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, 01/28/2023 - 15:46

Hello. I have completed the first 6 weeks of this program and have been able to get to the point where I can almost do the set and rep count with 20lb dumbbells. I was wondering, what routine should I continue after this? I know there is one linked in the plan, but I would prefer if it was a 3 day one, since currently me exercise routine is Day 1, Cardio, Rest, Day 2, Cardio, Day 3, Rest. If possible I would also want it to still be a dumbbell workout since I am using home dumbbells so I don't have to go the gym. Is there a routine I should look at?
Another question I have, I originally started the workout with 15lb dumbbells and was not able to do the full rep count on each workout, but once I was able to, that is when I upgraded to 20lb dumbbells and I then worked my way towards being able to do the full set count of each exercise with 20lb dumbbells. Is this the correct way to know when to increase the weight of the dumbbell?
Thank you for the help.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/29/2023 - 12:07

Here is a three day one for you.

The way you're doing it is best. When you can master the sets with good form, move up.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2023 - 12:31

Hi, I want to give this routine a try. Although I have a question: wouldn`t this routine benefit by adding a downwards pulling exercise such as pullups or lats pulldown (I know they have not been added because they don`t fit in the equipment requirements)?
If I wanted to add pullups, how many times x week should I add them? Should I instead replace one of the exercises? If so, which one?

Also, If I wanted to also add some cardio (speed rope skipping) + the core detroyer routine, how should I structure it? I was thinking something like Monday: Day1 of the routine + core; Wednesday: day2 of the routine + 30 minutes rope skipping; friday: day3 of the routine + core.

Would this work?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 10:31

Hello, you're correct. This was meant to be dumbbell only. If you have access to pullups or pulldowns, feel free to add them in. I would also suggest pullovers for those that want a pulling motion with a dumbbell.

Your routine would be a good way to go. Let us know how it works for you. Thanks for supporting M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 21:49

I took a look at the work outs and I like them but I'm looking for a full body workout that you workouts every thing like forearms and calves do you have a routine and if not do you know of one so I can be pointed in the right direction.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 10:23

Try these on, Xander. Consider this a custom addition to the program. Add these in on whichever day you like.

Wrist Curls and Reverse Wrist Curls - 4 supersets of 15 reps each.
Hammer Curl - 2 sets of 25 reps per arm.

Standing Calf Raise and Seated Calf Raise - 4 supersets of 20 reps each.
Bodyweight Single Leg Standing Calf Raise - 2 sets of 25 reps per leg.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 01:10

Hey, thanks for the program, it's working pretty great so far. Had a question though, I have a pullup bar that I'd like to utilize, would it be possible to fit in pull-ups anywhere?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2023 - 13:54

Absolutely! These programs were meant for those that only have dumbbells. If you have extra options, you should include them. Add the pullups in on Day 1 where you like.

Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 18:10

Hi! I’ve been doing this workout for a couple weeks. Previously was doing a Hiit workout. I’m 5’4” about 150lbs. What cardio should I incorporate on my off days from this workout? I was thinking about doing the hiit workout on off days but don’t want to strain any muscles. Thanks! Tiffaney

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 20:17

What's good, TIffaney? Actually, I think as long as you're careful, HIIT will be ok for you. Just don't go level 10 on all high phases. Level 8 or 9 would be fine.

Michael Schertz
Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:50

As a newbie, what is the best way of choosing startingweights and/or adjusting during the program?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 20:14

Trial and error on choosing the weights. Once you start feeling them out, work with weights that keep you within two reps of the rep range. Once you can do two more than the range, then it's time to go heavier. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 10:17

Hi there, I have been doing 100 push ups a say for 47 days now. If I start this 3 day program should I do my push ups after or before each workout? Thanks in advance.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 20:10

After, Nikki. Props for finding a way to keep your personal goal moving forward while trying a new program. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Wed, 01/18/2023 - 11:15

Should I be utilizing double dynamic progression? Or should the weight stay the same across all sets for the same exercise (even if I'm still hitting the high end of the rep range on my last set)?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2023 - 07:16

Change weight when possible in my opinion. That is up to you, however.

Posted on: Mon, 01/16/2023 - 10:23


I want to thank you for all training you made for us!

Now is my question - I made all "4 day dumbbell training" and then 8 weeks of "5 day training" but 2 weeks ago I had back pain and received pills for it (muscle problems).
Now I feel better and don't know if it's better to maybe start this "3 day" training - it's shorter and I will have more time to proper recover... Or just go again with "5 day"?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:30

Slow and steady, Diblo. Start with this, and as you improve and get better, get a feel for doing the extra days. All the best on your recovery and thank you for reading M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 01/16/2023 - 06:25

I'm 5ft8inches, 119lbs, for the past 22days i did athlean-x's 22 days pushup challenge and i went from 13 to 20 pushups and saw a little chest gain. Now I bought a pair of 2.5kg dumbbells and my friends are telling me they're useless for full body exercises. What do you say? Should i do this workout with these dbs or should I start a bodyweight workout routine(if yes then suggest one that doesn't take too much time to do)

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:29

Heavier dumbbells would be best, but you can use those and make the best out of them. You can start this with those until you get your hands on bigger weights. Adding bodyweight movements into it would be better for sure.

Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 19:04

Can this be altered into a Push/Pull/Leg split? If so - which exercises would you recommend for each day?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:23

It can. Your basics for each function would be best.

Push - Floor press, seated press, lying extensions, overhead extensions, and add pushups with bodyweight.
Pull - One arm row, two arm row, rear lateral raises, hammer curls, concentration curls
Legs - Goblet squat, pause squat, stiff-legged deadlift, lunges.

Those are the big basic movements. Add in whatever others you like by looking them up in our exercises section.

Michael Schertz
Posted on: Wed, 01/11/2023 - 11:53

I have an adjustable dumbbell set, each side up to 50 lbs (5-6 270 lbs male). Do I need any other equipment?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 11:07

If you have a bench, use it. If not, you can do the bench exercises on the floor. That should be all you need.

Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 22:03

Hey just wanted to ask
Should I train till failure for best results

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 11:06

I suggest going to failure on at least the final set of each exercise.

Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2023 - 18:55

Hi there! I'm 5'7, 163 male and I want to shred but build at the same time. What should be my starting dumbbell weight if you could recommend one for me?1

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 11:06

Can't make that recommendation because I don't know how strong you are. Your goal should be to push yourself on each set without sacrificing form. I recommend taking at least the final set to failure to help with muscle building. Keep the rest to a minimum so you burn more calories, which can help you shred. It is very hard to do both at the same time, but you will make progress.

Jarred Harper
Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2023 - 10:12

Love the program so far after week 1 but had a quick question would you recommend completing all 3 sets of an exercise before moving on to the next or do each exercise 3 times in succession I’ve been using the 60 second rest time between them and doing it moving from body part to body part three times. Would there be any benefit to knocking all 3 sets and then moving on?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 13:15

I would say start out by doing all three of one before moving on. However, if you feel you need the challenge, then try all the exercises in a row. For those reading that don't know, those are known as circuits or giant sets, and they can challenge both the muscular and cardiovascular systems.

If you try it, Jarred, let us know how it goes.

Posted on: Mon, 01/09/2023 - 19:08

I tested it both ways and have to say that I enjoy doing it as a circuit because I love the cardio factor and by the end, I did find it more challenging. Plus, I'm 50 so full body circuit training fits my age. I do have to say that I separated the workouts into two circuits per each day. I do one circuit of the first four exercises for three rounds because they're 3 sets of 10 reps. After finishing, I combine the last three exercises to make a second circuit with 2 rounds since they are listed as 2 sets of 8 reps. I didn't find the second circuit as challenging, likely because they are smaller muscle groups. I will either add another round with same amount of reps or increase the weight. Either way, I've been enjoying these workouts. I focus more on fitness and mobility so I always add 20 minutes of cardio before doing this DB workout, then follow it with mobility exercises for about 10-15 minutes. Thanks for putting this together and sharing.

Mohamed Hossam
Posted on: Sun, 01/01/2023 - 04:56

I am doing 200 pushups a day for 2 month now
Is the program suitable for me?
And can i do it with 200 pushups or no?
And should i start with it of the 4days program?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 13:13

You can do the pushups with this, but start with this one for a few weeks before moving up to the 4 day program.

Hope this helps!

Mohamed Hossam
Posted on: Sat, 01/14/2023 - 04:05

It helped alot l'll do it for 4 weeks before the 4 days program

Posted on: Sat, 12/31/2022 - 16:25

Hi Roger,
Just found your website and excited to get started. I am 57 yrs old and definitely a beginner who has really never lifted weights before.

Is your 3 day program food for someone my age or would you recommend something different?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 13:11

Lance, thank you for reading M&S! This program is a great starting point for all ages. I think you can see good results from this one, and it can help you learn how to train properly so you can move up to more advanced programs later on.

Check back with us if you have questions along the way, and we'll do our best to help you out. Good luck!

Jordan Johnson
Posted on: Thu, 12/29/2022 - 16:27

Hello! I am 16 years old and wanting to change my physique. I am considered Skinny Fat, and don't know what to do. My weight has been staggering between 154 and 157, with a BF% of 21. Im wanting to know which is best for me, losing weight, or gaining muscle. My arms are pretty defined, but my stomach is not. I have a 4 pack but it is hidden under fat, and I'm thinking if I bulk, then my body composition will look better no matter my BF%. I am not a fan of cardio either, but weight lifting is fun for me. I have 2 25 lb dumbbells and a weight plates, 10lb, 15lb, and 25lbs. What would you suggest I do to reach a better body composition In 3-4 months?
Ps: my family does not eat meat either so protein intake is difficult for me, but I eat what I can

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 13:01

Hey Jordan, my suggestion would be to actually go with fat loss first, then build muscle. A lot of people doesn't like cardio, but you can find ways to mix it up instead of riding a stationary bike or using a treadmill. Options such as heavy bag work, sports, and cross-training can all help.

I would suggest trying to get leaner for 8 weeks, then go on an 8 week size program. Hopefully after that first 8 weeks, you can get your hands on other training equipment to help you grow.

PS If you can get your hands on shakes, then that would help with the protein.

Posted on: Thu, 12/29/2022 - 08:28

I'm planning to start the program on Jan 2. Is there a way to determine the right amount of weight for each exercise without wasting multiple days on trial and error?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2023 - 12:54

Not really, Bruce. The best suggestion I can offer is that if you can achieve more than two reps over the rep range without hitting failure, then go up. If you can't get to within two reps, it's too heavy.

Posted on: Wed, 12/21/2022 - 22:48

I am a 16-year-old, trying to get out of the overweight category and build muscle. I really can't work out at a gym and the only equipment I have would be 15-pound dumbells. I often lose motivation in working out, but I am trying to actually make a change in my life for my New Year's resolution! Do you have any tips on motivation and consistency?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/28/2022 - 18:16

Ethan, first and foremost, thank you for reading M&S! First and foremost, focus on what you can control instead of those you can't. You can control the food you eat, water you drink, sleep you get, and what you do with those dumbbells. You also have your bodyweight that you can use for exercises such as walking lunges and pushups.

Second, positive reinforcement matters. Even the smallest change is worth celebrating and building upon so you can keep that momentum going. Third, look for success stories and people that inspire you, and pay attention to what they do. Last but not least, when you have questions, come on back to M&S, and we'll do our best to help. You got this, and I hope you will share your results as you progress.


Posted on: Wed, 12/21/2022 - 22:10

Hi, can you give me a specific ab program to add to this? (Including which days, sets & reps, and if they're weighted or not.) Thank you!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/28/2022 - 18:09

Try this one, Cody. Plug the two workouts on this in any day you have the extra time. Just don't do them two days in a row.

Posted on: Tue, 12/20/2022 - 15:10

Hi Josh. Enjoying the 3-day program very much. Would it still work to do it in the AM with some HIIT later in the day (PM) rather than straight after, or is that missing the point of adding the HIIT ? JD

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 12/27/2022 - 08:49

Hey JD, answering for Josh here. You can do the HIIT later in the day if that best fits your schedule. It certainly beats not doing it at all, but the HIIT immediately after will help you burn even more calories because your glycogen storages are depleted from the weight training session, thus, making it more productive for fat loss. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Fri, 12/16/2022 - 12:48

I know it takes time and it depends but do you think after this 8 week program we can expect to see some type of muscle definition if everything goes right? Just looking forward to completing this then moving on to the 4 day program!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 12/26/2022 - 10:29

You should see some form of improvement, including definition improvements.

Posted on: Sat, 12/10/2022 - 08:54

Is it OK to use the same dumbbell weight for all exercises? Or should we increase the dumbbell weight for lower body ones?
I bought adjustable dumbbells for this workout, but adjusting the weight between workouts is a real hassle (they're not easy to adjust).

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 12/10/2022 - 19:47

Changing weights would be best because you could be stronger on some exercises than others, and that shouldn't be compromised.

Yeah, adjustments on some dumbbells can be a pain, but it will be worth it.