A dumbbell only workout for home or the gym that will pack on muscle mass. This routine was designed by Frankoman from team Muscle & Strength.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

Tired of looking for a dumbbell only routine to work out at home with? Don't want to buy any expensive equipment? Then here is a workout for you! All you need is an adjustable bench and some dumbbells. This is beginner - intermediate. If you have a pullup bar I highly suggest adding chinups or wide grip pullups to back day!

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Workout Schedule

This is a 3 day workout program. You'll want to have at least one rest day between your workout days. A sample schedule is:

  • Monday - Chest and Triceps
  • Tuesday - Rest
  • Wednesday - Back and Biceps
  • Thursday - Rest
  • Friday - Legs and Shoulders
  • Saturday - Rest
  • Sunday - Rest

3 Day Dumbbell Workout Program

Monday - Chest and Triceps

Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Flys 3 12
Dumbbell Skullcrusher 3 12
Dumbbell Tricep Kickback 3 12
One Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 12

Wednesday - Back and Biceps

Exercise Sets Reps
One Arm Dumbbell Row 5 12,10,10,8,6
Bent Over Dumbbell Row 5 12,10,10,8,6
Dumbbell Pullover 2 12,10
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Cross Body Hammer Curl 2 10

Friday - Legs and Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Step Up 3 12
Dumbbell Squat 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 12,10,10,8
Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 2 15,12
Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise 2 12,10
Standing Dumbbell Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 12,10,10
Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Fly 3 12,10,10
Dumbbell Shrug 4 12,10,10,8


Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2024 - 23:14

I just started this week and is it really expected to get Friday done in only 45 minutes? 33 sets and quite a few are doubled up by needing to do left and right. I'm sure I'll get quicker as I get into the routine but want to make sure I'm not misinterpreting something.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 05:37

Hey Jeff, that one may take you an hour, and it's ok if it does. Apologies for the confusion on that.

Posted on: Sun, 12/24/2023 - 02:31

I have a lot of time over the next couple of weeks. Could I compress the workout to 1 or 2 days with 1-2 days rest in between to get more volume in during the week?

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Posted on: Thu, 12/28/2023 - 20:45

If you have that kind of time, then I guess you could go upper/lower split, but that is a lot of work on the upper day. You might want to omit a couple of the exercises if you choose to do that.

Posted on: Sun, 12/17/2023 - 08:52

Hey, what about core (abs), there is no core day on 7 days of workout slip

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 12/28/2023 - 20:44

It wasn't included in this program, but we have plenty of workouts you can do in conjunction with this program to train abs well. Do one of these on your off day or at the end of one of the other workouts.


Posted on: Fri, 11/03/2023 - 20:40

I wonder if you might have a suggestion on pairing a diet or meal plan with this workout?


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Posted on: Wed, 11/15/2023 - 18:56

We don't have meal plans here, Tim, but we do have guides to help you form your own based on your goals.

Mass Guide: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/complete-guide-how-to-increas...

Fat Loss: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss

Posted on: Fri, 09/22/2023 - 10:25

On some of the exercises I am struggling to increase weights e.g. hammer curl going from 10kg to 12kg. Is it okay to increase the reps above amount suggested to help build up strength.

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Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 20:29

That is fine, Niail. As long as you improve somehow, that is a win.

Posted on: Sun, 09/10/2023 - 14:44

Hello everyone, I have finished all the programs dumbbell only workouts (3,4 and 5 days workouts)and I am very happy with the result. At this point, I'm thinking of starting this programm with heavier dumbbells. What's your advice?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 20:28

If you got them, go for it, Peter. Mind sharing results with the program? I'm sure the experience can help others here.

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 12:27

Thank you very much. I have another one question: on the weekends i do cycling, so I would like to avoid training the legs on Friday, can I change the legs workout day with another one of the workout days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2023 - 18:18

You can do that. Give yourself a couple of days after cycling before training legs.

Posted on: Tue, 10/24/2023 - 08:52

Ok, thank you for your advices

Posted on: Thu, 08/17/2023 - 12:46


I have a question regarding weight selection for this.

If I'm understanding correctly from previous comments, the weight should be chosen to have 2-3 RIR. And when the rep count decreases, weight should be increased?

From my experience (which is very limited), if I finish a set with 2-3 RIR, there is no way I'm doing a slightly smaller set with a heavier weight. Let alone with more RIR, and for 2-3 weight increases. For example, if I'm doing One are dumbbell row at 40lb for 12 reps with 2 RIR, I don't think there is any way I'm making it through 10 reps with 42.5lb (twice), then 8 reps at 45lb, and 6 reps at 50lb.

Is this a proper example of how it should be performed? And if so, is it normal what I'm explaining? Should I keep these weights, and keep going until I can make 12,10,10,8,6 with the weight increase? Should I lower the starting weight, but then I'm not leaving 2-3 RIR on the lighter sets/reps?

Thanks in advance!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 08/26/2023 - 21:57

Hi, Andy. Yes, this is normal, and that is a good example. If you want to do the first set with 3-4 RIR, that would be ok. As you progress, you will get strong enough to do those extra increases.

Shane Lockman
Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2023 - 05:41

Should you increase the weight after each rep?

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Posted on: Sat, 08/26/2023 - 21:53

You can, but it isn't necessary unless the weight you're using is no longer challenging.

Posted on: Sat, 07/29/2023 - 01:39

Love this workout, but I find as a beginner I find myself getting restless as I spend about an hour each session. Instead of doing it in 3 days, could I halve each day and do it over the span of 6 days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 08/15/2023 - 09:41

That would work, Troy. If you do it, let us know how it goes.

Posted on: Mon, 07/03/2023 - 09:15

Can I spread the workout throughout the day? For example, I would do chest exercises on Monday morning and do the triceps ones on Monday evening. Would it have any affects? My goal is gaining muscle mass.

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Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 07:50

You could possibly do that. I don't know how effective it would be to be honest. It may work wonders for you. If you try it, let us know your results.

Posted on: Tue, 06/27/2023 - 12:56

Hey will I be able to do this routine for years or will I have to change it up eventually also I’m making leg day deadlifts and Bulgarian split squats so yeah just let me know i only have dumbbells and a hex bar that goes up to 265lb

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2023 - 07:53

You're going to need to change it up eventually, Lee. If you need help finding that new program, check this out.


Posted on: Mon, 06/12/2023 - 06:38

How much time to rest between sets?

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Posted on: Mon, 06/12/2023 - 06:54

45-60 seconds

Posted on: Mon, 06/12/2023 - 09:26

My lower back hurts when i do bent over rows without a bench for support. So:
1. Can i do the bent over one arm row with a bench, or substitute it for tripod row?
2. Can i substitute bent over row with chest supported row?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 06/13/2023 - 06:46

If you have access to those options, you sure can.

Posted on: Sun, 05/28/2023 - 03:08

i am 40 year old overweight woman. would you recommend this for weightloss as well?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2023 - 15:20

As long as you're eating for fat loss as well, it can certainly help you move forward. Let us know how this helps if you choose to do it.

Posted on: Sat, 05/27/2023 - 11:42

Hi, I like your suggestion of adding chinups or wide grip pullups to back day and was wondering which exercise should I do it before/after and what the set/rep count should be. I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions, thank you :)

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2023 - 06:30

I would do it at the beginning of the workout and follow similar rep schemes to the other exercises. Then, follow the rest of the plan as is. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Mon, 05/01/2023 - 16:39

I am currently doing this program and was wondering what you recommend moving onto after 10 weeks? Would the 3 day full body program be a steup from this?

Also I don’t have a bench that can do incline, wondering if a chair would work? Or if you have another work-around.


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/02/2023 - 13:13

A chair would work for incline if you can sit in it comfortably. If you have a flat bench, you can also elevate the head side for a better angle.

For other programs, check this out.


Posted on: Wed, 04/26/2023 - 12:31

Will these exercises also build muscles in my forearms? Or will other exercises work better? I've been following this routine for 4 months, but it's hard to tell if they are getting bigger.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/02/2023 - 13:12

You should add wrist curls to any of the upper body workouts to hit the forearms directly. You can also do static holds with the dumbbells for time. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Wed, 03/08/2023 - 23:42

Can I make this a 6 day workout? So for example, monday is chest and triceps, tuesday is shoulders and legs, wednesday is back and biceps, thursday is chest and triceps, friday is legs and shouolders, and saturday is back and biceps?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 03/11/2023 - 20:07

You can if you like, Evan. If you're not an advanced lifter, give yourself time to get acquainted to that new routine, and if it negatively impacts your recovery, then back off. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Fri, 03/03/2023 - 08:19

Just started this routine this past week. My question is do you increase the weight after each rep? Is this why the reps drop?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 03/11/2023 - 20:06

Your goal is to increase the weight each set if possible, especially if the reps drop. The heavier weight is to make up for the less reps.

Posted on: Wed, 03/01/2023 - 12:34

Why do the bicep/tricep exercises not use progressive overload like the other exercises?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 03/11/2023 - 20:05

Can't answer for whoever created it, but my guess would be that since they are smaller muscles. I actually am in favor of it, myself. Try it if you like.

Posted on: Thu, 02/09/2023 - 13:01

Hello, I´ve been following this routine for the past 5 weeks and so far I´m liking it. Do you think is time to change the routine a little bit? I don´t know if using the same routine for an extended period of time can affect your gains. I saw that you were recomending a 5 day workout, but that would be too much time to me. Do you have another 3 day workout that you recommend?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:06

Check this out, Santiago. This could help you find a new program.


Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2023 - 09:16

Hello I hope I'm not asking the obvious but as I'm new to lifting here goes. How do I approach the weight for this routine? And how do I increase weight throughout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:05

Glad you asked. Start with light weights that you can do with proper form without reaching failure. As you progress, start challenging yourself at your own pace. Once you can do over two reps more than the rep range suggests, add weight.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 10:39

Hello again, one more question :

after a couple of weeks I changed it up to a 5 day workout,

Monday - Chest, Triceps
Tuesday - Back Biceps
Wednesday Chest, Triceps
Thursday - Back, Biceps,
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Legs & Shoulders
Sunday - Rest

For the back and Biceps day, the dumbbell pullover seems to workout the chest primarily Should I move that workout to the chest day so that there is a proper rest period for chest exercises ? or does not really matter that much?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 10:20

Yes, you should. I also suggest taking a rest day in between those two rounds of upper body training. That 24 hours of recovery will make a difference.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 10:19


So when doing a workout that does each arm independently (like the One Arm Dumbbell Row) should I be considering each arm a different workout, with each arm rest time of 60-90 seconds between reps? Right now I alternate arms and rest 60 seconds after doing both. I feel like I'm doing it wrong though