Frankoman's Dumbbell Only Split

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

Build Muscle
10 weeks
45 minutes
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

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!

Daily Workout Schedule:

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

Tuesday - Rest Day

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

Thursday - Rest Day

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

 Saturday and Sunday - Rest Days

1.1K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 07/20/2019 - 21:36

Will this build muscle/how long before I can see muscle growth? Also, how long can I use this workout for? Thank you!

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Posted Tue, 08/06/2019 - 18:14
E main

If you're a beginner it can take as little as 3 weeks to see great results if you work hard at it. And never do the same weightlifting routine for longer than 4 weeks, even if you just change some of the lifts it will greatly benefit you.

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Posted Sat, 07/13/2019 - 05:16

This will sound dumb is it okay to do chest exercise after another chest exercise or triceps after triceps? Should it be like chest-triceps-chest-triceps?

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Posted Tue, 08/06/2019 - 18:18
E main

It's good to break down the muscle your working so chest chest chest then tricep tricep tricep does a better job! With the recommended reps and sets.

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 15:03

It may be explained elsewhere and I just missed it, but what is the rationale for decreasing the rep count per set and increasing the weight per set? Does this approach offer any advantages over doing the same weight for an equal number of reps per set?

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Posted Sun, 05/26/2019 - 12:16

Really enjoyed this for the last 10 weeks, now moving on to the 3 day full body routine. Big increases in weight that I'm moving and noticeable visual muscle gains.

Thanks Josh!

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Posted Fri, 05/24/2019 - 06:45

With the different reps do we decrease in the weight?

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Posted Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:34

I don’t see any core specific exercises in this split - does it exercise your core indirectly or should I add a core day in?

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2019 - 02:24

Could I do this workout 6 day's a week doing each workout twice a week with 1 rest day?

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:56

Hi Lee,

Yes, you could.

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2019 - 17:26

what percentage of my max should i be doing on these different exercises?

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Posted Tue, 01/15/2019 - 15:21

for the addition of pull ups on back day: how many sets and reps, and where should they be in the work out?

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Posted Mon, 12/17/2018 - 08:08

I won't have access to a bench until summer next year. What exercise should I use to substitute the ones that require an incline, such as the incline press and incline curl?

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Posted Mon, 11/12/2018 - 16:40

Hey, this is a bit of a stupid question:

I see this is a 'split' workout, meaning biceps for example are only worked once a week. How come this doesn't make it impossible to progress, given non-'split' workouts would be working each specifc muscle multiple times a week?

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Posted Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:43

The key is Progressive Overload. If you're working at 85%-90% of your 1Rep Max, you will be pushing significant volume, which your muscles will need to rest from in order to grow. Muscles don't grow from the workout, they grow during the repairing rest process. Also, keep your rep ranges in the 4-6 range for that volume and follow the principle of: When you can do all sets for 6 reps, it's time to up the weight. If you're failing at 4 or 5 on any set, stay where you are until you get to 6 all sets, then up the weight. This is the progressive overload. This is where you get growth. Your muscles grow so to prepare you for handling more weight because you are telling your body through this process that you are going to be pushing more weight, and your body adapts.
Staying in this rep range is the Myofibrillar range where you are thickening the fibres of your muscles. Once you have hit the milestone of 135% of bod weight for bench, and 165% of body weight for Squat and Dead Lift, then you can add in some extra Sarcoplasmic reps in the 8-12 range to pump up the muscles more.
Don't get jacked up on the numbers. Do your best and forget the rest, as Tony Horton would say.
Try to jump too fast, and you risk injury and having to sit out for months which greatly impedes your growth. Don't let your ego write checks your body can't cash. Keep your ego out of it and focus on a healthy lifestyle that will have you turning heads at the beach.
Listen to your body and remember that this is a millimetre game. Gains happen slowly. Like a snail. But stay consistent and persistent and you will see the gains.
Remember too that nutrition contributes about 65% to your results. Not eating enough protein and carbs will impede gains. Too much fat and you'll look puffy. Not enough water or sleep and your body won't perform well. Track your food intake on apps like My Fitness Pal. Almost every jacked person you see knows their calories in and calories out numbers to some degree.
Every calorie you consume should also bring along a lot of friends; minerals, vitamins, etc.
And remember, alcohol inhibits fat oxidation. If your liver is too busy processing alcohol, it cant take care of the fat you're trying to burn, so it put it on hold. Nothing wrong with a couple now and then, but every day, or in great excess, you defeat your gains.
I'd say good luck, but the reality is that luck has nothing to do with it, other than some helpful genetics. So, instead I'll say: Good choices!

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Posted Thu, 11/01/2018 - 16:27
Taran Ainsley

When doing 1 muscle at a time exercises like 1 arm dumbbell row or dumbbell lunges, do you do the required sets for each muscle side (left/right) or spread the sets between the 2 sides?

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Posted Fri, 11/02/2018 - 11:33

Hi Taran,

Yep, the sets would be done on each side.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/21/2018 - 04:38

I love this workout, but I also train in mma 2-3 times a week, can I add some plyo/explosive stuff at the beginning of workouts? Something like box jumps before legs and clap push up before chest

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Posted Wed, 09/12/2018 - 10:59

Is there another 3 day dumbbell workout that would be a good one to move onto AFTER completing this program? I enjoyed this program but would like to compound on it and improve in the future. Don't know where I should go to next after this one.

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Posted Fri, 09/14/2018 - 09:18
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Posted Sat, 09/01/2018 - 12:49

What weight should I use in each arm?

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Posted Wed, 08/22/2018 - 09:17

How can anyone finish these set groups in 45min?!

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Posted Sun, 08/12/2018 - 17:31
Zachary G.

Hey M&S!

Love the article! Also have a quick question.

I was doing another dumbbell routine that I have gotten somewhat bored as it was lighter than this one. I loving what I’m seeing with this one and was just curious if this would be a good routine to continue my fat loss journey or if you’d recommend a different routine for that?

I walk about 8-10 miles a day at work and do moderate lifting throughout my shift. I also have a pretty solid diet with one decent cheat meal a week. Any advice would be much appreciated!


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Posted Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:24

Hi Zachary,

This is a fine routine to use for fat loss goals. The most important thing to consider when achieving fat loss is how many calories you consume each day. You have to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 08/13/2018 - 16:03
Zachary Garner

Thanks for the reply! That’s the hard part haha. I eat healthy and definitely in a deficit. About 2 lb loss a week. I just struggle getting enough food sometimes. I may have to start meal prepping so I can insure that I’ll get enough nutrients for a healthy muscles growth.

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Posted Sun, 07/22/2018 - 12:27

Legs/Shoulders day is exhausting. When you say 4 sets of lunges and 3 sets of step-ups, how do we alternate legs? Do we just double up to 8 total sets of lunges and 6 sets of step-ups?

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Posted Fri, 07/20/2018 - 19:51

Can I do shoulders on a separate day and make this routine 4 days a week ?

Thanks for reply

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Posted Mon, 07/23/2018 - 08:48

Hi Rah,

Sure, that would be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 07/08/2018 - 01:51
Mikey V

What is the idea behind the rep sceme? Are you supposed to keep the weight at the same level for each set, or increase the weight as the number of reps go down? Thanks!

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Posted Sun, 07/08/2018 - 00:17

For this routine, do you recommend that the exercises be done in the order listed? For example, on chest and triceps day, do you do all the chest exercises in sequence before moving to the triceps exercises? Or alternate, one chest exercise then a tricep exercise?

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Posted Tue, 06/26/2018 - 11:06

there is Dumbbell Pullover workout in back day !
how ???

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Posted Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:52

2 questions:
1. I have only 15 lbs and a 20 lbs dummbles, when should I increase my weight?
2. Should I rest 1 min. Between sets?

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Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:49

Hi Avi,

1. I'd recommend investing in new dumbbells over time. The rate in which you will progress will vary.

2. Yes, that is a fine rest period.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:44


How do I warm up for this routine ?

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Posted Fri, 05/18/2018 - 15:35
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Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:52

Hi Eli,

Any curl and press variation using what you have available will do the trick.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:32

Thanks Josh this article is great !
I was also wondering, as I don't have a bench, what exercises can replace the incline curl and incline press ?

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Posted Sat, 05/12/2018 - 18:39

Hey there! Thanks for posting this - I travel a lot, and most hotel gyms have dumbbells but no barbell, so this is SUPER helpful!

Quick q - on the exercises with decreasing reps, are you supposed to increase the weight with each set? Or keep it the same?
Ex: 12 reps of 25 lbs, 10 reps of 30 lbs, 8 reps of 35 lbs... vs. 12 reps of 30 lbs, 10 reps of 30 lbs, 8 reps 30 lbs...

Thanks, really appreciate it!

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Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:12

Hi RP,

Yes, as the reps decrease, increase the weight used.

Hope this helps! Thanks for giving the program a shot!

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Posted Fri, 09/13/2019 - 08:11

Hey Josh,

could you add this information to the article itself? This is very easy to miss if it stays hidden in the comment section. Also maybe add infos on how to progress and what to do if you fail a lift.

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Posted Wed, 05/02/2018 - 01:12
David Bradley

So I only have a 15, 25 (pair), 40 (pair) pound weights. Will that weight be enough to see some real gains?

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Posted Wed, 05/02/2018 - 09:36

Hi David,

It's a good place to start! You'll be able to notice some gains using those dumbbells if you're new to training, yes.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 05/03/2018 - 18:33
David Bradley

Thank you. I'm also taking ON protein. So let's hope that helps as well.

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Posted Sun, 04/15/2018 - 11:52
Robert Collins

I want to add some core exercises ... Sit-ups, leg lifts etc... What day should I add them to???

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Posted Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:16

Hi Robert,

Go for it! You can add them in to any of the workout days.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 04/15/2018 - 05:04

I have access to an EZ bar, would it be possible to substitute some exercises for the EZ bar variation such has Skull Crushers and was dumbbell curls?

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Posted Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:23

Hi Dave,

yes, absolutely.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 03:20

Hi Nigel / Frankoman,

Firstly thanks for the routine, I have been following along for the past 3 months or so and have noticed considerable muscle gain / strength. As I have progressed I have also started some other movements that I have picked up here and there and have been increasing the weight / reps to keep it going.

I have however read a lot of recommendations that muscle groups are hit 2x per week, would this increased training amount be considered a more "advanced" routine and if so is there a routine accessible anywhere?

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Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:41

Hi James,

Increasing training frequency would be a solid option to progress from this workout.

Check out this program here:

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 04/11/2018 - 06:08

Good day everyone, i got a question .
Monday and Thursday i got badminton session.

Can i run this program like Tuesday (chest,tri) continuously Wednesday (back,bi) then Friday (leg,shoulder) ? This is a big question for me... hopefully i got reply . Thanks