rest between sets?

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Posted Thu, 01/07/2021 - 10:12
Abigail_M&S

Hey lilac - rest between sets can be between 30 and 60 seconds

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Posted Sun, 01/03/2021 - 15:26
Jenn

Should each exercise be completed before moving to the next ... or should it be treated as a circuit?
Also, would a 15-20 minute Tabata or HIIT (Peleton) session after days 1 & 3 be suffice for fat loss? Or should this be done after all strength sessions?

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Posted Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:38
Abigail_M&S

Hey Jenn - you'll complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. Doing HIIT 2x per week after your workouts will work for cardio.

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Posted Sun, 01/03/2021 - 05:28
Ramit

What should be the rest time in between sets and after sets

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Posted Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:39
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ramit - rest can be 30-60 seconds between sets

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Posted Sat, 01/02/2021 - 21:42
Chris G

A couple questions:

1. Reading thru the other comments, I understand the unilateral exercises like DB Rear Lunge and DB Split Squat are total reps for the set. Does the same hold true for the 1-Arm DB Row, or is the rep count per side?

2. If a lifter hits max set/reps, but is limited by maximum DB weight available (50#, for instance), and still has a few weeks to go, would it be best to add reps OR sets to continue increasing load-volume?

This looks like a great program for a return from injury hiatus.
Thanks!

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Posted Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:36
Abigail_M&S

Hey Chris -
1) The reps for the 1-arm dumbbell are per side
2) You can do a combination of both. Check out this article on modifying your workouts for continued gains: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/change-your-program-non-stop-...

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Posted Sat, 01/02/2021 - 12:26
Hamid

Day 4 is way too hard comparing to other days.not only it has difficult exercises but also it has more sets.cuz we have to do each exercise for both legs . So it will be like 31 sets!!

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Posted Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:22
Abigail_M&S

Hey Hamid - if you find day 4 too challenging, you can reduce the sets from 4 to 3 for those exercises with 4 sets.

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Posted Fri, 01/01/2021 - 05:38
john farrelly

this routine only gives 7 sets of bicep exercises in a week !!! that's pathetic. That's not enough for 1 workout.
Doing two sets of any exercise in a workout is a waste of time.
Terrible routine.

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Posted Thu, 12/17/2020 - 22:29
Rambo5

Hi,
What changes can we make to this routine for intermediate/ advance level?

Thanks

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Posted Fri, 12/18/2020 - 09:19
Abigail_M&S

Hey Rambo5 - you can keep your rest times short. This workout is adequate for intermediate and advance lifters.

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Posted Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:24
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ramit - you can keep rest times between 30 and 45 seconds

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Posted Sun, 01/03/2021 - 06:30
Ramit

How much rest should a intermediate lifter take inbetween sets and after sets

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Posted Thu, 12/17/2020 - 10:51
John

Hi! Is this training program recommended for "skinny-fat" guys or would you recommend something else?

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Posted Fri, 12/18/2020 - 09:19
Abigail_M&S

Hey John - this program will work!

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Posted Tue, 12/08/2020 - 03:46
Dhanell

Is this program okay for skinny guys who are trying to bulk up?

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Posted Tue, 12/08/2020 - 13:29
Abigail_M&S

Hey Dhanell - yes, it is. Your diet plays the largest role in putting on muscle.

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Posted Sun, 12/06/2020 - 18:10
Dustin Longpre

I work out alone and have a hard time setting up the dumbest hamstring curl especially now that I'm getting to heavier weights. Any suggestions?

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Posted Mon, 12/07/2020 - 09:00
Abigail_M&S

Hey Dustin - you can do the hamstring curl from the floor or you can do exercise ball hamstring curls.

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Posted Tue, 12/08/2020 - 16:55
Sam

It's hard to describe how I do it. I spread my legs out kind of like a frog (with my groin near the end of the bench) to grab the weight and then I close them up as I lift the weight off the floor and pull my body up more on to the bench.

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Posted Sun, 11/29/2020 - 19:14
zyanmix

Hello. I only have a pair of 10 lbs dumbbells. Can i do the workout only with that?

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Posted Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:53
Abigail_M&S

Hey zyanmix - 10 pounds may be a little light for some of the exercises. Try it out and see how it feels.

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:05
Abigail_M&S

We recently published a workout using only one pair of dumbbells. Check it out here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/single-pair-dumbbell-bodyweig...

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Posted Thu, 12/24/2020 - 01:17
zyanmix

I've tried and it seems easy to some workouts. Any advice on how can i make it more challenging without adding the weight? I currently cant afford to buy a pair of new dumbbells.

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Posted Sat, 11/28/2020 - 05:12
Ioannis

Hello ...
Just to clarify a couple of things ...
For bent over row and one arm row you go with narrow grip ( as closer to the body as possible ) and for the chest supported one you go with a wide grip ( target more the upper backs depth ) or I see this wrong ?
Also on the bent over row and one arm row , is it preferably to go on one of these with more close to chest and the other just a bit lower , so you can target upper back but also the lats ?
Thank you for your time .

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Posted Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:57
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ioannis - you are correct on the grip question. The bent over and single arm rows should be done the same way.

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Posted Fri, 11/20/2020 - 04:19
MarH

Hello. What can I replace Dumbbell Hamstring Curl with? That is impossible to do with my equipment, I have adjustable dumbbells so can't sensibly put it between my legs.

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Posted Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:41
Abigail_M&S

Hey MarH - you can replace them with reverse lunges

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Posted Sun, 12/20/2020 - 14:33
Abdullah Khan

Dumbell stiff leg deadlift

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Posted Thu, 11/19/2020 - 05:07
Kevin Daelemans

A quick question for day 4 (lower body routine)
With the dumbell reverse lunge and dumbell split squat is it 8-12 reps for each leg? Or is it in total for example 4-6 reps for each leg so you do 8-12 reps in total?

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Posted Thu, 11/19/2020 - 10:02
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kevin - 8-12 reps total

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Posted Tue, 11/17/2020 - 21:09
Kaleb

If I were to buy adjustable dumbbells of my own for this workout, what is the maximum weight I would need? I'm about as strong as a normal 19 year old. Would 30 lbs per dumbbell cover most of these exercises?

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Posted Thu, 11/19/2020 - 10:01
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kaleb - the weight you use is very individualized. 30-50 pound dumbbells should provide adequate resistance.

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Posted Tue, 11/17/2020 - 08:21
Daniel

I started this program on October 19, but need to take 3 weeks off from lifting. Would it be best to start the 12 weeks over or add 3 weeks to the end of the program?

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Posted Tue, 11/17/2020 - 09:25
Abigail_M&S

Hey Daniel - you can pick up where you left off or start the 12 weeks over. The workouts don't change week to week so you should be just fine picking up where you left off.

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Posted Tue, 11/17/2020 - 16:24
Daniel

Thank you.

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Posted Thu, 11/12/2020 - 12:35
ramit

we have to use the same weight for each set..right?

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Posted Fri, 11/13/2020 - 09:34
Abigail_M&S

Hey ramit - correct

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Posted Mon, 11/09/2020 - 13:28
Mustafa Hasan

Another question please and sorry for the disturbance.
The split squat, 8-12 each or both ?