Dumbbell Only Workout: 3 Day Full Body Dumbbell Workout

Dumbbell Only Workout: 3 Day Full Body Dumbbell Workout
This workout program only requires dumbbells, has just the right amount of volume to promote muscle growth, and is perfect to do at home or on the go.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
8 weeks
3
25-30 minutes
Dumbbells
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

The following workout is designed for those who only have access to a set of dumbbells.

It’s perfect for those who work out at home, travel and are on the road a lot, or beginners who are new to weight lifting.

It can be performed as a complete workout program for up to 8 weeks. At that point you may want to consider increasing the volume of the workouts or change up your routine to include more of a variety of equipment.

This program calls for you to work out 3 times a week. Since these workouts are full body workouts, it is best to have a rest day in between your work out days.

For example, you could perform this program on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This will give your body enough rest to recover in between workouts.

Be sure to track your rest periods during your workouts. The rest time in between sets for this program should be between 30-60 seconds.

Feel free to add cardio and ab specific training as you see fit. I’d recommend HIIT after your workouts on your work out days and a lower intensity form of cardio on your off/recovery days.

If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to ask in the comments section below!

After you've finished this workout program, move on to this 4 day dumbbell only workout program.

Day 1
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Squat 3 10
2. Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 10
3. Bent Over Dumbbell Row 3 10
4. Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10
5. Lateral Raises 2 8
6. Standing Dumbbell Curl 2 8
7. Lying Dumbbell Extension 2 8
Day 2
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Lunge 3 10
2. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl 3 10
3. Dumbbell Deadlift 3 10
4. Dumbbell Military Press 3 10
5. Dumbbell Flys 2 8
6. Hammer Curl 2 8
7. Seated Dumbbell Extension 2 8
Day 3
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Step Up 3 10
2. Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 10
3. One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 10
4. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Press 3 10
5. Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly 2 8
6. Zottman Curl 2 8
7. Close Grip Dumbbell Press 2 8

Post your post-workout swolfies in M&S gear on IG and tag @muscleandstrength, #muscleandstrength, or DM them to us to get a shoutout on Muscle & Strength stories!

334 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/15/2019 - 09:30
Christian

Hi Josh,

I’m likely going to start your program next week after I finish this week’s workout. What’s your recommendation for increasing weights during the program? My big worry is that I won’t be increasing weights as often as I should and that I’ll see little increase in muscle mass.

I’ve seen some recommend every other week, while others say to modify the reps to have a min-max and increasing once you hit the max reps. What’s your take on how offen you should increase and how much you should increase by?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:24
JoshEngland

Hi Christian,

It really depends on the number of dumbbells you have access to. If you have plenty of heavier dumbbells, you can increase once you're able to accomplish each set with ideal form easily. For some this might be weekly, for others bi-weekly, for others once per month.

If you have limited dumbbells to use, I'd recommend setting aside funds for new dumbbells and trying to increase monthly.

So long as you are increasing weight and getting better over time, it doesn't necessarily matter how fast or slow you get there.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/15/2019 - 02:55
zaher

Hello
can i build muscle with the 3 day dumbbell workout at home, if i didn't add special protein diet to my life(i dont like chemicals), i mean with the normal food i used to eat at home? (by the way i don't eat fast food, i eat only at home as natural food as possible)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:25
JoshEngland

Hi Zaher,

Sure, you can build your muscles with this program not using chemicals with this program. Simply eat in a calorie surplus with efficient protein.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:45
WJ

I'm a male over 50 and just starting to work out. I'm not unhealthy, but my goal is not to be super-buff either. I just want to be able to function through my later years. Maybe I'll get buff anyway with this routine(?) Anyway, I want to keep things simple - can I adopt this three-day routine and just stay with it instead of progressing to the four-day routine? I'm someone who likes routine and not interested changing things around. Also, will this routine address my core muscles?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:29
JoshEngland

Hi Wj,

Lol - maybe you will! :)

This program is great for all ages and perfect for someone with your goals. You don't have to progress to the four days. You can stay at 3 and be able to build/maintain functional strength as you go through life.

This program will indirectly target the core, but if you'd like to build additional core strength, I'd recommend adding in a core movement each day. You may want to look into the following exercises: planks, deadbugs, and ab wheel rollouts (you'd need to purchase an ab wheel). Simply add in 3 sets of any of those to your program and you'll gain the ore stability needed to maintain core strength throughout life.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:57
Nathan

How much muscle should i expect to gain with this program

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:24
Hitesh Khanna

Can i have muscle with this workout and 100 protein diet.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:51
JoshEngland

Hi Hitesh,

Yes, you can build muscle with this program. 100g of protein in your diet may or may not be enough. There is not enough information to answer this question.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 02:12
David Wood

Morning,

Is it possible to do this routine without a bench and if so - how do I do the more bench oreintated moves? I just dont have the space for a bench at the moment.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 16:41
JoshEngland

Hi David,

It would be difficult. You could manage to do a lot of the movements from the floor or substitute movements based on the equipment you do have.

We'll look to add more at-home programs with limited equipment and calisthenic programs in the future.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/10/2019 - 14:56
Jeremy

My wife and I just finished up 8 weeks of this yesterday. Combined with the lose it app to track calories I've lost 22 pounds and she's lost 10. We do goblet squats and calf raises instead of lunges and step ups for now because it's easier on our knees being overweight. We've also more than doubled the weight of the dumbbells we started with on most of the exercises. Going to give it another 8 weeks and go from there. Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 16:33
JoshEngland

Hi Jeremy,

Too AWESOME! Congratulations to the both of you and I'm proud to hear you were able to modify the program to better fit your individual needs. Best of luck in the 8 weeks to come!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/09/2019 - 17:06
Anhel

1st week doing the program. Good overall, but I can't help but feel like my calves are missing out on the action. Every other body part had been sore except for that one. Is there an exercise that I'm not doing correctly?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/13/2019 - 16:32
JoshEngland

Hi Anhel,

You can add in additional calf work if you wish. However, it is not necessary.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:55
Crystal Blackmore

My last comment in here got messed up....back to what im trying to figure out. I was on your 4 day split program for 4 months. Then went to the 5 day. Noticed im rapidly loosing weight. Which im trying to gain. I know calories have alot to do with it. I wasnt eating enough to support my training days. So im trying to start over. And i cant decide if i should begin with the 3 day full body or go back to the 4 day split. Im 5'3. 116.2 lbs. My goal is 135 to 140. Im trying to figure out the best way to get there. Thanks for any advice. :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/30/2019 - 16:14
JoshEngland

Hi Crystal,

Sorry to hear that! Personally, I think going with the 3 day Full Body and working cycling between 3,4, and 6 day would be most beneficial for your goals. If I remember correctly, the 5 day program is more of a body part split - And you may respond better to hitting the muscles multiple times per week.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/01/2019 - 08:06
Crystal Blackmore

Thank you so much! I was seeing the most results when I was on the 4 day upper/lower split. I really like the idea of cycling thru all three. :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/27/2019 - 18:38
Jenn

I've done this workout for 10 weeks and it's going great! If I keep doing the 3 day workout versus going to the 4 day, do I just add weight or should I and an extra set or ultimately both? I noticed the 4 day workouts have 4 and 3 sets of the exercises versus 3 and 2 like the 3 day workouts.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/30/2019 - 16:16
JoshEngland

Hi Jenn,

That is so awesome! Congrats on your progress so far! Sure, you can do that. I'd recommend adding weight first and to keep increasing weight until you can longer do so. Then add sets :)

Best of luck!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/25/2019 - 06:01
VIJAY HARIBHAU ...

can we do alternate day workout. i.e. mon-wed-fri-sun

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/25/2019 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Vijay,

Sure, you can do that.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/20/2019 - 14:52
Adam Hill

Do you have to follow the workout in an order - like do 1 to 7 in that order - or can you do anything? Because I like doing bench presses first as I lift alone and scared of getting fatigue so like to do that at the start

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:44
JoshEngland

Hi Adam,

You can switch up the workout order if you wish.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 12:19
Kevin Lezan

Hello and thanks. Love the 3 day workout!!!!
Q: I’m looking for a 3 day workout that is built to take up to 60 minutes like your other programs. Is this something you have or would consider building???
Thank again keep up the great work!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:21
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for the recommendation. I'll see what I can put together in the future.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 15:53
Scott

How do you identify how much weight to use for a beginner?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 09:25
JoshEngland

Hi Scott,

Pick a weight you think you can use for the prescribed reps. If too heavy, move down. If too light, move up. You should finish each set feeling as though you have 1-2 reps left in the tank. A good rule of thumb is 75-85% of your working max for the prescribed rep ranges.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/02/2019 - 15:04
zaher

Hello
thanks for the information. i just have one question please:
the 3 Day Full Body dumbbell workout, period is 8 weeks, my question is can i just keep exercising this workout all the time?, i.e . like for ever (with adjusting the weights of course according to my tolerance..)
regards

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:27
JoshEngland

Hi Zaher,

Yes! You can absolutely do that and see great long-term progress.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 03/31/2019 - 19:45
Tsering Wangyal...

Hi. I respect you so much. Do you recommend full body only dumbbell workouts or targeted body parts dumbbell only workouts for beginners?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:15
JoshEngland

Hi Tsering,

Thank you - that's awfully kind of you to say. I recommend full body workouts for beginners.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 03/30/2019 - 09:02
krishna

i am 13 year old i have tried this workout today and i am feeling very little activation in my whole body. can i gain muscles at this age ? will it be safe i am using 2 .5 kg dumbells. pls answer

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:24
JoshEngland

Hi Krishna,

Give this article a read. It should point you in the right direction for weight training as a teen: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/teenage-bodybuilding

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 03/25/2019 - 07:10
Richard

Hi Josh my name is Richard I was wondering is it better to workout some people tell me in the mornings before you go to work and others say after work what do you think

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/25/2019 - 09:46
JoshEngland

Hi Richard,

Whatever time will allow you to be the most consistent is the best time to workout.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/21/2019 - 00:17
Nikhil

Hi Josh,
Can I do this routine for fat loss? I need to reduce 12-14 kgs. I am a beginner and lifting not much heavy weight, getting myself paced up though.
Please advice.
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/25/2019 - 10:03
JoshEngland

Hi Nikhil,

Absolutely! Fat loss will be highly based on your diet program used with the program. That said, this workout will certainly help aid in your fat loss efforts.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 03/25/2019 - 23:51
Nikhil

Thanks Josh!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 03/19/2019 - 21:32
Alex

I'm a skinny guy with belly fat. I'd like to lose my belly fat but still gain muscle and look great as well. If I do cardio on my off days to help me burn my belly fat, would that hinder my muscle gains, or should I be okay to keep doing cardio on my off days? Thanks!!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:40
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

You can do cardio on your off days for sure. What will help you most in your fat loss efforts is eating in a calorie deficit consistently while resistance training and consuming enough protein to preserve muscle mass.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 03/19/2019 - 14:23
Niko

Hi Josh
I barely discovered these workouts and I think they are perfect for me.
It is ok if I do the 4 days program as a cutting routine and the 3 days program, 5 days program and 6 days program as bulking? I will still see good results? If my idea is not good, can you recommend me another strategy for bulking/cutting with these routines?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:44
JoshEngland

Hi Nikko,

Sure, you can use these programs in that way. Bulking and cutting will be more so determined by your calorie intake.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 03/18/2019 - 00:08
Clete

I use PowerBlocks instead of traditional dumbells. The one lift I am having trouble with is the Hamstring curl because of the construction of the PowerBlock. What could I substitute? The equipment I have is PowerBlocks and a bench.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/18/2019 - 09:24
JoshEngland

Hi Clete,

I'd either recommend lying bodyweight leg curls if you have hardwood floors somewhere - simply wear socks and bring your feet in towards your butt. If not, any deadlift variation will do the trick.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/14/2019 - 09:42
Jeremy Davis

What would you recommend for someone obese starting this workout as far as protein supplements? One gram per pound of body weight seems impossible. Also how should I approach squats and such with knee issues because of weight? Less sets, less reps, or maybe just body weight to start?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/07/2019 - 12:02
Edgardo

Hi Josh,
Can you advise what kind of HIIT and rest intervals you'd recommend post-workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:48
JoshEngland

Hi Edgardo,

I'd recommend starting 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 8 minutes. As time goes on, you can increase the duration of the cardio session to up to ~20 minutes. Personally, I like to use a bike or rower.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 03/05/2019 - 14:21
Jay

I notice each day is starting with legs. Wouldn't it negatively affect the rest of the routine since your legs are fatigued? Would you recommend changing the order of the exercises and putting legs last?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/06/2019 - 10:40
JoshEngland

Hi Jay,

I don't see that being an issue, but sure- you can reorder the exercises if you wish.