4 Day Dumbbell and Bodyweight Fat Loss Workout

Stuck at home with only a single pair of light dumbbells? This 6-week program utilizes unilateral training and bodyweight exercises to help you achieve results!

Workout Summary

Lose Fat
Split
Beginner
6 weeks
4
30-60 minutes
Bodyweight
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

Whether your gym is closed or a busy schedule has left you unable to go through your normal workout plan, it can be tough to come up with the motivation to exercise at home with limited equipment.

For example, you may have that one pair of light dumbbells that are collecting dust in your closet or garage. Yeah, you could do something with those for a pump, but it’s not like you can get a serious workout with those, right?!

Wrong!

They may not be heavy weights, but you can make the most of what you do have and push yourself through a workout that is more challenging than you think. As a matter of fact, this six-week program can help you achieve measurable and noticeable results!

Recommended: Need help losing fat? Take our Free Fat Loss Course

3 Benefits of Using Lighter Dumbbells

No, the light dumbbells won’t feel like a challenge in the beginning, but if you train correctly, those dumbbells will make you work harder than you expect. There are a few benefits to taking on a program like this.

1. Unilateral Training

You can focus on one side of your body at a time, and the other side can’t assist. So if you find yourself being weaker on one side than the other, start with that side on all unilateral exercises so you can help bring it up and balance out your strength.

2. Less Toll on the Joints

Your muscles will feel challenged as you go through this series of training sessions, but since the weight won’t be very heavy, your joints and tendons won’t feel nearly as much impact. So, this could serve as a recovery program even though you’re still training.

3. Muscular Endurance

Performing higher reps make your muscles work longer than you’re accustomed to, and that translates into a higher rate of endurance. You'll also burn a few extra calories as well.

Related: Unilateral Training: Building Muscle & Strength Without A Barbell

About the Program

This program will have four training days in your week. They are push, pull, legs and abs, and full-body. You can perform this routine in any way that your schedule allows, but this recommended split of two days on, one day off could be a solid option to consider.

The exercises here should be simple to follow for anyone that is familiar with training. If you’re new to the iron game, then check out the exercise section here on M&S for easy to follow instructions on how to perform these exercises effectively.

  • Day 1 – Pull
  • Day 2 – Legs and Abs
  • Day 3 – Rest
  • Day 4 – Push
  • Day 5 – Full-Body
  • Day 6 – Rest
  • Day 7 – Rest

Keep in mind that this workout is based only on using one pair of dumbbells and your bodyweight. So there is no rack or bench, no bands, and no other options like a pull-up bar or dip station. If you have those at your disposal, by all means, add other movements into this or make substitutions.

Blonde woman doing forearm plank on yoga mat.

Pull Day

The focus here is going to be on the upper back (including the rear delts), biceps, and traps. Every dumbbell exercise is to be performed unilaterally. The reason why is because while one side is resting, the other is working. This will challenge your cardiovascular ability and minimize the overall training time. For unilateral exercises, the reps listed are the reps per side.

So let’s start with the first exercise, the one arm row, as an example. You can start with the side you feel needs help, and perform your first set. As soon as you finish, switch sides and perform the same number of reps. Your first side isn’t working after you switch, so that is your rest time for that side. Upon completion, switch back to the side you started with and immediately begin set number two. Continue following this training style with every unilateral exercise you do in this program.

As for the bodyweight movements, you get 30 seconds of rest in between. Use this time wisely to rest, sip your water or Intra-workout drink, and get back to work.

Pull Day Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
One Arm Row 5 30, 25, 20, 15, 10
Bent-Over Rear Lateral Raise 3 30, 20, 10
One Arm Upright Row 3 30, 20, 10
Seated Dumbbell Curl 3 20, 20, 20
Hammer Curl 3 20, 20, 20
Single Arm Dumbbell Shrug 3 30, 30, 30

Legs and Abs

The lower body and core can withstand a little more intensity, so this day is going to be a little more serious. That’s why it’s recommended that you take a day off after this one. If you need to take a breather after your sets here, you can rest for around a minute, but don’t waste time on your phone or sitting around. Make the time you commit to training count. The final exercise is for your lower back and is more of a stretch or isometric movement, but it will be of service after you do a workout like this.

Legs and Abs Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Split Squat 3 30, 20, 10
Single Stiff-Leg Deadlift 3 30, 20, 10
Walking Lunge 3 30, 20, 10
Seated Calf Raise 3 30, 30, 30
Weighted Crunch 3 20, 20, 20
Superman 3 30 seconds

Push Day

Now we shift our focus to the chest, shoulders, and triceps. If you don’t have a bench for the exercises you would normally do on one, use your floor. The range of motion won’t be as profound, but it can still be effective for the primary muscles being targeted.

Remember to follow the same principle for this workout as you did for your pull session. One side rests while the other works. If you are on a time crunch and must be done quickly, then go ahead and perform both sides simultaneously with 30 seconds rest in between sets.

Push Day Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Floor Dumbbell Press 5 30, 25, 20, 15, 10
Floor Dumbbell Fly 3 30, 20, 10
Lateral Raise 3 30, 20, 10
One Arm Overhead Extension 3 20, 20, 20
One Arm Kickback 3 20, 20, 20
Close Grip Push Up 3 20, 20, 20

Full-Body Day

This isn’t only a workout to train the entire body – it’s a cardio workout as well. Your goal is to get your heart rate up, sweat, and feel like you did serious work.

Instead of performing a rep range target, you will perform as many reps as possible (AMRAP) within a time limit. The amount of time you work is the amount of time you rest when you finish. So if your set calls for 60 seconds of exercise, rest for 60 seconds when you finish. 30 seconds of work calls for a 30-second break.

You will start with the lower body and work your way up. There is no more unilateral work here either. Work both sides at the same time. Beginners should complete one cycle of this workout to start with. If you consider yourself an intermediate trainer, then go for two rounds. Longtime training veterans could push themselves to do three if they feel the need.

Full-Body Workout

Exercise Sets Working Time Rest
Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise 1 60 seconds 60 seconds
Stiff-Leg Deadlift 1 30 seconds 30 seconds
Bodyweight Squat Jumps 1 60 seconds 60 seconds
Lying Leg Raise 1 30 seconds 30 seconds
Plank 1 60 seconds 60 seconds
Dumbbell Pullover 1 30 seconds 30 seconds
Push Up 1 60 seconds 60 seconds
Arnold Press 1 30 seconds 30 seconds
Dumbbell Curl 1 60 seconds 60 seconds

How to Progress Further

If you finish this program and need a way to challenge yourself further, then you have a few options to consider.

Slower Rep Speed - Instead of performing the reps as you normally would, concentrate on longer negatives and contractions at the top. This could cause your muscles to fatigue faster.

Less Rest – Try to cut down the rest time on some exercises. If you have been resting for one minute, shoot for 45-second breaks. You may be surprised how much a quarter of a minute could make a difference.

Flex in Between Sets – When you finish a set, take a few seconds to contract and flex that muscle group. Perform a bodybuilding pose and squeeze the muscles as hard as you can before taking your break.

Related: How to Change Your Workout Program for Non-Stop Gains

Conclusion

You won’t always have optimum preferences when it comes to training, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best out of your available options. Even with a pair of light dumbbells and your bodyweight, you can make gains and see improvements. A workout like this can serve its purpose until you are able to resume your normal training life.

27 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 06:35
Stephen

Can I do this program everyday instead of exercising for 2 day and then resting?

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 11:48
Abigail_M&S

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

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Posted Tue, 04/13/2021 - 17:44
Brian

Are all movements done unilaterally? Such as the walking lunge?

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Posted Mon, 04/05/2021 - 11:50
Net

I'm trying to get under 20% bodyfat. Would this routine work better than the 5 day dumbbell routine?

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Posted Tue, 04/06/2021 - 10:02
Abigail_M&S

Hey Net - losing weight is highly dependent on your diet and eating in a caloric deficit. The 5 day program will have you working out an extra day per week which will most likely burn more calories.

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Posted Tue, 04/06/2021 - 10:56
Net

I would like to pretty much maintain the weight but lower the body fat percentage

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Posted Mon, 03/29/2021 - 07:18
Marco Dieguez

So my wife and I are going to start this today. I have two questions. We have adjustable dumbbells that go from 10-50lbs. Will that work? Second question, why are there no bench press movements for chest?

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Posted Mon, 03/29/2021 - 10:36
Abigail_M&S

Hey Marco - yes, those dumbbells will work. For chest, there is a floor dumbbell press on push day.

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Posted Tue, 03/23/2021 - 17:52
Lou

Weight wise, how much weight do I have to use on those dumbbells' ? And do I have to use the same weight for every set of an exercise or increase the weight as the reps goes down ?

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Posted Wed, 03/24/2021 - 09:34
Abigail_M&S

Hey Lou - this particular workout is designed to use a single pair of light dumbbells. You'll use that same light weight across all sets.

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Posted Thu, 03/18/2021 - 03:58
jellal

can i replace split squad with another move? its very hard to do for me. what move should i do?

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Posted Thu, 03/18/2021 - 09:18
Abigail_M&S

Hey jellal - you can replace it with this movement: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/dumbbell-split-squat

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Posted Tue, 03/16/2021 - 20:08
Rene

Will this add some muscle?

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Posted Wed, 03/17/2021 - 10:55
Abigail_M&S

Hey Rene - yes, you can gain muscle with this program.

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Posted Wed, 02/24/2021 - 21:54
April

When it says 30 rep for split squat for example, 30 each leg or 15 each leg?

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Posted Thu, 02/25/2021 - 09:54
Abigail_M&S

Hey April - 30 each leg.

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Posted Fri, 02/12/2021 - 13:52
Jayvyn

Hi what kind of diet would work best? I'm trying to lose 10 pounds, and gain more muscle, so should i eat high
protein, or should I eat a balanced diet?

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Posted Mon, 02/15/2021 - 09:30
Abigail_M&S

Hey Jayvyn - check out this article on the breakdown of macros for fat loss, muscle gain, etc: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/determine-daily-calorie-macro...

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Posted Wed, 02/10/2021 - 13:43
MegaS

Hi, thanks for this workout plan! As a beginner, will I need any warm-up before each day's workout?

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Posted Fri, 02/12/2021 - 09:50
Abigail_M&S

Hey MegaS - check out this guide on warming up: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

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Posted Wed, 01/20/2021 - 12:24
Abdullah Aamir

Hey, the workout is great and all but would nt it be more effective if was a 5 or 6 day split? Plz help I want to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass

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Posted Thu, 01/21/2021 - 08:39
Abigail_M&S

Hey Abdullah - this workout is effective and can get you results. Remember, muscle growth and fat loss is highly dependent on diet and consistency in the gym.

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Posted Sat, 01/16/2021 - 21:36
John Bain

that Split Squat kills !

30,20,10 reps ...ug

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Posted Sun, 01/10/2021 - 03:37
Rado

Hey M&S Team,
Would it be possible any how to say how many calories get burned per workout? I have completed three rounds of the workout now and have progressed onto the recommended tricks - i.e. slower reps, less rest, "Full Day" Workout I complete two rounds. I am really keen on finding out what effect this would have on calorie burn? It might be quite difficult to determine, but wanted to give it a try.

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Posted Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:38
Abigail_M&S

Hey Rado - caloric burn is highly dependent on the individual. The most effective way to determine your caloric burn is using a chest heartrate monitor or wrist fitness tracker.

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Posted Sun, 12/27/2020 - 02:35
Gaurav

Nice workout plan ... It's working ... Do I need to do cardio like burpees with it

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Posted Mon, 12/28/2020 - 09:21
Abigail_M&S

Hey Gaurav - you can add in additional cardio after your workouts 2-3 times per week if you would like.