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

1K Comment+ Post Comment

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

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

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

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

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:

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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

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:

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

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

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

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

Can I workout Sunday-Tuesday-Friday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

What about abs?Which day should be trained?

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

Any particular diet for this?

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

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.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 07/14/2014 - 13:28

No Michael. You will need progressive resistance, or the addition of weight over time, to maximize this program.

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Posted Mon, 07/14/2014 - 13:33

Ok I understand. Is that a weight I can start at though?

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Posted Fri, 07/04/2014 - 10:39

The number of reps and sets seems a bit high. Does it mean I have to use low weight in order to complete all sets and reps?

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Posted Fri, 07/04/2014 - 10:24

You have included a dumbbell pullover exercise on Wednesday for the back. I think this exercise is for the chest ...or not?

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Posted Tue, 06/17/2014 - 10:47

How many weeks should i do this. Dont want my body getting used to this routine. Thanks email me back if you can

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Posted Mon, 04/28/2014 - 01:56
Derek Yew

I noticed that legs and shoulders share the same day, and I've seen video suggesting that legs should be on a day of its own. What are your thoughts on that?

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Posted Fri, 04/25/2014 - 10:25
Josephine Jones

Hello! I had a random question: is each set 12,10,10,8 (etc) a bulgarian or is it more one set is 12 reps, 2 10, etc adding weight? Thank you!

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Posted Mon, 04/14/2014 - 16:22

I don't have a bench at home, could I use a physio-ball to also stimulate my core? If so, How do I adapt inclined exercises?

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Posted Sat, 04/12/2014 - 07:49


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Posted Wed, 04/09/2014 - 19:55

Question about the chest and bicep sequence of exercises. Is there a reason for doing inclined exercises first? I was under the impression your first exercise should be your heaviest and target the largest part of the muscle? Or is it designed to have incline first?

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Posted Mon, 04/07/2014 - 19:15

Do I do these exercises in the order listed as far as reps go. Like...all the incline dumbbell bench presses (12,10,10,8) then move along to the dumbbell bench press (12,10,10 8) and so forth? Or do I do one rep per exercise : Incline 12 Dumbbell 12 Flys 12 then go back to Incline 10 and so forth. Mayb a dumb question..but i'd like to know. Thanks

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Posted Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:00
Darin Clements

Tricep kickback is a horrible suggestion. It's a useless move that is limited by the light weights used. Better to use a close grip DB press, instead. More weight moved=more muscle.

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Posted Wed, 03/26/2014 - 06:11

How do I know what names are what exercises?? Mick.

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Posted Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:43
Robin P

Can i add dips for tricep day and chins for the back day?

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Posted Thu, 03/06/2014 - 04:49
Can Aydiner

Couldn't figure out why there is a chest exercise (Dumbbell Pullover) on the second day which is a back day? Any recommendations on what it could be replaced with?

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Posted Tue, 02/25/2014 - 15:55

How can i substitute the incline dumbell bench press because i have no adjustable bench.
And can i use this while cutting?

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Posted Fri, 02/21/2014 - 11:26

I don't have an incline bench...what can I sub for incline bench press, and incline bicep curls? Also can I sub barbell for dumbbell on some exercises?

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Posted Wed, 02/12/2014 - 16:19

is it ok if add some abs exercises to this workout for Monday, Wednesday, Friday. also should I do them before or after this Workout.
Lying Floor Leg Raise 3 set 12 rep
Dumbbell side bends 3 set 12 rep
sit ups 3 set 35,25,15
touch heels 3 set 12 rep.
also would this affect muscle growing.?