Dumbbell Only Workout: 4 Day Upper/Lower Dumbbell Workout Routine

This dumbbell only upper/lower workout program only requires dumbbells and is perfect for those looking to build lean muscle mass at home or on the go!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
12 weeks
45-60 minutes
Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Male & Female
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Workout Description

The following workout is for those who only have access to a set of dumbbells.

It can be performed by those who work out at home, have to travel frequently and want to get a good workout in with limited equipment at a hotel gym, or as a progression from my 3 day dumbbell only routine.

This workout can be performed as a full workout routine for up to 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks you may want to consider altering the volume, weight you use (i.e. invest in a new pair of dumbbells), or even venture out and join a local gym that will have more of a variety of equipment for you to use.

The program calls for you to work out 4 days per week. What days you decide to workout is completely up to you. With that being said, it’s best to have 48-72 hours of rest in between your two upper body workouts and 48-72 hours of rest in between your two lower body workouts.

An example would be to perform the workouts in the order they are listed and take your rest days on Wednesdays and the weekends. Your rest days are the perfect opportunity to incorporate cardio training, flexibility training, foam rolling, or a combination of the three.

The goal of this workout is to help you build muscle. However, it can also help you with your fat loss goals depending on your calorie intake.

Rest periods for this workout program should be limited to 30-60 seconds.

If you have any other questions regarding this upper/lower dumbbell only workout program, please be sure to leave them in the comments section below!

Day 1: Dumbbell Upper Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bent Over Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-10
3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Pullover 3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Bicep Curl 2 8-12
6. Dumbbell Tricep Extension 2 8-12
7. Dumbbell Shrug 2 12-15

Day 2: Dumbbell Lower Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Goblet Squat 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
3. Dumbbell Plie Squat 3 8-12
4. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl 3 8-12
5. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 8-12
6. Plank 3 20 Secs

Day 3: Dumbbell Upper Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10
3. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
4. Chest Supported Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2 8-12
6. Dumbbell Floor Press 2 8-12
7. Seated Dumbbell Shrug 2 12-15

Day 4: Dumbbell Lower Body Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
2. Dumbbell Rear Lunge 4 8-10
3. Dumbbell Hip Thrust 4 8-10
4. Dumbbell Split Squat 3 8-12
5. Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 8-12
6. Planks 3 20 Secs

If you give this program a try, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

7 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 03/15/2018 - 18:58
Shane bosley

I can only afford two 25 pound dumbbells and don't have a bench. Is it still possible to gain muscle?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:26

Hi Shane,

Sure you can. You can always use what you have available to you to build muscle. The key to working out when trying to build muscle is achieving progressive overload. You have to make your workouts more challenging over time. This can be achieved a number of different ways without purchasing heavier weight.

You could utilize a slower rep tempo, use pause reps, use 1 and 1/4 reps, 1/5 reps, shorten your rest periods, increase the amounts of reps and sets you do, etc, etc.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 03/17/2018 - 15:57
Shane bosley

Sure does

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Posted Sat, 03/10/2018 - 10:11

I have a pull up bar and would like to incorporate them in. What exercise would you recommend I replace pull ups for? Or do I just add them to s particular workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/12/2018 - 09:28

Hi Kevin,

I'd recommend subbing them in for the dumbbell pullover.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 03/04/2018 - 13:31
Dr-Mahmood Al-Rawi

I wonder what weights should I start with? and should I increase them gradually ? and how much weight I should add if yes?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/05/2018 - 09:00

Hi Dr-Mahmood,

It'll depend where you're working down? At home? Work with what you have and invest on heavier weights as you need to and have the finances to do so.

At the gym? Use 75-85% of your working max on each exercise. If you don't know what that is, use an amount you know you can perform the prescribed reps with. You should feel as though you have 1 more rep left in the tank after each set. If it's too light, move up in weight. If it's too heavy, move down.

Hope this helps!