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!

291 Comments+ Post Comment

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 21:51
Kevin

Strength M W F, Spin T TH Sat & hockey on Sunday
Best days to squeeze in yoga? I workout in the am’s.
Which evenings? Cardio or strength days?
Also I’ve been intermittent fasting and not eating until 11am and feeling ok not taking k/cal post workouts
Any thoughts on if this is a bad or ok plan?
Love the plan. TY!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/05/2019 - 09:46
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

All looks pretty solid to me!

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Posted Fri, 03/01/2019 - 13:26
JM

Is it not recommenced to turn this routine into a 4-day, taking Wed off? So, Day 1 (Mon), Day 2 (Tues) Day 3 (Thurs) and Day 1 (Fri)? Your thoughts?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 11:00
JoshEngland

Hi JM,

For a 4 day workout, I'd recommend this one: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-upper-lower-wor...

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Posted Fri, 02/22/2019 - 09:51
Randy

I just started this work out on Monday and so far really enjoy it. I definitely feel the burn. I've read most of the comments and don't want to repeat the same questions, but could you give me a basic rule of push ups and crunches (or whatever is best for abs) to throw in on workout days? I don't feel like my chest and abs are getting a lot of attention. Again, I did just start on Monday. Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 02/22/2019 - 11:55
JoshEngland

Hi Randy,

Sure! You can add in 3 sets of 10 pushups and/or 3 sets of 15-20 crunches on any of these workouts.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:50
Randy

Awesome! I will add these is today. Thank you for the quick response.

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2019 - 10:10
Kata

Are the progressions more difficult or is it just more days/week?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:15
JoshEngland

Hi Kata,

The progressions are more days per week.

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Posted Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:22
Kata

Hi again! Also, are the reps on exercises such as the lunges in total or per side? Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:22
JoshEngland

Hi Kata,

Unilateral exercises are per side, not total.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/15/2019 - 23:04
Tsering Wangyal...

Hi josh, I am starting of thinking this workout. When do I go for the 4 day program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:15
JoshEngland

Hi Tsering,

I'd suggest after 8 weeks.

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Posted Sun, 02/10/2019 - 18:39
Jenn

Thanks for the workout! I'm a beginner and had a couple questions.
1. What kind of warm up should I do before this workout?
2. How important is my diet when beginning weights? I've maintained a big weight loss for a year and eating more makes me nervous. I don't want to gain any fat!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:31
JoshEngland

Hi Jenn,

For information on warmups, start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

Diet is very important when it comes to body composition and working out. I'd recommend checking out the following articles:

Start Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Go Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-calculate-perfect-macros

Finish Up Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Sat, 02/09/2019 - 11:27
Wayne

Is there an intermediate and advanced level for this workout?

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Posted Wed, 02/06/2019 - 10:29
Jackie

Hi i have couple of questions:
1- Is this as effective as gym equipments ?
2- I wanna do this nonstop without resting days is that ok ?
3- Can this exercice get me ripped or real big if i eat alot ? also im real skinny so no fat can't even have fat XD
4- Can i do it more than 8 weeks ? say like 1 or 2 years ?
5- Is it fine if i do some other things like push ups , pull ups etc etc ? if yes when is the best time in a day to do it ?
THX

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/07/2019 - 13:49
JoshEngland

Hi Jackie,

1. It can be depending on your experience level, diet, and sleep.
2. I'd recommend taking the prescribed rest days.
3. Sure, but you'll want to eat in a calorie surplus.
4.Yes, as long as you're increasing the weight used.
5. Yes, those exercises would be fine to incorporate into any of these workouts.

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Posted Thu, 01/31/2019 - 02:07
Watson

Love the program. On my off days when I do HIIT for cardio, can I include heavy kettlebell swings, or would this be over training?

Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/05/2019 - 14:50
JoshEngland

Hi Watson,

That should be fine. Glad you like the workout!

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Posted Wed, 01/30/2019 - 21:22
Rey

I usually see a range of reps recommended (example: 3x 8-10, where you start at 8 and once you can do 10, you move up in weight load). Since your rep range is static, when do you suggest moving up in weights? When you can do all sets at the suggested rep range?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/05/2019 - 14:50
JoshEngland

Hi Rey,

Yes, once you can do all of the sets at the suggested rep range.

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Posted Wed, 01/30/2019 - 19:01
Sean

Hey, this is probably a silly question but would I do all 7 movements a one circuit or clear each movement then move on to the next one? For example with Day 1, would I do 3 sets of the Dumbbell Squat then move on to the 3 sets of Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift and so on or would I do 1 set of the Squat then 1 set of the Deadlift and so on?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/05/2019 - 14:57
JoshEngland

Hi Sean,

You can do either or. As written, you'd perform all the sets before moving on to the next exercise.

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Posted Fri, 01/18/2019 - 04:50
Alisha

Is this program really suitable for women? I only see male videos posted and I’m unsure whether I am doing the wrong workouts for my gender and size

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 01/18/2019 - 14:05
JoshEngland

Hi Alisha,

Yes, this program is suitable for women as well. The male model demonstrates in all of the exercise videos we have on our website. Sorry for the confusion!

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Posted Fri, 01/18/2019 - 00:01
Alex

is it ok if i do all these exercises using the same weight? i know that the chest and the legs usually need heavier dumbbells, so should I increase the reps when doing chest/legs? (since i dont have heavier dumbbells)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 01/18/2019 - 14:07
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

It is preferred that you use an appropriate weight to challenge each individual muscle group.

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Posted Wed, 01/16/2019 - 19:06
Keith Creech

Should I increase the weight for each set of reps, and by how much?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/17/2019 - 14:23
JoshEngland

Hi Keith,

Sure, you can do that. I probably wouldn't increase anymore than 5lbs at a time. If you're increasing more than that, you're probably not working hard enough on the earlier sets.

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Posted Sun, 01/13/2019 - 23:08
Steve

What is HIIT as mentioned in your Work out Description?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 13:46
JoshEngland

Hi Steve,

HIIT = High-Intensity Interval Training.

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Posted Sat, 01/12/2019 - 13:16
Fouad

I would like to ask .. is 8 weeks to much for such a workout

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 13:58
JoshEngland

Hi Fouad,

No. Track the weight used and move up in weight when capable. You'll see results, trust me.

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Posted Sat, 01/12/2019 - 10:49
Bill

Total beginner here: When is the best time to consume the protein shake and Creatine,—befor,during,or after this workout? Thank you for your time.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:03
JoshEngland

Hi Bill,

As long as you consume it regularly, it's not that important when you do so. Personally, though, I'd go with post-workout.

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Posted Sat, 01/05/2019 - 21:23
Oliveira

Hi, Josh. I would like to know if this program is ideal to establish a strong foundation first. Does it focuses primarily on building a solid strength base with fundamental movements ?
I am a 15 year old boy beginner.
Thank you! Don`t hesitate to say all your thoughts about it all. Have a nice day :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:54
JoshEngland

Hi Oliveira,

Yes, it is a great program for building foundational strength.

As a teen, I recommend giving this a read: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/teenage-bodybuilding

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Posted Fri, 12/21/2018 - 22:01
Frederick Pitts

Hi Josh-

New to the program. 53 yo but not a stranger to weights. Is there an idea DB weight to start off with using the 3/week dumbbell workout? 10#, 15#, 20# etc?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:58
JoshEngland

Hi Frederick,

You might want to use different weights for each exercise depending on what you have access to. 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.

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Posted Sun, 12/09/2018 - 12:19
Quinton

Is there and advanced stage to this 3 day full body dumbbell workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:08
JoshEngland

Hi Quinton,

There's a whole series of workouts for dumbbells. The main difference is increasing the number of days you train. So while there's not another 3 day program, the next step after this one is the 4 day dumbbell only program:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-upper-lower-wor...