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!

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

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!

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!

532 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:30
Viktor

Hey there!
Really nice plan, cheers mate! Two question though.
I am able to do all the excercises with proper posture, except the lateral raises. That is quite challenging with the same weights (recently upgraded, but only 1 size now). Should I just keep pushing it to the limit (currently can't even reach top destination), focus on posture and expect improvement or better first substitute it with a different lat excercise and if so what's your recommendation?
Second is regarding the hamstring curls. Any tip for picking up the dumbbel easilly? I am usually struggling with picking up and putting them down in a normal manner.

Thanks for the help!

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:53
Abigail_M&S

Hey Viktor - when you say only 1 size, does that mean you only have 1 pair of dumbbells?

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 11:54
Viktor

Correct; working it through with 2*15kg dumbbells at the moment

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Posted Mon, 05/03/2021 - 13:18
Kevin

How often should I take a deload week during this program? I'm now 9-10 weeks in and upped the weights after 6 weeks in, but I'm wondering when I should deload (or if I should deload at all?)

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:46
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kevin - you can take a deload week once you finish the program.

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Posted Mon, 05/03/2021 - 07:02
goob

what workout should i go to after this one i only have dumbbells im underweight so my main prioity is to build muscle also is it normal that my strenght have increased but i cant see any changes on my body how can i know im not just gaining fat and that im also gaining muscle ?

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Posted Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:01
Abigail_M&S

Hey goob - do you have a bench as well? Or are you limited to only dumbbells?

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Posted Mon, 05/03/2021 - 13:28
goob

i also have a bench

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Posted Sat, 05/01/2021 - 12:07
Pranay Bhutia

After 3day spit workout with dumbbells ,I am going for 4 day spit program from 3May .Can I build muscle and transform my body .

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Posted Fri, 04/30/2021 - 13:20
Cody Fulgencio

Would I need a bench to do this workout?

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Posted Mon, 05/03/2021 - 09:59
Abigail_M&S

Hey Cody - yes you will.

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Posted Tue, 04/27/2021 - 07:11
Moos

Hey, im 15 years old im starting this workout today you think i can see results after 3 months?

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Posted Tue, 04/27/2021 - 09:50
Abigail_M&S

Hey Moos - results are never guaranteed, but as long as your consistent with your workouts and diet, you should see results

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Posted Sun, 04/25/2021 - 02:14
John

I don’t feel tired after the workout, and I’m not sore the day after. I do break a little bit of sweat, but I have no clue whether the workout is effective or if it’s helping me build muscle. Should I move onto something harder?

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Posted Mon, 04/26/2021 - 11:27
Abigail_M&S

Hey John - feeling tired and breaking a sweat don't always equate to a great workout. Stick with the program, push yourself on the weights a little bit, and keep track of your results.

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Posted Thu, 04/22/2021 - 18:45
Ian

I did my first day of the workout and I really didn’t start sweating or anything. Is that ok or am I doing something wrong? I don’t think I need to up the weight yet but I’m not sure. Also should I add any other physical activity like a running warm up or cool down?

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Posted Fri, 04/23/2021 - 10:32
Abigail_M&S

Hey Ian - a great workout doesn't always break a sweat. You can also add in additional cardio if needed based on your goals.

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Posted Wed, 04/21/2021 - 14:28
Andrew

I'm at the start of all this and just picked up some Ironmaster quick-lock dumbbells and an exercise bench and have been doing various exercises to get used to the motions, but when I go to do routines like this I'm not sure how much weight I should be using and how long I should be resting between reps and exercises. Any advice for a true beginner like myself is greatly appreciated.

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Posted Fri, 04/23/2021 - 10:29
Abigail_M&S

Hey Andrew! - you should use a weight that you can move safely and with correct form for the given number of reps. Rest between sets can be 30-60 seconds.

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Posted Fri, 04/16/2021 - 11:35
Brian

Any harm in turning the sets into 3 sections of supersets?
Exercises 1 & 2 as a superset * 4
Exercises 3 & 4 as a superset * 3
Exercises 5, 6 & 7 as a superset * 2

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Posted Mon, 04/19/2021 - 09:59
Abigail_M&S

Hey Brian - that is possible, however, it is best to follow the program as written.

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Posted Tue, 04/13/2021 - 20:21
Nicole

I was a little skeptical when I first found this because I thought I would need to do so much more to stay toned. But it ended up being my favorite routine and it works great for what I wanted (toning without a lot of time spent working out). You did a good job with this and the way it’s broken up keeps it from being boring. Thanks!

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Posted Sat, 04/10/2021 - 22:42
Chad

Do you suggest a deload week before progressing onto the 5 day program?

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Posted Mon, 04/12/2021 - 09:33
Abigail_M&S

Hey Chad - yes, that's a good idea.

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Posted Tue, 03/23/2021 - 10:58
Raph Dein

Hi,
Can the order in which you do the exercises be changed?

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Posted Wed, 03/24/2021 - 09:56
Abigail_M&S

Hey Raph - it's best to follow the program as written.

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Posted Mon, 03/15/2021 - 07:36
Kevin

I'm now at the 3rd week of the 12 and I'm loving this workout so far. What would you suggest I'd do for a workout when I'm done with the 12 weeks? Should I continue this workout with higher weights? Or should I go do another workout routine? If so, which one would you recommend? Thanks in advance!

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Posted Tue, 03/16/2021 - 10:06
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kevin - Glad to hear you're loving it! You can repeat this program once you're done with the 12 weeks.

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Posted Mon, 03/15/2021 - 03:57
Billy

EXAMPLE
Monday: UPPER
Tuesday: LOWER
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: UPPER
Friday: LOWER

You guys think it's ok to put an extra UPPER workout on Saturday, or do you think this would be too much?

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Posted Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:59
Abigail_M&S

Hey Billy - it's best to follow the program as written.

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Posted Thu, 03/11/2021 - 19:59
Kavion Blackwood

Can I switch up the days like for day one I do lower and day two upper body?

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Posted Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:57
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kavion - it's best to follow the program as written.

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Posted Thu, 03/11/2021 - 06:49
David

Hi,i don't have a bench.what exercises can I do as alternatives?

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Posted Tue, 03/09/2021 - 21:31
tom

hi there, just wondering should I do cardio on off days or same day as workout?.

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Posted Wed, 03/10/2021 - 09:50
Abigail_M&S

Hey tom - it depends on your schedule and how much time to do your workouts.

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Posted Tue, 03/09/2021 - 05:05
Joseph

Hi,
I have a pull up/dip tower + treadmill , how do i fit them into your training program. My goal is to lose as much fat as possible (im cutting and following a proper diet).
Thank you!

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Posted Tue, 03/09/2021 - 04:04
Robin

Hi, do you have a rough estimate for the amount of burned calories of each workout? Thanks!

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Posted Wed, 03/10/2021 - 09:49
Abigail_M&S

Hey Robin - no we do not. Calories burned per workout are highly dependent on the individual.

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Posted Fri, 03/05/2021 - 23:02
Daniel

What can I substitute for hamstring curls? I have a Powerblock adjustable dumbbell and there's no way to hold it between my feet.

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Posted Mon, 03/08/2021 - 11:07
Abigail_M&S
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Posted Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:00
Michael

I'm having trouble with the deadlifts... What exercise can I do instead of that? I'm a bit too worried I'll injure my back otherwise :(

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Posted Thu, 03/04/2021 - 09:40
Abigail_M&S
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Posted Thu, 03/04/2021 - 09:57
Michael

Thanks for the info. I do need to admit I'd rather do a completely different exercise, as I'm way too scared for my back... What would you recommend I'd do instead of a deadlift?

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Posted Fri, 03/05/2021 - 09:42
Abigail_M&S

There's a reason why deadlifts are one of the big 3 movements that programming revolves around. There are quite a few ways to get over your fear of deadlifts. First off, do your research. There are countless videos on YouTube that show deadlift form and break down the movement to help you execute it correctly. Next, you can film yourself from the side using light weights to get a feel for the bar and the movement pattern (the barbell and 10 lb bumper plates on each side). By filming yourself, you can see what you look like, address your form, and make any adjustments. Really focus on keeping those lats tight, brace your core, and using your glutes & hamstrings to move the bar. Finally, practice, practice, practice.

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Posted Sun, 03/07/2021 - 14:45
Michael

The problem is that I physically also cannot do a deadlift... I can't bend over enough to get into the right position. I want to train this so that I can of course, but in the meantime I hope to train with another exercise instead of the deadlift, while practicing to be able to do it properly. Is there any alternative I can do for the coming weeks while I train for my posture?

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Posted Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:46
Alex

Hey , I don’t can’t incline can i replace the incline press with another exercise?

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Posted Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:58
Abigail_M&S

Hey Alex - you can do close grip dumbbell bench press.

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Posted Tue, 03/02/2021 - 20:10
Christopher

Could weighted push ups and pull ups be added or replace a exercise in these workouts? All I have is calisthenics gear and adjustable dumbbells and I want to progress on push ups and pull ups.

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Posted Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:40
Abigail_M&S

Hey Christopher - if those are your priority, you can add them in at the beginning of your upper body workouts.

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Posted Mon, 03/01/2021 - 13:22
Michael

So I'm a 23 year old guy, 1.90m tall. I have been doing another workout the past few months with 10kg each dumbbell, should I increase the weight to 12kg each dumbbell for all these exercises?