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!

Ken Locke
Posted on: Mon, 05/29/2023 - 05:01

I am underweight (5"11 and 69kg). Do you recommend anything to help me with gaining weight while I do this workout plan?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2023 - 15:22

I would suggest this, Ken. Good luck, and check back if you got more questions.

Posted on: Sun, 05/28/2023 - 08:14

What exactly do you mean by “consider increasing the volume of the workouts”? Increase reps or weight of dumbbells I am lifting?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2023 - 15:21

Either or both if possible, Steph. You can do more reps per set, add a set to each exercise, of if you feel strong enough, add weight.

Posted on: Mon, 05/15/2023 - 15:39

I have been on this routine for awhile and want to find something more challenging. I want to stick with full body rather than splits, what routine is a good step up from this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/15/2023 - 15:43

Hey Joe, this should help you find that new program.

Posted on: Wed, 05/10/2023 - 07:16

Is it ok to replace SDL with conventional deadlifts? Got injured from SDL, probably partly cause my flexibility is ass, and I pushed it too far. I can still do regular deadlifts without pain.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 05/11/2023 - 07:00

Hey Aaron, by all means make the switch. I feel conventional would serve you better in the long run anyway. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Sun, 05/07/2023 - 10:40

I want to start this workout because it fits my schedule, but wondering if it would be beneficial to add shrugs and hip thrusts, as well as use pyramiding and performing more than the listed sets. I am 54, and do not have a great deal of time for more splits, but would like the same results if possible.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/09/2023 - 07:07

You can add them in, Ricky. Add shrugs to one workout and thrusts for another so it doesn't take too much extra time in one session. Hope this helps!

Liam Thompson
Posted on: Thu, 03/30/2023 - 16:05


I hoping to start doing this workout as I’ve just brought some dumbbells. I am new to this and I’m not very good with a food plan to use with this? Have you got any recommendations?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 04/04/2023 - 11:21

If you could choose one, fat loss or muscle building, which would you take? That determines your guide for food.

Michael Schertz
Posted on: Tue, 04/04/2023 - 12:32

The hard thing is when you choose both. I've been doing HIIT (Boxing classes with HIIT) and this progroam going on week 8. Lost not a lb but clearly body changed so assuming put on muscle. I jsut started tracking meta meal data to increase protein since I gave up any desire to lose lbs and just lose fat and put on muscle same time.

Brian Villalta
Posted on: Tue, 03/14/2023 - 15:20

Quick question am new to working out…I started my first day today with this workout …how can I do hamstring curls at home without a bench ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 03/23/2023 - 20:01

You can lie on the floor and hold a dumbbell between your feet. If you have a band, you can use bands as well. Connect one end to a solid object and the other around your ankles. Lie on the floor and curl like you would on a bench.

Posted on: Sun, 03/12/2023 - 03:40

Can I replace the Dumbbell Lunges with Bulgarian split squats ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/14/2023 - 09:59


Sulayman Baig
Posted on: Fri, 03/10/2023 - 15:38

I am starting to workout for muscle growth with not much experience. I play basketball and football and want to grow muscle full body but I have no experience. Which plan do you recommend.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/14/2023 - 09:59

Are you a complete beginner to training?

Posted on: Mon, 03/06/2023 - 03:20

What’s better standing db curl or incline db check

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/14/2023 - 10:00

My guess is you meant incline DB curl. If so, incline is better in my opinion because you can't cheat and it's a more strict movement.

Posted on: Sun, 03/05/2023 - 00:49

Hi there, this workout routine looks wonderful. I'm wondering though, I don't see any progressive overload built into this routine. Are we supposed to increase reps as each week goes on?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/14/2023 - 09:59

Hi, Nadia. If you want to use progressive overload, you can certainly do that. Once you get 2 reps above what is listed, then go up in weight. So, if you are to do three sets of 10, then you can do 10 one week, 11 the next, and 12 after that. Once you can do three sets of 12, go up. Hope this helps!

Nate H
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 22:45

Do you do all three sets of one exercise then moving to the next, or one set of each 3x’s?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2023 - 22:43

Perform the first set, rest, second set, rest, third set, rest and move on to the next exercise. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 02/16/2023 - 12:09

Hi, I have been following this program for a a few months and am liking it a lot. I have been just adding some addition sets of different exercises since I had time for a 45 minute workout. Is there any disadvantages of adding additional exercises and/or addition sets? Or is any extra exercise beneficial. Also, my heart rate is generally very low when I lift weight (zone 1-2). Should I be doing something differently to increase this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:03

There aren't any disadvantages to the additional exercises as long as your recovery is still going as it should be. Don't worry about the heart rate during weight training. Save that for cardio.

Posted on: Wed, 02/15/2023 - 07:56

Is this workout good for improving posture?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:02

It can be, Esmond.

Michael Schertz
Posted on: Tue, 02/07/2023 - 16:55

I'm considering adding a Hollow-Hold Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press and Plank Dumbbell Pull-through (I used to do these when in shape).

Where would you add those in? My 'gut' is the add'l Core Routine you recommend but if not, any of the days/positions you'd recommend?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:02

I agree, Michael. Core workout would be the best place.

Michael Schertz
Posted on: Mon, 02/06/2023 - 17:13

Can exercises like the lying dumbbell extension and chest press be done on a flat floor if one does not have a bench?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 20:48

Absolutely, Michael! Go for it. Hope the program works for you.

Posted on: Thu, 02/02/2023 - 00:13

I've been on this workout for 4 weeks now and holy shit! 30 min of my day, 3 days a week, and already feeling results. While my weight fluctuates from 193-200lb and this workout hasn't really changed that, I'm shedding in places like my waist (and also wrist?!) and can feel a definable difference. I put on a shirt today that never fit me and was too tight when my girlfriend bought it two years ago but now hangs from my chest down loosely across a slowly tightening belly. I haven't done any ab workouts and my cardio is about 50-100km cycling a week (that's been happening for over a year) but i haven't begun fitting well into things until this workout.

My question is - at the 4 week mark, I'm looking at continuing and amplifying the workout. This is full body but the recommendations I saw for something more intense were more geared towards split. Do you have a link to another 3 day dumbbell only full body workout that can target in the same way? Or better yet - if I move to a split workout, should I expect to see the same areas tightening up? I'd love to toss in a bit more variety, and especially see some greater gains in chest and arms, but I don't want to lose the tightening of my stomach and the increase in my thighs.

I'm getting married this summer and we will be back home in Croatia so I'd really like to feel comfortable in my beach body and the stomach is a big part of that ;)

Thanks so much for everything - this routine literally turned my life around!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 02/20/2023 - 21:00

Congrats on the future marriage and the progress, JB. Check this out, and let us know if you think it will do the trick.

Posted on: Tue, 01/31/2023 - 17:29

In the PDF day 3 exercise 3 the title says "One-Arm Dumbbell Press" but it looks like it's supposed to say "One-Arm Dumbbell Row"

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 02/20/2023 - 20:48

You're correct. I will let our editor know. Thanks!

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.

Michael Schertz
Posted on: Mon, 02/06/2023 - 22:45

Perfect thank you. Just got a set of Nordic Track adjustable (5-55 lbs) dumbbells and a pull-up bar so I'm excited to see if I can really see results in 8 weeks.