- Main GoalBuild Muscle
- Workout TypeSplit
- Training LevelIntermediate
- Program Duration12 weeks
- Days Per Week5
- Time Per Workout45-60 minutes
- Equipment RequiredBodyweight, Dumbbells
- Target Gender Male & Female
- Recommended Supps
- Workout PDF Download Workout
So, you’ve completed the 3 day full body dumbbell only workout?
AND you’ve completed the 4 day upper/lower dumbbell only workout as a form of progression?
Well, you’ve asked for it and today I’m bringing you the next step in our dumbbell only workout series.
The following workout, for those who only have access to a set of dumbbells, is a 5 day per week program.
It can be performed by those who work out at home in their home gym, travel frequently and need a go-to program they can do at a hotel gym, or anyone really who prefers to use dumbbells over other implements at the gym.
Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course
5 Day Dumbbell Workout Split Overview
The workout can be performed for up to 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks, you may want to consider increasing the volume within the workout, the weight of the dumbbells you are using, or look into facilities that offer more of a variety of weighted equipment.
The program calls for you to work out 5 days per week. What days you decide to work out on are completely up to you. Just ensure that you incorporate 2 rest/active recovery days into your weekly schedule.
The goal of the program is to help you build muscle. Of course, if you’d rather use it to help aid in fat loss, that is completely fine too. Just be sure to adjust your caloric intake accordingly.
Keep rest periods right around the 45 second mark for this workout program.
If you have any other questions about this 5 day dumbbell only workout program, please be sure to leave them in the comment section below.
Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps Dumbbell Workout
|Dumbbell Bench Press||5||8-10|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||4||8-10|
|Dumbbell Floor Press||3||8-12|
|Standing Dumbbell Press||4||8-10|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||3||8-12|
|Dumbbell Tricep Kickback||3||8-12|
Day 2: Legs & Core Dumbbell Workout
|Dumbbell Goblet Squat||4||8-10|
|Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift||4||8-10|
|Dumbbell Rear Lunge||4||8-10 Each|
|Dumbbell Frog Squat||3||8-12|
|Dumbbell Calf Raise||4||20|
|Side Planks||3||20 Secs Each|
Day 3: Back & Biceps Dumbbell Workout
|Dumbbell Bent Over Row||4||8-12|
|Tripod Dumbbell Row||4||8-12 Each|
|Reverse Grip Dumbbell Row||4||8-12|
|Dumbbell Bicep Curl||3||10-15|
|Dumbbell Hammer Curl||3||10-15|
Day 4: Legs & Core Dumbbell Workout
|Dumbbell Split Squat||3||8-12 Each|
|Dumbbell Hip Thrust||4||10-15|
|Dumbbell Calf Raise||4||20|
|Dumbbell Side Bends||3||15 Each|
Day 5: Complete Upper Body Dumbbell Workout
|One Arm Dumbbell Rows||4||8-10 Each|
|Dumbbell Arnold Press||4||8-10|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||4||8-12|
|Chest Supported Dumbbell Row||3||8-12|
|Dumbbell Pinwheel Curl||2||8-12|
|Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension||3||8-12|
We’d love to hear your results from using this program. Please be sure to let us know how it goes in the comments!
Next Workout: 6 Day Dumbbell Only Workout Program
You guys are obsessed with claiming dumbbells only, but then sneaking in multiple incline and bench exercises. The first three exercises in this plan would all end up being floor press for those of us without a workout bench in our apartment.
Hi. Yeah, we noticed others with the same issue, so we shared this. Hope it helps.
No weight should a beginner use (man and woman) for these exercises?
Beginners should use whatever weight feels like a challenge, but they can perform the exercises with good form. That may differ from person to person.
How come on the day 5 complete upper body, there is no workout for the biceps?
Hi, Patrick. Without talking to the author about this, my guess would be that the bicep work combined with the back work which involves the biceps as well was sufficient in his eyes. Go ahead and throw an exercise like incline curls or concentration curls in on Day 5 if you like. However, don't go too crazy adding more than that. The biceps are smaller than the triceps, so they don't need as much direct work. Hope this helps.
I want to add some forearm and wrist exercises. What do you suggest, and on what days?
What's good, Alex? Thanks for reading M&S.
Reverse Curls - Day 2 after hammer curls
Wrist Curls - Day 5 at the beginning of the workout.
You can also do extended holds after the shrugs to exhaust your grip. Hope all of this helps.
Hey, I just purchased a Power Tower and would love to implement 5 new exercises into this program: Dips, Pull Ups, Chin Ups, Vertical Knee Raises, and Push Ups. However, I don't know on what days I should implement these. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Dips - Day 1 in the middle
Pull Ups and Chin Ups - Day 2 at the beginning
Vertical Knee Raises - Wherever you like
Pushups - Day 5 at the end
That is how I would do it.
Also for future readers, this program was made for people that only had dumbbell access. If you have other equipment, feel free to adjust and add as you like.
Thank you for this. I tried the 4 days workout and i like the split here better and Assisi the intensity. I was thinking about using this workout for A 4 days split and just skipping day 5. Does that make sense ? Thank you.
It does, and if that is what you want to do, go for it. Let us know how it works for you. Thank you for reading M&S!
Supplementing BJJ with these lifts for the past year or so and have been injury free for the longest time ever. I usually skip the legs, but when I don't my hammies are on fire.
why is there no forearm isolation exercise like wrist curls?
For most beginners and intermediates, wrist curls won't be necessary because the forearms are working while gripping the weight. If you want to add them in, by all means do so. I like to do an intense superset with wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.
Wrist Curls for 25, followed by Reverse Wrist Curls for 25. Immediately go back and do 20 of each, then 15, then 10, then 5. All with no rest. Once you finish the fives, give yourself 15 seconds to shake off the pain. Then go to failure on both exercises.
What about working the obliques of your abs? I havent seen an exercise for that.
That is why the side bends are included in the plan. If you don't like side bends, you can find other alternatives in the Exercises section at the top of the page. Hope this helps!
I am on week 3 I have seen a huge difference and an increase in stamina. Don't let your ego get the best of you. Its not the weights, it's the form you have. I hope this helps others.
I tried it for 12 weeks and counting—I see a lot of muscle growth.
Hi I’ve been doing this routine for a year now, I’ve added some of my own exercises and changed it up over the year, i have rest days on Wednesday and Sunday, Do you think Monday to Thursday is too long of a break to rest the upper body? Sometimes I feel like maybe it’s too much of a gap, either way I’ve seen pretty good results with this so thank you sm for this routine.
That would work, Paul. Not too much at all. Hope this helps.
Hi. I’m wondering if this can be programmed into a three day upper lower split? I’m wanting to work on cardiovascular goals and like the idea of doing cardio on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday HIIT or steady state. Could this be programmed that way? Say upper on Monday, lower on Wednesday and upper on Friday then start with lower the following week? Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer all out questions.
I would actually suggest just finding a three day program instead, Casey. This might help you do that.
Just finished the 12 weeks, no April Fools Joke here. Thought I’d share what I found. Hopefully I can keep it brief.
FYI - I’m 50 years old. I drink beer on the weekends. My knees are shot from years of athletics in my younger days up to about 40 years old. I have no desire anymore to try and build an NFL linebacker type body I was much closer to in college and a bit after. I wanted to build some strength, lose a few lbs, feel better. These comments are MY OWN findings. Do with them what you will. So…..
Pros: This program worked for me. I’m stronger than I was 13 weeks ago. My wife says I look better (trust me, low hurdle to clear), my arms are harder, my legs are harder and some clothes fit better. I’m into a pair of jeans regularly that I couldn’t button in the Fall. I’m not a jump on the scale guy, so I don’t know if I lost much weight. Probably moved some of it around more than anything. I’m pleased overall. I struggle to find cardio that doesn’t beat me up and that would help if you’re looking for more weight loss than strength building of course. We don’t have a pool, memberships to places that do aren’t in the budget. I ride a stationary bike from time to time but I’m pretty sure that’s slightly more boring than an insurance seminar. I walk the dogs a lot, doesn’t feel like I’m doing much.
Cons: I don’t care for a handful of the exercises suggested. I substituted at least 3 from my experience lifting with exercises I liked better. I think it’s OK to do that, but don’t deviate too much. There is likely a good reason this is set up this way. I was familiar with the suggestions, I just never got much out of them in the past, so I changed them. EG, the mule kick tricep exercises, at least that’s what we called it way back. Never did anything for me. I did a tricep extension with my home gym setup instead. Tues and Thurs were hard. A: my knees. I only did my body weight on the lunges for example. And I felt every bit of it as the days wore on. (I get up at 4:30, was lifting by 5, done between 5:45-6:15 depending on the day and how good I felt.) I’ve never been a big core body workout guy. I just never see results (I know, I know, beer, diet, etc. Got it) so that stuff didn’t motivate me. I did it all, but the spare tire just doesn’t show the same results as the upper body. But I am in to old jeans. Planks, don’t get it. The side planks actually hurt my shoulders and not the good workout hurt. But I muscled thru. It’s only 20 seconds. I had a good bit of energy increase from maybe week 2 thru week 10. It went away. It was a struggle to do this week 11 & 12. Not sure what that’s about. I’m not a deep enough guy to understand that stuff. I pick things up and put things down. That’s it. Probably why I’m going to change my routine through the summer.
Overall, I liked it. I’ll do it again in the Fall. I’m going to switch up my workout for the summer and come back to this. I wouldn’t be afraid to alter it if you need to but don’t go nuts. This works if you stay with it. I always found strength to be like a pickup truck. It’s nice to have it when you need it. This will get you there.
Good luck and many thanks to the folks that put this and all similar materials out there for people like me.
Thanks for all that feedback, Roy. It's greatly appreciated and hopefully will help others.
Also for the future and to save you typing. Comments have to be approved before they get published. If you don't see it up, you don't have to re-type it. We'll see it and publish it as long as it will benefit the community. :)
Just wrapping up the 4 day a week dumbbell workout and have really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the 5 day a week workout next. As I have been looking ahead at the routines going forward I was wondering If the exercises are all in the correct order they should be? For example, in the 4 day a week exercises, if the same muscle groups were targeted in the same day they would be broken up with working on a different muscle group in between (if there were two exercises targeting the upper back there might be a bicep exercise in between the two). In the 5 day a week workouts I see that there are muscle group exercises that are grouped together (day 1 dumbbell bench press, and then right after that is the incline dumbbell bench press. Day 3 there is a bent over dumbbell row and then a tripod dumbbell row) Is this intentional? I'm asking because if the goal is to work your muscles just to the point of exhaustion with each exercise, putting the same muscle group exercise back to back with each other doesn't make sense to me. Thanks so much for taking the time.
It is intentional, Joe. I didn't write this one, but my guess is keeping the focus on each muscle group in sections as he did keeps the flow of the workout simple and you're training it while it's already warm as opposed to doing a chest exercise, then back, then back to chest again.
I’m just getting started and appreciate having each day laid out for me. When the exercise involves alternating sides, do the number of sets (eg 4) refer to each side or total?
Each side. Good luck, and thanks for reading M&S!
The calf raises on both leg days show seated calf raises. Should I replace one day with standing calf raises?
the cardio workout is hard on my knees, is there something else i can change for some of them? also i do at at home btw not a gym.
Yoga, battle rope, or boxing with a heavy bag would be my best suggestions, Alex. Also, see a doc about your knees.
What are the benefits of doing floor presses right after doing regular bench press and incline press? I did notice it was getting a little hard for me. Not complaining but just curious what exactly the purpose is of doing 3 exercises. I understand we are working out different muscles of the chest. Can I skip the floor press if not entirely beneficial? Thanks in advance.
The floor press helps isolate the chest because you can't lower the weight as far. If you wanted to switch this to floor flyes or skip it, that would be alright.
Can I spread the leg days out to 1 and 5 or 2 and 5? I don't feel recovered enough to do the 2nd leg routine when it comes around? Or is it designed that way?
If you're noticing that recovery isn't optimal, then you should definitely make the switch. Good question, Eric. Thanks for asking and reading M&S!
On Day one it seems that there is not enough shoulder exercises and no flys (for chest); can i incorporate another shoulder or is it not necessary
The front delts are getting a lot of work on the chest movements, then you're hitting them directly with the standing dumbbell press. If you wanted to add another side delt and rear delt exercise, that would be okay.
What’s an appropriate rest time between sets for the dumbbell and body weight training?
This is a great workout for someone like me who has not been a regular workout person. I have found that I need to take a day off after the day 2 workout, that’s the one that zaps the energy out of me. I just finished up week 6 and have noticed substantial changes already. Full disclosure I have missed the day 5 workout twice due to my weekends being too busy, so I assume this could happen to others as well. Thanks for the workout and the supporting videos to ensure that my technique is correct.
Can I just do the first leg day twice, or do I have to do both?
Is it an equipment issue, or do you just really like the first leg day?
No worries, I recently bought a bench and am doing all days
Thanks in advance for reading the whole thing! I'd highly appreciate it if you'd be able to answer my questions one by one like I wrote them down.
-is it a good idea to train mon-fri and then have rest at sat & sun? Or should I best break the week at like wed? (if it helps I'm pretty new to weightlifting in general).
-I train at home and only have one set of 10KG db's and a bench. Some exercises are really easy and i can go (way) past 10-12 rep, should I go to like 18-20 rep for those exercises (or maybe until failure?) atm I'm unable to buy heavier weights.
-If I'd like to add the abs exercises to my training, is it best to do those before or after the training?
Thanks again and have a great day/evening! :)
-You being new to weightlifting does help. Take Wednesday off so you can give the body a break until you get more advanced.
-You can either go 18-20, or you can slow the reps down to have longer negatives (lowering of the weight) or contractions (muscle flexed). Make them as hard as possible.
-Do abs whenever you like. That is up to you.
So is it 8 or 10
Reps each set?
When you see "8-10", that is a range. If you can do eight, then try to work your way up to ten. If you can do more than ten, change the weight. If you can't do eight, lighten the load you're working with.
Been doing this routine for 2 weeks now and I want to add jump rope into the mix, my question is should I do jump ropes on rest days or before/after a workout session? Thanks.