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: 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.

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.

Posted on: Wed, 08/31/2022 - 13:18

Hi, Ive been doing this program for a bit over a month and was wondering what you would recommend I do next? should I stick with the same program for 1 more month? This is the first time lifting after 3 years and the results have not been bad. I only have a bench and dumbbells at home.


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 20:32
Fernando Suarez
Posted on: Wed, 08/31/2022 - 11:28

Would it be fine to swap Monday and Friday? I often do hikes on Friday afternoons and weekends. I would prefer to not destroy my legs right before that.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 20:31

Go for it, Fernando!

Posted on: Mon, 08/01/2022 - 16:38

Do you have any advice for weight selection when one side is noticeably weaker than the other? For example, I can handle 20lb dumbbell curls just fine with my left arm, but can barely manage 15s on the right. Should I use the same lower weights for both arms until my right is caught up or different weights for each arm based on their limits?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2022 - 08:53

Hey Vic, I actually had this issue myself when I first started. Go with the 20's, but do each side one at a time. Do all the curls with the left side first, then switch to the right. When you reach failure, rest 10 seconds and pick up where you left off. Continue until you get the same reps that you did with the left. Over the course of a few weeks, it will slowly catch up.

Also, no two arm movements for curls. Do everything single arm so that other side is forced to work harder. It will suck at first, but worth it in the end.

Posted on: Mon, 07/25/2022 - 09:05

Hello, I am at week 9 and have seen good results. Do you recommend taking a break after the 10 weeks is completed for body recovery?

Also, should I continue with this or move on to another program? I only have dumbbells a bench and a pull-up bar. I don't have that much time daily to work out. So I have been doing this M-W-F and doing 30-45min of cardio on Tu-Thrs...any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 07/31/2022 - 11:23

Hi, Craig. Thanks for choosing M&S, and congrats on your progress!

I suggest a week off after you finish this one up. After that, you can certainly go with this one again. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

Posted on: Sun, 07/24/2022 - 03:49

Any chance to add planks or other abs excercises to the routine?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 21:25

Sure, John. Go for it!

Posted on: Sat, 07/23/2022 - 06:13

Hey there, I was wondering: Are the rests I'm taking in between sets too long?

The time per workout listed here is 45 minutes but the Monday chest and triceps workout for example takes me around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The weights I lift usually put me within 1-4 reps of failure so my rests might be somewhere between like 2-3 minutes. Is that too long? Should i switch to lower weights and make my rests shorter?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 21:24

Hey Dave, yeah, you need to cut the rest down to 1 minute or 90 seconds. If that means you need to lower the weights, do it. It will save time, and you can achieve better muscle contractions, which are most important for a program like this.

Posted on: Wed, 07/20/2022 - 19:20

Hey i was wondering what is the difference between this program and this one https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/3-day-full-body-dumbbell-workout . Is Frankoman's more at an intermediate level ? I am only interested in 3 days programs. I have tried the program at the link above but i am still trying to figure out the differences with Frankoman's. Thabk you for your time!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 21:02

Yes, Nyol. The one you linked in your question is more of a beginner level program.

Drew Laverty
Posted on: Sat, 07/16/2022 - 15:26

I see that in most of the workouts the sets and reps are the same number, so when it says, 4 sets, and then it lists four different rep patterns (12, 10, 10, 8) are we to do 4 sets of those four different rep counts, or are the reps listing the 4 different sets?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 19:22

Hi, Drew. I hope this will help.

Set #1 - 12 reps
Set #2 - 10 reps
Set #3 - 10 reps
Set #4 - 8 reps

Then you're done with that exercise.

Posted on: Mon, 07/11/2022 - 16:28

What do you recommend for how to handle progression and failure in this routine? The post doesn't really explain either.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 07/22/2022 - 14:44

When you can do two reps more than you're supposed to with the weight you chose, it's time to go up. If you hit failure within 1-2 reps, stick with it. If you fail with 3 or more reps to go, fall back accordingly. Hope that helps!

Posted on: Mon, 07/04/2022 - 03:11

The sets and reps for each exercise is following a pyramid structure. What's your opinion on changing it reverse pyramid structure instead or maybe alternate between the structures every week maybe?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 07/11/2022 - 22:52

As long as you're warmed up properly before you start with those low reps, you should be fine, Jake. I reverse pyramid occasionally myself, and it serves as a nice shock to the muscles. The endurance challenge is a nice bonus.