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!

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

Finished this workout? Try the 4 Day Dumbbell Upper/Lower Workout

169 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 08/18/2018 - 00:48
Maxi

Hi can i exercise more than 8 week or it is better this way?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:01
JoshEngland

Hi Maxi,

You can use this program for longer than 8 weeks if you wish. Or you can progress to the 4 day dumbbell workout listed at the bottom of the article.

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Posted Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:06
Patrick

Could I start over day 1 exercises on day 5, day 2 on day 7 etc and just keep working out every other day? I feel like I would feel more productive this way? Let me know what you think, thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 15:01
JoshEngland

Hi Patrick,

Sure you can absolutely do that.

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 11:31
Nikhil

Hi Josh! What should be the weight of the dumbbells?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:06
JoshEngland

Hi Nikhil,

Depends on your strength and amount of pairs of dumbbells you have access to. You want each exercise to be challenging, but you should finish each set feeling as though you have one more rep left in the tank.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 08/05/2018 - 08:42
Dennis hobbelen

Hi josh,

I have just read your article and it look very promising, but i have some questions.

Since i have a busy life (wife, 3 kids, work) 1 started to do a 2 day ful workout, today i first grapped the dumbels for my biceps (doing machines now for 4 weeks) and noticed that i can pul 10 kg on one hand but on the machine 27 with both.

So i wanted to use your schedule for a 2 day full workout, is that posiible ? I don't have to be a body builder (altough i don't mind) but in combination With my new diet (1800 calories a day) to go from 97 kg to 77 kg and build up muscle (lose the belley fat).

Again i am no builder, a body like jason statham would be more theb enough for me :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi Dennis,

Sure, you can obtain solid results by performing full body workouts twice a week if that better fits your schedule.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 13:13
Dennis hobbelen

Hi josh,

Great i will start wednesday with this all dumbell excersise,

But on small question, if i want to make a 2 day workout of your 3 day schedule what is your advice ? Or do i need to pay for a fee for a 2 day dumble schedule ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:04
JoshEngland

Hi Dennis,

You can simply alternate between the 3 workouts listed during the 2 days you work out each week.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 15:26
Dennis hobbelen

Thnx josh, i will keep you posted of my progress if you want to, thank you very much

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Posted Sat, 08/04/2018 - 21:27
Paulo

Hello, Josh. Thanks for the program. I'll definitely be starting it on Monday. Josh, I wonder if, as I aim to develop an aesthetic chest, I should consider adding (or replacing an exercise with) the Incline Dumbbell Press to target more the "upper chest". I've been researching the subject and reading about the importance of developing the Upper chest when focusing on aesthetic and also the effectiveness of the incline dumbbell press to achieve this goal. Thus, I would like to hear your opinion as well as some tips. Thank You, Josh. Have a Nice day!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi Paulo,

Sure, you can add in or substitute in an incline bench press variation if you feel it will better help you meet your goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/26/2018 - 03:25
Steve

I don't really have the space/equipment to do the dumbbell flys, hamstring curl and step up. What's a good substitute for these? Also for the bench press could this be substituted with a floor press?

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Posted Mon, 07/23/2018 - 07:45
Steve

Is it bad to take the whey protein just before sleeping? I will be doing this late at night (10pm) as this is only time I have.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/23/2018 - 08:35
JoshEngland

Hi Steve,

No, there's nothing inherently wrong with consuming whey protein before bed.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 07/21/2018 - 07:37
Amy

So, I am 39!! EEEEK....My husband and I used to workout religiously most days a week about 1.5 to 2 hours daily. Since our daughter was born 15 years ago, I have been hit and miss with workouts and eating habits. Currently, I almost weigh what I did when I delivered her, and this mama ain't pregnant. I am so disgusted, but my hubs seems to not mind!! I get motivated and then slack off, and then get motivated and slack off....My question is, With about 40 pounds to lose, I assume it would be best to do a lighter weight with slightly more reps and/or sets. Would you agree? Also, what about eating routine? I am never, ever hungry....I have to make myself eat, and still I have been gaining weight like crazy!!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/23/2018 - 08:44
JoshEngland

Hi Amy,

That's a tough question to answer. From the outside looking in, it seems as though you may have an issue with being consistent. I'd recommend giving this a read: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/7-habits-highly-motivated-and...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/20/2018 - 03:30
John

I want to lose stomach fat and gain a bit of muscle, if I do this and 1 run a week will this work?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/20/2018 - 08:42
JoshEngland

Hi John,

Yes, if paired with a calorie deficit.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/20/2018 - 10:27
John

I'm fairly skinny now it's just a bit of stomach fat, my main goal is more so to tone/build a little bit of muscle.

Would a deficit help both of these?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/20/2018 - 11:05
JoshEngland
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Posted Sat, 06/30/2018 - 00:54
Luiz Arthur

Josh, Thank you! I really appreciate your desire to give us knowledge. I'm a 14-15 year old boy. I’ve always made my health a priority. Since I was a little kid, I’ve been a soccer athlete. However, the fact I'm skinny makes me focus now in build lean muscle mass through a better nutrition and also a great workout, which, by the way it will be yours. Thus, I would like to know a few things before:

1. I’ve been reading articles in Muscle and Strength and one of them say that if you're new to the gym it's really beneficial to develop a sound strength base. So, does this program provide me with that?

2. The same article also says that from there, I can add some different goals. I have a goal to build an insane midsection, especially abs and core. Even tough these muscles are already worked indirectly through compound exercises such as squats, I would like to add few directly exercises and know, in your opinion, which program below would be best for me to achieve this goal.
(Core Exercises with Lean Mass Bulking Goals of:) https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/what-is-the-best-way-to-train... ]
or
(Stage 1of:) https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/freaky-abs-monster-guide-shre...

Josh, you’re helping me a lot. Be sure I'll be consistent with the program and do it with proper form. I’ve read several articles written by you and I would love to get your point of view regarding to it all. Please don’t worry about long answers. Actually, I would love to get as much knowledge as possible from you.
Measurements:
Weight: 50.3 Kg
Height: 1,72m

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/02/2018 - 09:29
JoshEngland

Hi Luiz,

Thank you for your kind words. Happy that I've been able to help you out as you continue to learn about health and fitness. I think it's awesome that you've developed such a passion for learning about health and fitness at this point in your life.

At your age, yes I'd focus on building good movement patterns by learning perfect form and building a solid base for yourself as your body matures. Don't get too focused on aesthetic goals at this stage in your life. If you build a good base now, you're body will take care of that on it's own as you go through puberty.

This program is a great program to use to build good movement patterns and develop initial strength. Then, you can continue progressing with more specific goals as you get older.

I wouldn't worry too much on building a freaky midsection. As mentioned, this will come with age. If you're working out and eating right, you should have no problem accomplishing this goal in your late teens. For now, work on planks and other exercises that will teach you to stabilize your spine.

Hope this helps! Best of luck as you continue your fitness journey!

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Posted Thu, 06/28/2018 - 21:24
Alex

Hey man, shouldn’t I do more sets and reps for biceps or is 2 sets of 8-12 reps enough? Also, how long do you think till I start seeing a noticeable difference to my body? Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/29/2018 - 08:45
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

2 sets 3 times per week - Yea, I think it's plenty.

Individual progress varies. You should start to notice some initial muscle growth for yourself within 4 weeks. However, fitness is a very much routine and lifestyle choice. The better question would be, "What can I do for myself to stay motivated myself to continue to workout for the rest of my life?"

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/29/2018 - 14:21
Alex

On my 2nd week, I’ll keep you updated with results. Thanks for the response!

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Posted Wed, 06/27/2018 - 20:16
Austin

Hey there, I am a skinny guy and have not gone to a gym in my entire life. Is this exercise good for skinny beginners ? My height is 5 '' 7 and my weight is 56 kg.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/28/2018 - 10:25
JoshEngland

Hi Austin,

Yes, this is a good workout for beginners.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/26/2018 - 22:49
Luiz Arthur

Hi, Josh. Thanks for the awesome article. I'm about to start it and would like to know:

1. Even though calves and abs are not worked directly, will they develop as much as everything else? I would like to make sure my whole body will be equally balanced in strength as well as aesthetically.

2. I have the same doubt regarding to the smaller number of repetitions on Biceps, Triceps, and Shoulder exercises.

Thanks,
Luiz

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/27/2018 - 09:39
JoshEngland

Hi Luiz,

1. Yes, you'll be fine. If you'd really like to you can add in isolation work if you feel it is needed.

2. These are smaller muscle groups. They don't need to be hit with as much volume to grow.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/24/2018 - 17:51
Adam A

Can i add a few more exercises for example like pull ups,forearms and neck training?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/25/2018 - 09:15
JoshEngland

Hi Adam,

Sure! Go for it!

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Posted Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:33
Steph

Hey! I want to try this program but I don't want to become necessarily bigger like a body builder or a powerlifter. Will it work if I use 1 or 2 days of exercise following your plan with bigger weight and the other day use lower weight but do more reps? Like a mix of lean muscle and bulk muscle workout.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/25/2018 - 09:04
JoshEngland

Hi Steph,

Sure, you could do that. But this program, as written, won't make you look like a bodybuilder unless you're taking hormones. The hormonal system of women doesn't allow them to add muscle mass quite like that.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/22/2018 - 11:48
Joel

Sorry can i add extra excersice with dumbells

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/22/2018 - 11:51
JoshEngland

Hi Joel,

Sure! Go for it.

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Posted Tue, 06/19/2018 - 08:38
Phillip

I’ve just started this new workout since I can’t afford going to the gym right now and I only have 25, 35, and 45lb sets of dumbbells so I’m using what I have for now. My question is after trying all 3 workouts the first week, I decided to go every other day rather than Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Is that still okay? Second question is after using all 3 workouts, i felt more from the first and second, so is it okay to rotate doing the first or second workouts or continue to do all 3 or does it matter?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/19/2018 - 16:54
JoshEngland

Hi Phillip,

Yes, both of those alterations should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 06/18/2018 - 18:25
Alex

Really excited to give this a try. Have 2 months till I go back to school and wanted to know if that is enough time to see results?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/19/2018 - 08:33
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

Absolutely! Best of luck!

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Posted Sat, 06/16/2018 - 16:19
Alex D

This is awesome man thank you for this.
I will do this routine for the amount of weeks you set in August when i get my dumbells,but im just wondering if after completing this can i get onto other exercises and make them into my own routine that i pick from youtubers i watch?Can you recommend a nice weekly split for biceps/tris/back/chest etc. after ive done this routine?
Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:47
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

I'd actually recommend the 4 day workout linked at the bottom of this workout page. It was designed to be the next step to this particular program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/19/2018 - 13:05
Alex D

Alright man thanks ill do that then after the 3 week program but after that can i move onto my own routine yes?

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Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:49
Matt

Hey Josh

Am I going up in weight on each of the 3 reps or pick a weight and do it for all 3 reps ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:09
JoshEngland

Hi Matt,

You can do either or. Whichever you prefer :)

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 06/06/2018 - 14:12
Martin

Hi there. I've seen you mention maybe doing cardio on rest days. I'm 6foot 2in and 154lb. I did a load of cardio for the past 6 months or so. Is cardio necessary with this 8 week programme or should I just stick with the ab workout I've been doing on 3 out of the 4 rest days?
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/06/2018 - 14:51
JoshEngland

Hi Martin,

No cardio is not necessary with this program. However, some cardio regularly is beneficial to remain heart healthy.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/03/2018 - 19:40
Sam

Hi Josh,
Due to my work schedule, I only have the time and energy to work out Monday through Thursday. Is it safe to do this workout Mon, Tues, Thurs and an ab workout on Wed (skipping one rest day and doing abs on the second), or can you recommend another 30-minute strength building workout that I can do on those days?
Thanks,
Sam

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/04/2018 - 10:33
JoshEngland

Hi Sam,

It's not ideal, but that should be fine. If you notice an issue with your recovery, simply remove the weight training day on Tue and add it in with an alternative and less taxing activity.

Hope this helps!