Frankoman's Dumbbell Only Split

A dumbbell only workout for home or the gym that will pack on muscle mass. This routine design by Frankoman from the M&S forum.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
3
Dumbbells
Male & Female

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

Tuesday - Rest Day

Wednesday - back and Biceps
Back
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
Biceps
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Cross Body Hammer Curl 2 10

Thursday - Rest Day

Friday - Legs and Shoulders
Quads
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Step Up 3 12
Dumbbell Squat 4 12,10,10,8
Hamstrings
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 12,10,10,8
Calves
Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 2 15,12
Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise 2 12,10
Shoulders
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

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About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

979 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 03/17/2017 - 18:44
Hunter

Should I use the same amount of weight for every rep? Or should I go up on weights with each rep?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:21
JoshEngland

Hi Hunter,

As the reps per set decrease, you'll want to increase the weight you use.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 03/15/2017 - 05:41
newb

probably a dumb question, but I'm new to working out so work with me.
When it says sets and reps does that mean I do 12 reps, then 10, then 10, then 8. and then do that whole process 3 more times?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/15/2017 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi newb,

No such thing as a dumb question (remember from school?) :)

No, you would do 4 sets. 1 set of 12, 1 set of 10, 1 set of 10, 1 set of 8 and then move on to the next exercise.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 03/10/2017 - 07:09
Clebz

If I only have fix-weight dumbbells, should I replace all the 12-10-10-8 exercises by 12-12-12 ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 03/10/2017 - 09:28
JoshEngland

Hi Clebz,

Yes, that is one way you could modify the program to fit your needs.

You could also try altering the tempo of the reps as the number of reps decreases by slowing down the tempo. For example, for the 12 rep set perform with a 1 second lowering and raising tempo, 10 sets use a 2 seconds up and 2 second down tempo, 8 rep sets use a 3 sec tempo. This makes each rep tougher without having to purchase more weight.

Of course, the goal at some point is to get strong enough where you need to buy additional dumbbells :)

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 12/19/2016 - 03:48
Cfh

Rest time between sets ?
And can I add more sets for each route ?

Thanks in advance

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Posted Fri, 09/16/2016 - 11:04
Raj

Just one question. I haven't seen it answered as yet, but at what point do we do about exercises? This plan seems to be missing them out.

Can you please answer that for me. Thanks in advance :)

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Posted Thu, 07/28/2016 - 06:17
Sahil

I am 17 yrs old and skinny... what weights should i start with.. n also i dont have that bench in my home any substitute for that?..
Pls reply soon.
Thanks

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Posted Tue, 08/23/2016 - 12:10
Kyle

Go on Amazon and look up Olympic dumbbell sets. The kind where you also get plates you can add/remove from the sides. That will cost you anywhere from $100-200. You at least need a basic bench since some of the "stances" you take while doing these exercises relies on the shape of the bench itself. Try looking for a cheap, basic one on craigslist. I found a very simple bench for $30. Good luck
Kyle

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Posted Sat, 03/18/2017 - 01:47
Hunter

I started out doing calisthenics then moved to weights. You should do the same

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Posted Thu, 01/14/2016 - 20:13
G

Why is the leg/shoulder day 10 exercises and the two others only have 6 each?

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Posted Tue, 11/08/2016 - 16:28
bt3

Most likely to keep it to a 3 day workout week. I've seen similar routines at 4 days where the legs and shoulders are split out. The shoulder days also have traps exercises included.

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Posted Sat, 03/18/2017 - 01:48
Hunter

Because theres different parts of the leg you have to work out.

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Posted Sat, 01/02/2016 - 06:07
Lewis

How long should this take per day?

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Posted Wed, 11/18/2015 - 14:49
Joe

For Cross Body Hammer Curl, is 2 sets a typo? Or should it be 3?

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Posted Tue, 11/17/2015 - 09:02
Tim

Is 15 pounds ok for me ? I'm 14

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Posted Sat, 11/05/2016 - 05:01
rambo

Dude, dont do weights until you are 16. Just a friendly advice.

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Posted Mon, 09/28/2015 - 21:13
Drew

Out of curiosity, why so many reps and sets? Why not 3x10 with max weight?

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Posted Thu, 09/03/2015 - 21:58
Mike

With the decreasing rep schemes (e.g. 12, 10, 10, 8, 6), are you supposed to increase the weight in between, or keep it the same?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 09/04/2015 - 10:07
MikeWines

Mike,
Definitely increase the weight.

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Posted Thu, 06/11/2015 - 10:19
Paul Blake

I have been doing this workout for a few weeks now and I am seeing benefits from it, it states it is a workout for beginners, could you make this same regimen advanced by increasing rep range / weight ??

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:25
MikeWines

Paul,
You certainly could. You should always be focused on progressive overload in some form (weight, sets, reps, density, duration, etc.) but you could also increase the difficulty of this split simply by progressing each exercise on a continuum as found here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/train-like-an-athlete-look-li...

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Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 05:26
Paul Blake

The other question I have is I am looking to gain lean muscle mass, but is training each body part once per week enough to achieve this goal

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 07/14/2015 - 09:57
MikeWines

Paul,
I think there are better options out there, yes.

If you're looking for a 4 day/week option, check out this program I wrote: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dup-muscle-growth-workout

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 10:17
MikeWines

Paul,
That depends on a variety of factors (nutrition, lifestyle factors, sleep, 'supplementation', training age, etc.). However, I would recommend training each body part a minimum of twice per week, if not more.

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Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 11:52
Paul Blake

So this wouldn't be the best regimen to follow on the basis of training each muscle twice per week

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Posted Sun, 06/07/2015 - 13:20
Yetunde

Should we be lifting as much as we can with good for or a "manageable" weight that isn't too difficult but is still a challenge? I'm a female btw.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 06/08/2015 - 09:10
MikeWines

You should be lifting a weight that is tough but controllable. However, over time that weight should be increasing. Adaptation within the body is built on the principle of progressive overload.

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Posted Sun, 05/03/2015 - 23:29
Jake

Can I workout Sunday-Tuesday-Friday?

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Posted Mon, 08/17/2015 - 16:56
murk

no, if you don't do the exercises on the exact days posted they're as good as useless.

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Posted Fri, 03/27/2015 - 08:27
Joe

I am really enjoying this routine. Solid workout week after week and keep making strength gains. Thanks for such a awesome website.

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Posted Mon, 03/23/2015 - 05:10
Tobias

Is it alright if I change the order of the exercises?
My legs are killing me if I do lunges, squats and then step ups or if I do incline dumbbell curl, standing dumbbell curl and then cross body hammer curl.

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Posted Sat, 03/07/2015 - 06:18
Riley

But so we train chest on monday then on wedsnday we train chest again with the dumbbell pull over? (And triceps), chest and triceps won't have time to recover... Also, isn't the routine on friday a bit too much for someone who wants to build muscles? That'd last more than an hour with breaks.

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Posted Sat, 02/14/2015 - 07:07
Pete

Hello there, when doing the above sets (i.e. incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 sets), should they be done one after another? If so, how long to wait before doing another set? Thanks.

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Posted Sun, 01/18/2015 - 10:36
Mohammad Faiz

Since the above plan is for Mon,Wed and Fri, am i able to do ab workouts on my rest days?

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Posted Mon, 01/12/2015 - 16:27
Just G

This may sound like an odd question, is it ok to run on my "rest" days? I'm still trying to boost my cardio.

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Posted Sat, 03/07/2015 - 06:30
Riley

I'd say you can do cardio on rest days but not more than 30 minutes if you're looking to build muscles.

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Posted Tue, 12/30/2014 - 05:47
gregsamsa

I guess it's because the post is so old, but it appears that the demonstration links are dead. I don't think it's just me, as the demo links on other workouts on this site work just fine (e.g. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-barbell-mass-workout...)

I have been laid out for a long time because of multiple injury & health problems, but now I'm BACK! I'm looking for a dumbell-based workout to fight off the years of atrophy, but I'm not sure of what weight to work with, especially with the sets that go 12,10,10,8. Is that with the same weight? Increasing? Decreasing? What is the best way to determine what weight to start with? If I do 12 to failure, I'm not gonna be able to follow through with 10,10,8 with just a 2 minute rest.

Thanks for posting this regimen, though. This is exactly what I was looking for.

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Posted Fri, 12/12/2014 - 01:58
beingstill

how much weights of dumbbell for each can i have to build muscle
i'm man 28 years old

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Posted Mon, 12/01/2014 - 04:53
andrey

What about abs?Which day should be trained?

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Posted Thu, 11/06/2014 - 13:18
asdfghjklmnop

Hi, I was just wondering which metod is better to do this workout with... is it better to do all sets of one workout with 1 minute of pause in bettween, or to do 1 set of each workout and then repeat?

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Posted Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:20
Johnny Pickles

I am a pretty small guy trying to get into shape. I am 5'10 157lbs. I have been getting a lot of mixed reviews, is working each muscle group once a week going to be enough for a beginner trying to put on weight?

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Posted Fri, 10/17/2014 - 22:03
greg

45 years old. 15 years of inactivity. Recently recovering from rib/chest fracture 7 weeks ago... Wednesday Back/Bicept workout took 30 minutes. Used weight that was easy first few sets but ultimately fatigued the muscles to exhaustion by the end of set. Next day was fine. Thursday, 3 am woke up... couldn't straighten arms +pain. Is this normal for starting resistance training? Should I Lift through the pain, or wait another day until the pain/limited motion subsides?

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Posted Sun, 09/14/2014 - 06:14
LyNeil

i wonder how much calories can we burn with these exercise. does anybody know?

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Posted Thu, 08/21/2014 - 19:11
Bryan Dempsen

I have been doing this routine for 60 days now. I am starting to see results already. I am 40 years old this year and this is my first
Time doing extended weight training. I noticed this is a "beginner" routine. Should I look for something intermediate at some point or stay on this one forever. My goals are to build muscle to burn more at
Rest calories and to look better to woman.

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Posted Wed, 08/06/2014 - 02:56
Mohamed

If I do these exercise . It will help me to build muscle and loss some fat . And how many time it will takree to feel a result . My tall is 177 and my weight is 88 . And I want a program to help me in my eating .

At the end thank you for your help .

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Posted Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:08
Oskars

Greetings!
This is my second week on this workout, and I wanted to ask a question about Day 1. I kinda fail to execute Skullcrusher properly (by fail I mean just cannot push out of me) for more than few reps with weights I can easily fulfill the rep count for Tricep kickback or Dumbbell extension. Am I doing something wrong, or is there a muscle/part of triceps that is radically weaker in my body, that I should pay special attention to?
Thanks.

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Posted Thu, 07/24/2014 - 07:29
Max

Any particular diet for this?

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Posted Mon, 07/14/2014 - 13:06
Michael

Are 10 pound dumbbells a good weight to use with this plan? I am pretty thin and that's all I have in my house.