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!

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

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: 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


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2023 - 13:56

You are doing it correct, Mark. Train both sides, then rest.

Posted on: Mon, 01/16/2023 - 16:34


Is it a massive hinderance to not be increasing the weight as the sets decrease? I am pretty much lifting the most I can lift during all sets, if I decrease it would be too light, if I increase it would be too heavy.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2023 - 08:40

As long as you're doing the best you can, train with the weight you feel serves you best. The muscle doesn't know the number, and quality reps are more important.

Posted on: Wed, 01/11/2023 - 06:56

Hi there. The article says to add pullups would I replace one of the listed movements with pullups or just add them. If so how many sets and reps?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2023 - 08:41

If you don't feel you can add them, then replace any back exercise you like. Focus on similar sets and reps as the exercise you replace.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 08:50

If i wanted to add them, how many sets would you recommend?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 10:37

3 sets, Wes.

Danny Harris
Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2023 - 19:54

Hi, I'm new to general exercise and I had a question about the reps that are per arm, such as the Tricep Kickback. Do I do 12 reps for each arm? or do 6 rep for each? I have been doing 12 reps for each arm and I just wanted to verify if that was the right way. Great workout program so far!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 11:08

12 reps for each arm, Danny. Glad you like the workout. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Fri, 12/30/2022 - 08:22

I am on the dumbbell only 3 day full body workout by Josh England on my 5th week. & I am wondering if I can progress to this program after 8 weeks? or is it more optimal to progress to the 4 day workout split routine? Either way works

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 13:02

I think moving up to this one next would be the play. Regardless of which one you pick, let us know how you improve. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Sun, 12/18/2022 - 18:07

Hi, I am confused on weight/rep progression. For 4x12,10,10,8, should I increase the weight (25lbs --> 30lbs --> 35lbs --> 40lbs) as I progress through reps? I read about progressive overload and that if I finish my first 2 sets without struggle, then they don't really count (which is the case for me right now). My fear is I don't want to start off light and easily finish the first 2 sets, but then when I get to the heavy weights, I am unable to even complete the last 2 reps. Should I start from heavy and decrease the weights? (40lbs --> 35lbs --> 30 lbs --> 25 lbs). And what should I do for 3x10? Id appreciate any advice. Thank you :)

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 12/27/2022 - 08:33

You should increase weight as reps decrease. Don't fear about sets not "counting." You should feel challenged each set, but the one that matters most when it comes to failure is the last set. The gauge I use is that I should have 1-2 reps left in the tank in the beginning sets, then I go all out on the final set.

When the reps are the same, the weight stays the same.

Posted on: Wed, 11/30/2022 - 09:40

What is the rest time between the sets?
Are we suppose to increase is the rep decrease?
Can I replace some with barbell? Example bent over dumbbell row with barbell row?
What do I do if I finish the 10 week? Can I keep doing it?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 12/02/2022 - 21:17

Rest for 60 seconds between sets, Junior.

Yes, when reps go down, weight goes up.

Yes, feel free to swap barbells for dumbbells and vice versa.

You can keep doing it, or you can choose a new program based on your goals then. If you do this one, let us know how it goes.

Balls Mahoney
Posted on: Fri, 11/11/2022 - 12:34

My ceiling is too low for me to properly perform dumbbell step ups with a knee-high bench. Is there a suitable alternative to this exercise (such as another lunge or squat variation), or should I use a lower bench that’s below knee height?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 11/18/2022 - 08:54

You got a few options. Do the step ups outside, use a lower bench, or do stationary lunges.

Posted on: Thu, 11/03/2022 - 14:20

You mention with all the work outs to supplement protein powder, is that before or after work outs?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 11/08/2022 - 06:59

I prefer after, but you can do it either way if you like. Just make sure you get it in at some point around the training.

Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2022 - 02:12

Hi, there is the work out good for 15 yrs old and

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 11/02/2022 - 08:21

Yes, Ali, it is.

Posted on: Wed, 10/12/2022 - 22:36

Gonna be a long one. I've been doing this program for 4 weeks now, and while it's not a bad program, I found it has exercises I either cannot do, or causes pain/discomfort. So I had to modify. Before form is mentioned, I have watched countless videos on form on all of these and the end results are all the same.

Chest Flys - Cannot do them as they make my left shoulder pop every time I bring my dumbbells down to chest level. Replaced with Push Ups.

Skullcrusher - Cannot do them as they straight up feel like they're gonna blow out my right elbow. Replaced with Close Grip Bench Press.

Dumbbell Tricep Extensions are completely omitted as they are a PITA to do. Even doing 5lbs makes me feel like my arms are going to get really bad cramps

One Arm Tricep Extensions - Really awkward to do and can never do right . Replaced with Overhead Tricep Extensions.

So basically, only the Tricep exercises were giving me trouble but everything else is fine.

Also, not a huge fan of the fact leg/shoulder day takes an extraordinarily long time to do. As someone looking to be in shape first and build muscle second, how much of a bad idea is it to omit some leg/shoulder exercises? Like, would I still reap some benefits omitting Step Ups, Seated Calf Raises, Lateral Raises, etc?

Thanks in advance.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/14/2022 - 09:46

If you're on a tight schedule, sacrifice shoulder movements before you do legs. The legs have large muscles, and they need the work more than the shoulders. If the swaps you made are working for you, keep them. I don't see any issues with any of them.

Posted on: Sun, 10/02/2022 - 19:27

For the lunges and step ups, is the first set 6 reps on the left leg and 6 on the right leg, or 12 reps on both legs?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:13

That would be 12 for both, George.

Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2022 - 08:10

Should Dumbbell Pullover be listed under Back & Biceps day? Shouldn't that go under Chest Triceps?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:13

The pullovers actually do more for the lats than the chest. The stretch and first three-quarters of the movement are what work the back. The chest is certainly active at the end, and even slightly in the beginning, but this is no mistake. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Fri, 09/09/2022 - 03:53

For the workouts that follow 12,10,10,8 sets of rep, are those supposed to be done pyramid, as in increasing the weight? Is it still acceptable to not do that?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 09/18/2022 - 10:41

They are meant for you to add weight, but if you choose not to do that, it will be ok. You may not reap the same benefits, but you can still see positive results.

Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 06:58

What are good alternatives for the incline exercises?
Because I dont have an adjustable bench.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 20:36

If you have steps, lie back on them with your butt on the floor. It's not perfect, but it can work. Otherwise, you can sit on a floor with your shoulders leaned back against a wall or stack of pillows. If you have a flat bench, place one end on a higher surface so that it will stay in place. If none of those ways are available, then simply do flat exercises on the floor instead of incline.