Dumbbell Workout Routine

Try This Effective 3 Day Dumbbell Only Workout

In This Article

If a dumbbell only workout sounds like your cup of tea, you’re at the right place.

This routine is designed for those who want to build some strength, build some muscle, and use only dumbbells.

So now you don’t have any more excuses to not make gains.

Diet and Nutrition Tips

You can beat your muscles down in the gym but the only way to recover (build) muscle is to fuel your body with quality food.

I try to stick to an 80/20 rule when I look at nutrition. This means that 80% of my meals are prepared by me and I make sure to get the best quality food that I can.

No, this doesn’t mean you have to get natural grass-fed free roaming cows who get messages every day and free range chickens who get to walk the beaches to benefit from eating whole foods.

Learn to Cook

Cooking isn’t as hard as you may think. I never was allowed in the kitchen as a child so trust me when I say anyone can do this with some patience. The trick is learning technique and then going after the complex meals.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know how to cook 5 course gourmet meals, but I have no problem eating enough varieties of a protein and vegetable to keep me happy. I made a pretty good meatloaf and lasagna once.

Long story short here is the sooner you learn to cook, the sooner you will notice changes in your performance and physique.

Recommended Supplements

Note: If you cannot get good foods into your mouth, this section is irrelevant. You really can’t out train and out supplement a crap diet.


There are a lot of pre-workouts on the market. Optimum Nutrition has a great pre-workout supplement that viewers love.

Their Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is a solid pre-workout for beginners and veterans alike. They are a brand that has stood the test of time and it’s a fair deal.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

They have a few flavors with Fruit Punch and Blueberry Lemonade both being my go-to flavors.


MTS Machine Whey Protein

I’ve yet to have a bad flavor from MTS. Their supplements are great, their flavors are seriously some of the best, and you get a great value. This is in my opinion the best tasting protein on the market. Period.

Marc and the team at Tiger Fitness do a great job with their product and they care about you as a person.

Great blend with no secrets, no amino spiking, and it is some of the best in the industry.

MTS Nutrition Protein


MTS Nutrition Machine Fuel

Again, I can’t say enough about their flavors. They are smooth, they don’t taste like medicine, and they are loaded with nutrients your body will need after crushing this men’s workout routine.

It’s a solid BCAA ratio, affordable, and tastes amazing.

MTS Machine Fuel

Related: Cutty’s Comprehensive Guide on How to Lose Weight in Your Face


I have a review of Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine and it’s a tried and true supplement. It will help with performance and recovery. I highly recommend this if you’re shopping for creatine.

Throw some creatine in your shake or shove a scoop in your mouth and wash it down… whatever works for you!

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder


Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Once you get your diet on point, taking a multi-vitamin is important as a strength athlete.

Get the most of your gains and life with this multi-vitamin.

Cardio and Conditioning Tips

I would recommend doing a short 20-30 minute cardio session post workout at least twice a week for optimum muscle growth and recovery.

If you are running low on time, a short 5-10 minute high intensity interval session at least twice per week will help with maximizing your progress.

Note: Some low intensity walking, hiking, bicycling, etc is helpful to improve your quality of life and recovery from your workouts.

Don’t Want to go to the Gym?

With everything that has been going on, it’s never been a better idea to exercise — especially in your home. Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of equipment to make progress in your physique and health.

In all reality, if you are a sedentary person, a bodyweight workout would help a lot.

Below are some links to a few pieces of equipment that I recommend using. They are affiliate links and allows me to keep providing helpful content. The equipment is not the cheapest you can find, but it’s the best bang for your buck.

Go to your local Craigslist’s Free section to see if anyone is giving equipment away. Facebook marketplace is another source you could use to find some decent gym equipment for a discount.


There are a lot of adjustable dumbbell sets out there and from my experience I recommend a set like these.

They are cost-effective, makes switching between exercises easier, and they adjust heavy enough to be effective for stronger lifters.

Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells

Your goal should be to find a set that you are comfortable with. If you buy some cheap dumbbells that you don’t feel safe pressing with, you won’t want to train with them.


“You get what you pay for” is a saying that generally is true… especially with gym equipment.

If you are wanting to start a home gym and on a budget, picking a solid adjustable bench allows you to perform multiple different exercises.

My buddy picked up this adjustable bench from Amazon and he loves it. I messed around on it and performed some decline bench, incline bench, and some heavier dumbbell rows. It’s a solid unit.

Workout Schedule

You can find three days per week to exercise. I generally recommend getting a rest day in between, but it wouldn’t hurt if you couldn’t.

Here is a sample schedule:

  • Monday: Workout 1
  • Tuesday: OFF
  • Wednesday: Workout 2
  • Thursday: OFF
  • Friday: Workout 3
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: OFF
Workout Day 1
Exercise Sets Reps
DB Squat 4 12
DB Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8
DB Lunges 2 20
Concentration Curl 3 15
1 Arm Overhead Tricep Extensions 2 20
Weighted Sit Ups 2 AMAP

Day 1 is a solid leg day that also trains your arms and gives your core a little love. Keep the rest periods low between sets and strive to add more weight each time.

Workout 2
Exercise Sets Reps
DB Flat Bench 4 12
DB Incline Bench 3 8
Incline DB Flys 2 20
Bent Over Lateral Raise 3 20
Skull Crushers 3 12
DB Side Bend 3 12

Day 2 focuses on more on pressing and shoulders. Enjoy some tricep work and ab work. You can always add more ab work in as you get used to the program.

Workout 3
Exercise Sets Reps
Single Leg DB Deadlift 3 8
Bent Over DB Row 3 8
DB Pullover 3 12
Cross Body DB Hammer Curl 3 12
DB Renegade Rows 3 12
Planks 3 60 seconds

Workout Tips

  • Start holding yourself accountable for what you eat and start logging your food.
  • Strive to add weight or reps every workout. If you feel strong one day, it’s okay to perform another set.
  • Add in some cardio like dancing, sports, or something that’s not running on a treadmill. The more fun you can have while exercising, the better of a chance you’ll make it a lifestyle change.

As always, be sure to comment or ask any questions below, I would be happy to answer them.

Related Workouts

14 thoughts on “Try This Effective 3 Day Dumbbell Only Workout”

  1. I just came across your article very good and knowledgeable, My question is im 5’7” 250 lbs and i want to loose the weight and build or tone muscles at the same time is your dumbbell workout plan good for loosing fat and building muscles thank you.

    1. Johnny, I recommend tightening up your diet, get plenty of protein, and increase your nutritious fat intake. Watching the calories will help you lose fat, and eating plenty of protein and fats will ensure muscle growth.

      Good luck!

  2. How long should we be in plank? The link to the video is saying to hold for 3 x 1 min sets, but you are saying 3 sets of 12. Just looking for clarity.



    1. Rhonda, thank you for asking. I am not sure why, I must have missed changing it to a time. 3 sets of 60 seconds will work.

      Thank you again.

  3. Just getting back “into it” after a 6 month hiatus. I found this article and it matches the advice that I received from a physician perfectly.

    I was previously using dumbells every day and was disappointed in my progress. This program provides the rest I was told my body needed.

    Thanks so much and I’ll be back!

    1. Joe, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad to hear your physician and I align in our methodologies. The problem with many physicians is that they don’t necessarily study kinesiology or anything that actually carries over to lifting weights.

      Good luck with your progress and be sure to check back.

  4. What if i dont have a “gym bed” to do exercizes that requires a “gym bed”, can j do them on floor ?
    And how does it will take me to see the result of the training ?

    1. However long it takes. It mostly depends on the conditioning of the lifter so there really isn’t a set rest period. 30-45 for small lifts and 1-3 minutes for big lifts if you absolutely need a time.

  5. is it intended to do each exercise full rep before moving on? Or cycle through them one at a time, or does not of that matter as long as I get through it?

    1. You could either do all of your sets and reps for one exercise and move onto the other, or you can do 1 set of an exercise and quickly switch to another – making a circuit.

      Both work well, but I prefer one exercise then once I’m done with all the sets to move onto another.

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