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 Sat, 09/09/2017 - 11:08

Is it time to increase weight once you can complete all the reps in each set? Or should you increase weight as early as the first set if you can complete all the reps? I guess my general question is how to approach weight progression.

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Posted Thu, 08/17/2017 - 18:00

I apologize if this was asked already in the other comments but how much rest should there be in between each of these sets/exercises? 30 seconds, 60? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:59

Hi Steve,

Yes, that is correct. Rest should be kept between 30-60 seconds for these rep ranges. I tend to think of the 45 sec mark as the sweet spot :)

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 05:40

Why the dumbell bent over rows and the dumbell one armed rows. What's the Difference?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:26

Hi Meeeee,

1. To add more volume.
2. Unilateral vs bilateral movement. With unilateral movements you can put more focus on the muscle of the side of your body you are working.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 05/29/2017 - 20:45

I'm 17 and only weigh about 140, but I've lifted weights before. However, I had a shoulder injury that kept me out for a few months. What would be a good weight to start with on the first set if I want to increase weight once the number of reps decreases? I don't want to start with a weight too heavy or I won't be able to do 3-4 sets.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/30/2017 - 10:04

Hi DB3,

The answer to this question is going to be highly individualized and I'm not sure someone will be able to provide you an answer over the internet.

Since you are coming off an injury and are unsure about certain aspects of lifting, I'd recommend seeking out the advice of a professional at your gym. By seeing you in person, they'll be able to provide a safer recommendation than someone could blindly do so over the internet.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/25/2017 - 15:51

So...I have been doing this for a while and like it, comapred to other splits this is low increase further (with only dumbbells) should I do:

mondays: chest/tri
tuesdays: back/bis
wed: legs/shoulder
thurds: chest/tri
friday: back/bis
sat: legs
sun: rest

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/26/2017 - 09:31

Hi Oliver,

Sure that is one way to make a progression with this workout. You can also start off by adding slightly more volume by increasing the number of sets you do per exercise, number of reps you do per set, or even number of exercises you do with dumbbells in each workout day. If you don't want to increase volume at all you could even increase the amount of weight you use per exercise.

Jumping from 3 days a week to 6 days a week is not only a drastic increase in volume, but requires a lot of time commitment. Personally, I like to take a minimalist approach to fitness, get the most out of doing less in terms of volume. That's why I recommend one of the minor changes listed above.

Smaller changes over time will yield better and consistent results.

Hope this helps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How long should this take per day?

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

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

Is 15 pounds ok for me ? I'm 14

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

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

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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?