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
Split
Beginner
12 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

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!

29 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 05/13/2018 - 10:38
Lance

Hi Josh. I just finished the 8 week dumbbell full body workout, and I'm pleased with the results. I'm looking to kick things up a notch. I'd like to tackle this 4 days a week program. However, I'm concerned about having the time to put in 4 days a week. Would you ever recommend combining 2 days into 1 (both upper and lower) to save on time? Or should I just stick with my previous regiment (3x times a week) while upping reps and weight? Also, my job keeps me seriously active. I walk an average of 25,000 - 30,000 steps a day during the week. With so much walking, I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on how I might best approach my leg workouts without overdoing it, if it matters. Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:08
JoshEngland

Hi Lance,

I'd recommend sticking with the 3x per week workout and increasing the weight used. You can utilize that program for however long you wish, so long as you still enjoy doing it.

The walking shouldn't have much effect on your workouts. I wouldn't recommend performing additional cardio :)

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 05/12/2018 - 10:52
Siddhant

can I replace dumbell squat with barbell squat?. I like to use dumbells on all other excercises as I love working with dumbells.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi Siddhant,

Yes, that is fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 05/12/2018 - 10:51
Siddhant

hey can I use this to bulk up? and what is the progression scheme here? do I go heavy on all the excercises? How long till i see muscle growth, is 4 months enough time to see good changes?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi Siddhant,

Yes, this program is a solid option to bulk with. Move up in weight when able to. Use a weight where you have 1-2 reps left in the tank on all exercises. You should see solid muscle growth in 4 months.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 05/11/2018 - 22:22
Darwin

The Dumbbell Hip Thrust video link shows a barbell hip thrust. Please correct because im not sure how to do the exercise

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi Darwin,

You perform the same movement pattern, but place the dumbbell where the barbell is in the barbell hip thrust.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 05/10/2018 - 04:23
Nic

How Would somebody without an incline bench do number three and four on day three? I have a regular bench it does not incline

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/10/2018 - 08:55
JoshEngland

Hi Nic,

Sub it out for dumbbell flat bench and two arm bent over dumbbell rows.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 05/05/2018 - 02:22
Axel

Can you skip rest days and can you do these with only one dumbell

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/07/2018 - 09:15
JoshEngland

Hi Axel,

No, don't skip the rest days. Yes, if that's all you have available to use.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/24/2018 - 23:23
Gabriel

What about abs and cardio?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/25/2018 - 08:55
JoshEngland

Hi Gabriel,

Abs will be worked indirectly from the compound movements, so it's not necessarily beneficial to target them with isolation work depending on your goals.

Feel free to perform cardio on your rest days or after your workouts. So long as you are performing it, you'll see the cardiovascular benefits you're hoping for.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 00:05
Yajnesh

After this workout can I follow the barbell and dumbell workout

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Yajnesh,

Yes, absolutely!

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Posted Tue, 04/24/2018 - 16:29
Jermiah Gray

What is the barbell and dumbbell workout? I’m very interested in that one.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/24/2018 - 16:51
JoshEngland

Hi Jermiah,

I believe he is referring to this one: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbar-supersets

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Posted Sat, 04/21/2018 - 08:33
Yajnesh

Would you suggest me a dumbell workout training for 7 days a week

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Yajnesh,

I wouldn't recommend 7 straight days of weight training.

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Posted Mon, 04/09/2018 - 17:26
Joe McCool

Question....Day 1.....for example...should I do the 4sets of bent over rows then move to the next or alternate them...do one set from each then rest? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/10/2018 - 08:57
JoshEngland

Hi Joe,

Pull with both arms at the same time. It's a two arm bent over row, not a single arm. Perform for 4 sets before moving on to the next exercise.

Hope this helps!

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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
JoshEngland

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
Thanks!

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

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
JoshEngland

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
JoshEngland

Hi Dr-Mahmood,

It'll depend where you're working out? 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!