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
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
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

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

957 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 02/11/2014 - 05:31

wouldn't this be too many reps for mass gain?

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Posted Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:04
Rigoberto Delgado

That's what I think as well. But since I don't have experience on this, I decided to post my question. What would you recommend me. Should I stop doing this extra exercises completely. Or should do this on my spare days.? Thanks.

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Posted Tue, 02/11/2014 - 16:26
Rigoberto Delgado

That's what I think as well. But since I don't have experience on this, I decided to post my question. What would you recommend me. Should I stop doing this extra exercises completely. Or should do this on my spare days.? Thanks.

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Posted Tue, 02/11/2014 - 00:27
Rigoberto Delgado

Hello. I been doing this workout for about 3 months and recently I add some more exercises for the abs. Some sit ups, heel touch and another 2 more exercises. I do all this extra exercises on top of my three workout days. My question is this. Would this extra exercises will affect anything on the musscle growing. Because I don't see my muscles growing. Thanks

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Posted Sun, 02/02/2014 - 11:14

one question, i have been doing these works for a while now and the way i do it is i do the exercises in order then repeat until i have completed the amount of sets. is this the correct way to do it or are you suppose to do the sets of one exercise and then move on to the next one?

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Posted Thu, 01/30/2014 - 20:00

On the leg day, is that reps per leg, or 12 total... so it would be 6 per leg?

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 11:30

I am not very sure how to make the workouts harder to make a good progress. Should I add a set for each exercise every single week or stay with the number of sets and add reps?
Thanks for help.

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2014 - 18:37

Why is the Dumbbell Pullover included in back excercises since its a chest excercise?

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Posted Tue, 01/14/2014 - 14:01

Hi, I just started this workout yesterday, but when I do skullcrushers I get bad stinging pains in my elbows.
Could i replace this excersise with Two Arm Standing Dumbbell Extensions or Bent Over Dumbbell Kickbacks ?

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Posted Sat, 01/11/2014 - 04:52
Michael Robles

In how many days or weeks should I see results doing this workout routine schedule?

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Posted Sat, 01/11/2014 - 03:24

How much weight would you reccomend i start with? I am new to this sort of thing, but i am very physically active.

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:57

Does this work out increase stamina and strength ???

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:33

Does this workout increase the stamina and the strength or only it focuses on increasing muscle mass ???

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Posted Tue, 11/12/2013 - 14:18

How heavy should I start with??

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Posted Thu, 11/07/2013 - 16:56

Hello :)
I have these two questions:

1. With each set of reps, add more weight to the dumbells, or keep the same weight trough the whole workout and then next time (next week)increase the weight?

For example for starters
10 rep of 10 kg, 8 rep of 12,5kg, 6 reps 15kg and last 6 with 17,5kg?

2. with sets with only 12 reps keep the same weight or increase it also?

please let me know :))

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Posted Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:25

Hi Martin,
The answers to these questions were in previous pages from Mr. Steve Shaw.
Before answering to the questions, the basic protocol from Steve is repeated here. Work hard on each set to one repetition from failure. Rest 90-120 seconds between sets. Based on that protocol, USING THE SAME WEIGTH, I usually can get the following repetitions for four sets : 12,10,8,6. The reason that the repetitions keep decreasing is that the muscles are getting more fatigue as time goes on due to short rest. Try it for yourself.

Answer to question 1. Take the example of incline bench press 4 sets 12,10,10,8. If you use the same weight, you may get 12,10,8,6 reps. But since the third set needs to be at 10, you probably need to reduce weight by 10-20% after second set. Personally, I am lazy to change weight, so I would do 12,10,8,6.

Answer to question 2: Chest Fly 3 sets of 12. The only way to maintain constant rep. is do decrease weight after each set about 10-20% (drop set with long rest). But since I am lazy to change weight, I would do 12,10,8.

Answer to question 3. When to add weight. Mr. Shaw says when 12 is reached in the first set. But this would screw up the rep range listed. I would add weight when you can do 14 reps in the first set for two consecutive workout. This is the standard of the National Strength and Conditioning Association protocol. Since you can do 14 in the first set, the reps in the remaining sets also go up to may be 12,10,8 for the second, third and fourth sets, respectively.

Hope this help.

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Posted Wed, 11/06/2013 - 09:36

Is it a good idea for me to take creatin doing this workout or is there any downsides to it?

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Posted Tue, 11/05/2013 - 18:22

Dumb question, but abbs? Where does this work in?

Thanks to anyone who response.

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Posted Thu, 10/24/2013 - 21:29
Mateo Mangubat

How essential are rest days? Because I wanna do this routine everyday with Sunday as my rest day.

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Posted Mon, 10/21/2013 - 06:01

Hi,does it matter which order i do the sets? Like 8,10,10,12 instead of 12,10,10,8 or even 8,12,10,10...I find that it will be easier to increase the weight if i use the heavier weight on the lower reps first..Thanks

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2013 - 06:36

I am 56 yrs old, am 27.5% body fat @ 243lbs; I would like to gain muscle physique and loose body fat. Do you have any recommended diet programs to use while performing this routine?
I take creatine and glutamine and use Met-Rx meal supplements.
I have used this routine successfully 12 yrs ago (lost 60 lbs) now after going through cancer it is time to get back after it.

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Posted Mon, 10/07/2013 - 20:27

I'm going to Start this today. I would Say i am an intermediate lifter. I kinda just fell off working out for a few months. New job with a rotating schedule messed me all up. I'm an active person. I have 2 year old so the gym is hard to get to when i need to being that i work such weird hours. I have everything i need but i was wondering if it would be bad to run on the rest 3 days a week. I usually go about 45 mins at a time when I run. So guess my week routine would be mon wed fri lifting, then tue thur sat, would be cardio and an ab workout thrown in there somewhere. Any suggestions or concerns?

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Posted Fri, 09/27/2013 - 14:26

I have three questions. 1) I want to switch to this workout from a fullbody workout program, i'm a beginner would this be an effective replacement . 2) I have to workout at home for while and all have are 50 kg dumbells can still make gains. 3) Can i add bodyweight exercises to this like pushups on monday and wall squats on friday

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Posted Tue, 09/17/2013 - 17:49

Hi, I am fifteen and have been thinking whether it would be better to swap the biceps curls for alternate ones. Would it be better? Also i would like to ask whether I should eat straight after this workout or wait for a while?

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Posted Wed, 09/11/2013 - 09:29

I notice there are no abb exercises here. Could they be done on tues thur sat or will that muck up the rest day idea?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 11:22

Is it ok if i go swimming for like 30mins between training days??

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Posted Sun, 09/01/2013 - 03:50

What's a skull crusher exercise

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Posted Wed, 08/28/2013 - 19:58
Nick S

Hey Steve,

I recently finished p90x and want to build mass now. I have dumbbells, push-up bars, and a pull-up bar. I'm willing to buy a barbell with weights as well if needed. What is the best program you can refer me to in order to get the most gains? I don't mind a 5-6 day a week workout plan.

Thanks a ton in advance!

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Posted Sat, 08/24/2013 - 19:50

This looks like a great program and I thinking about using for bulking. Should I consume a caloric surplus needed for gaining mass, and should I eat as much as I would if were doing a 5 day split?

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Posted Mon, 08/19/2013 - 15:52

Hey Steve, whats the dumbbell skullcrusher look like? The video is of the E-Z bar, but i was assuming that it would look much like the pullover movement...

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Posted Mon, 08/12/2013 - 07:40

I'm new to working out. I use to do it back in high school. But I'm graduated now
And I was wondering like is there and prewar louts I need to do before starting something like this?
And if there are any supplements I can take to get "ripped" faster. I already have a athletic body build.
But was just wondering what would speed up the process and what all can help.

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Posted Mon, 08/12/2013 - 04:41

Any reason why shoulders are done last on Fridays? Can I do it first?

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Posted Fri, 08/09/2013 - 16:07

if I dont have time to do 2 areas in 1 day can i split them up, chest Mon/ tris Tue/ back Wed/ Bis Thurs/ legs Fri/ shoulders Sat? or should i separate them differently? Since back and Bis are usually worked in tandem should i separate them in the 1 area a day plan? Like mon- Sat chest, back, legs, tris, bis, shoulders

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Posted Tue, 01/07/2014 - 06:10
Lew Read

Did you ever get a responce re this?

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Posted Wed, 08/07/2013 - 14:17

Hi everybody,

This routine looks promising, my only problem is that until December I'll be able to train only twice a week. Do you think that it's possible to someway adapt this routine, or it would be simply better to follow a routine like Steve's 2-day program (
Maybe that would be the obvious answer, but Frankoman's program looks interesting because it requires only dumbbells and so it would be possible for me to train also at home.

Thanks a lot for your tips!

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Posted Sun, 08/04/2013 - 00:27

I'm new to building muscle mass. I started this on friday, haven't been able to walk today(saturday)

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Posted Fri, 08/02/2013 - 08:30

Hi Steve... i like this routine but i wanna ask do i need to take any supplement with this workout to build muscles fast! if yes then which one you recommend..! And as this routine is for beginners so how many days it will take to reach to intermediate level?

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Posted Sat, 07/27/2013 - 14:05

I have found this work out very helpful and interesting since I wanted to train at home with just dumbbells, but my only problem is I don't have the bar for the Dumbbell Skullcrusher and don't wish to buy one at the moment, what work out can I do to replace it, or should I add a set to the other exercises? and one last thing can I add 2 sets of abs workouts with Decline Oblique Crunch ?

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Posted Fri, 07/26/2013 - 19:07

This program looks AMAZING: but dude's form in the videos is...not good. In the videos, the person uses the front of his neck to lift during each exercise; you can see this because the back of the neck collapses as the chin juts out. This means the weight is too high and small accessory muscles are strained.

The form looks particularly dangerous (and painful!) in the Bent Over Row video; the turned up chin causes the back to sway... and no one should EVER lift from a sway-back position. Especially with the heavy weights...and repetition. Think of a looong neutral spine instead, slightly tuck the chin, and the pelvis, keeping the neck long and relaxed.

To fix your form, drop your training weights; then come back up practicing proper form. And actually, with proper form, you'll ultimately lift stronger.

Thank you for the program! I'm supplementing this for the gym at the hotel this week!

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Posted Fri, 07/05/2013 - 12:46

How come dumbell pull over is on back day when it works your chest as the primary muscle?

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Posted Mon, 07/08/2013 - 21:28

There are two types of dumbbell pull overs. The back one is arms fully extended with focus on pulling with muscles in upper back. A chest pull over involves arms bent focusing on pulling from the upper chest. FYI the range of motion on the chest one is sub par to a rack pull from what I've read but, in the context of a home work out quite effective (I include in mine atm).

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Posted Tue, 07/02/2013 - 14:22

pullower is chest movement ?

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2013 - 18:40

Hi i just wanna know i have fat around stomach do i have to add some other exercises..

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Posted Tue, 07/02/2013 - 17:04

Not necessarily. If you're looking to lose the fat, you'll need to have a good idea of what your daily calorie needs are. Here's a handy tool that will give you a pretty good idea of what you should be shooting for:

Include any workout routine you plan on following in the activity level. The number generated will need to be adjusted for your goals. For example, since you're looking to cut fat, you'll want to subtract around 350 calories from the number. You may need to adjust depending on the results you get.

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Posted Sat, 06/29/2013 - 02:48

I am currently 6'0 feet tall, 140 lbs and 15 years old. I am looking to gain muscle over a short period of time. (Two months) I was wondering would this be a good way to start? I have dumbbells but I currently do not have a bench. I am not sure if I should go to the gym, or do this first. If anyone has any advice, it would be appreciated.


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Posted Sun, 06/23/2013 - 14:02

Does this workout burn fat as well?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Mon, 06/24/2013 - 17:30

Certainly! It fat loss and muscle gain are largely dictated by your diet. You'll want to consume fewer calories than you burn in a given day to lose the unwanted fat. Here's a hand tool that can help you dial in your diet:

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Posted Fri, 06/21/2013 - 03:50

Is it important that the leg day be the last one for the week? A lot of splits seem to be set up this way.

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Posted Thu, 06/20/2013 - 11:21

should i rest less to burn more fat??

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Posted Wed, 06/19/2013 - 00:15

Why is dumbbell pullover on back and bicep day? I've always used that as a chest exercise?

Thanks for your answer seems like something I'm gonna try because I'm trying to cut bills and save my gym membership!