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

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.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

3 Day Full Body Dumbbell Workout

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!

Posted on: Sat, 09/24/2022 - 15:54

I do not have access to a table/bench conducive to the dumbbell bench press. Do you have any suggestions? For now I have am substituting the dumbbell floor press, but I am pretty sure that isn't hitting chest the way the bench press would. thoughts?

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Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:04

Corny tip, but it worked for me until I got a bench.

Fold up blankets or towels and lie on top of them. It will increase the range of motion just enough that you will feel the chest more.

Posted on: Fri, 09/16/2022 - 17:54

If I'm not really careful, a regular dumbbell bench press will tear up my shoulders (bicep tendons, I think). Is this reverse press a safer option? Thanks!

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Posted on: Thu, 09/22/2022 - 16:50

If you're not sure of the reason for feeling uncomfortable doing the regular db press, see a doctor so you know for sure. Hard to recommend something else when the issue you're facing isn't established.

Posted on: Fri, 09/16/2022 - 00:12

I am not a beginner so i can increase volume for this schedule to a build muscle

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Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:24

I would suggest either training heavier or finding another program instead of adding sets.

Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 18:14

Does this also work out your abs

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Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:23

No direct ab work, but you can do this one alongside this program.

Patrick Murphy
Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 11:14

Silly question, the 10 reps for lunges, assume that’s 10 each leg?

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Posted on: Mon, 09/19/2022 - 08:23


Josh Albertson
Posted on: Tue, 09/13/2022 - 14:28

How will I know how much weight to start with for each rep when beginning this program? Do I find my max and then do a certain percentage of it each rep or what do you recommend?

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Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:02

I would say to start light, and work up until you find something challenging for you, Josh. Percentages could work as well, but it isn't necessary on this program. As long as whatever the weight you use forces you to work, but you can still complete all reps with good form, it will work.

Posted on: Mon, 09/12/2022 - 17:38

How old can teenagers start working out? Can they do this training?

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Posted on: Mon, 09/19/2022 - 08:24

Teenagers can use this program, Eddie. Even as young as 13 so long as their parents or coach is working with them.

Posted on: Mon, 09/12/2022 - 12:58

Hi - should I do each exercise the required number of sets and then move on? Or do once and then move on, and once all complete start at the beginning? Or doesn’t it make any difference?

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Posted on: Mon, 09/19/2022 - 08:26

You can do it either way, Philip. It was designed for you to do each exercises for all sets, then move on. But, circuits where you do them all in a row works too.

Posted on: Mon, 09/12/2022 - 12:47

Hi - what weight would you recommend for this programme.

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Posted on: Mon, 09/19/2022 - 08:23

That depends on how strong you are. If you have the weights that allow you to train heavy for your strength level, go for it. If not, do reps slower to make the sets more challenging.

Posted on: Fri, 09/09/2022 - 10:48

Hi, i’ve just started working out and i’ve done all 3 days, but i need longer recovery so doing 3 days a week is too much for me, im 21, 60kg, not very strong. So i figured that i workout 2 days a week instead of 3, on tuesday and friday. Is it ok if i only do the day 1 exercises on tuesday, and the day 2 exercises on friday, and keep it like this and don’t do the day 3 exercises? I liked the day 1 and day 2 exercises more then day 3.

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Posted on: Sun, 09/18/2022 - 10:46

Hey Martin, two days is ok starting out, but eventually your body will need that extra stimulus from the third day.

During those two days, I suggest just alternating all three workouts. For example: Tuesday - Day 1, Friday - Day 2, next Tuesday - Day 3, next Friday, Day 1, and so on. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2022 - 12:33

Can I goblet Squat instead of dumbell Squat? Would this change the muscles that are worked?

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Posted on: Sun, 09/18/2022 - 10:37

That is perfectly fine, Taylor. Because of the way you hold the dumbbell on the goblet squat, your core will be more engaged. That may be the only real significant difference.

Giang Nguyen-Le
Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2022 - 02:43

Would it be ok if I keep the same weight for 3 sets, or start with 50%, then 60% and finally 85% RM?

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Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 20:52

Either way works, Giang. If you need to get stronger, go with 50, 60, 85.

Posted on: Wed, 08/31/2022 - 07:45

Is it okay if i do the first workout on tuesday then do the second on wednesday and lastly the third one one saturday?
Because I have basketball games at friday and training at monday. If not do you have any recommendations on what I can do?

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Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 20:30

That schedule is fine, Brayden. Let us know how the workout helps you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:08

Will this 8week plan help for Hardgainers?

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Posted on: Tue, 08/30/2022 - 09:15

If you're a beginner and you only have access to dumbbells, then yes, it can help you starting out. You may have to upgrade to a more intense program after a couple of months. Thanks for reading M&S, Dave!

Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2022 - 08:43

Great workout for an old 57 year old man who’s trying to get back into some sort of shape! Had to make 2 mods because a couple of the exercises were making my bones snap crackle and pop but other than that it’s been challenging and most importantly I’m seeing results!! Thanks!!

Posted on: Sun, 09/04/2022 - 14:21

Don't worry man, I'm 19 and my bones snap crackle and pop too. All those online objectives such as social media and gaming... Glad to hear you're working on your body even though you're a bit older, it doesn't really matter keep going man! I believe in you!

Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 14:43

Hey Tobias, thanks for the reply …. That really means a lot!! 19 years old … stick with it. The old saying use it or lose it is a real thing. Takes me A LOT longer to see results the older I get. Take care and best of luck!!

Posted on: Mon, 08/22/2022 - 22:16

Hello, i would like to ask how necessary are supplements you recommend if i am seeking to build muscle? Especially protein. I have zero experience using them. I have no idea how to figure out things like how much to take, if i should take it before or after the workout, et cetera. On top of that, since i am a beginner i feel like im rushing if i use it since day one. Sorry if this is a too basic question!

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Posted on: Tue, 08/23/2022 - 08:48

This is why we're here, Henry. As long as you can definitely eat enough food and are able to recover properly, then supplements aren't necessary. They "supplement" your diet and training, which are more important. If you want to take protein powder for convenience, take it anytime of the day you need a meal, but can't prepare one at that moment. They are also great post-workout. Everything else can help your cause, but they aren't necessary.

Posted on: Sat, 08/20/2022 - 18:24

What cardio program can i use after this?

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Posted on: Sun, 08/21/2022 - 08:04

If you're focused on building muscle, then do steady state cardio for 15-20 minutes after you train. If you're focused on fat loss, do steady state for 15-20 first thing in the morning, then do a 15 minute HIIT session after you train. It can be alternating 30 second high efforts with 60 second moderate effort.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 08/21/2022 - 08:39

Link to the cardio program? Musle building

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Posted on: Mon, 08/22/2022 - 07:05

I came up with that off the top of my head. There is no article for that workout. If you want to choose a structured cardio program, you can do so from here.

Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 11:53

Can you send me a link to the steady state cardio i can do after the workout? There is so many to choose from that i can’t decide

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Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 20:39

We have many HIIT workouts, but I don't know of too many specific steady state or LISS workouts we have, Martin. I can tell you that when it comes to steady state, I found the elliptical works best - especially if the handles move as well as the pedals.

Give yourself two or three minutes to warm up, then simply maintain 60% effort for 20-30 minutes, depending on how much time you have.

Posted on: Mon, 08/15/2022 - 21:45

Into week 3 of this program and already seeing some great results.

With minimal diet adjustment, I've lost 2kg so far, and additionally replaced around 600g of fat with muscle (if an impedance scale is to be trusted, but the shift in mass from my gut to my chest, shoulders and arms is quite visible already).

Thanks for the great program guys! Looking forward to 'graduating' to the 4-day.

Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2022 - 02:06

So I have been working out at my local Civic Center over the Summer, but now it’s time for me to return to grad school, and I am considering switching to this program to continue my progress from my apartment (can’t really afford the decent local gyms). I currently have a set of 50lbs adjustable dumbbells that I plan to use; however I can already do over 50lbs for some of the exercises listed.

Is there an alternative way for me to build muscle without increasing my weight for these exercises? If so, what would you recommend?

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Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 09:58

Slower reps, pauses, and extra long contractions of the muscles, Blake. You can flex in between sets to make them work harder also.

Posted on: Sun, 08/07/2022 - 17:51

Hey thanks for all this free amazing advise. I’m a guy who wants to change my living style and wanna do simple stuff with dumbbells at home. Your workout plan is super easy and everything mentioned has been demonstrated as well. Thanks Buddy appreciate ya truly!

Posted on: Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:26

Hi, I would like to ask if it is advisable to choose one workout one muscle group as stated here, instead of doing 3. (For example, doing dumbbell step up for quads training instead of dumbbell squat?) Reason being, I still have some mild pain due to a prior leg injury, and I can't do a proper squat without needing a support.

Or, may I humbly ask if you have a suggestion for a dumbbell full body workout that takes into consideration of a recovering/strengthening leg? Thank you!

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Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2022 - 08:45

First and foremost, Henry, talk to your doctor about the injury. Whatever the medical professional says overrides me as a random guy on the internet.

That said, if you get cleared by your doc to train, then do what you need to do to train safely with minimal (preferably no) pain.

Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 22:29

Is it ok when working out for the first time to do 2 times a week for a month instead? And after a month when my body has gotten more used to it i can do 3 days a week

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Posted on: Mon, 08/01/2022 - 10:25

You can go twice a week if you want, Martin, but you may not notice the best results as you would by doing three. That's up to you, though.

Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 10:46

Which one would yall say is more suited for a real skinny 21-year old (5'7", 125 pounds)?

This 3 day plan, or the 4 day plan?

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Posted on: Mon, 08/01/2022 - 10:24

Depends on how experienced you are, David. If you're brand new to training, the 3 day will work great. If you're used to training by this point, go with the four day plan.

Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 06:45

Hi. Can i use double progression with this? Like, start with 8 reps, and for each week add 1 more rep unntil i reach 12 reps. And at 12 reps i increase the weight by 2 kg and i start over at 8 reps again and keep it going like this?