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The 10 Best At-Home Dumbbell Workouts

You don't need the gym. We've got total-body and body part-specific routines you can perform in a 5-day split.
The 10 Best At-Home Dumbbell Workouts

You don’t need a gym membership to have a solid daily workout routine. Seriously. While it's nice to have the camraderie and competitive components of a big box or boutique gym, you can just as easily pack on muscle and hone a leaner, more defined body right in your own living room. While bodyweight workouts are great, adding some dumbbells to the mix can really takes things up to the level you'd get at a gym.

"With these 10 workouts all you need is three sets of dumbbells and enough space to move without breaking anything in your house or apartment," says Liz Lowe, CSCS., head program designer at Scorch Fitness, a high-intensity interval training gym in Sarasota, Florida.

She would know. She created these killer routines. Here's how it works. 

The workouts are set up in a 5-day split. You'll perform as follows:

DAY 1: Upper Body 1 
DAY 2: Lower Body 1
DAY 3: Core 1
DAY 4: Total Body 1
*Take two rest days and start DAY 1 of the following week on Upper Body 2, working your way through the second variations of the workouts. 

"Try this split for four weeks (switching between versions 1 and 2) and you'll see the fat burning and muscle building results you can get in the comfort of your home," Lowe says. Challenge accepted?

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This workout is done in giant sets (a group of 4 or more exercises that target one body part) with no rest in between exercises. "The continual movement of this workout will hit your entire upper body and leave your muscles burning," Lowe says. 

You'll Need: Three sets of dumbbells for this workout. A lighter set (10-15 pounds), a moderate set (15-25 pounds), and a heavy set (25+ pounds). Use the heavy dumbbells for the first tri-set, the moderate dumbbells for the middle tri-set, and the light dumbbells for the last tri-set, Lowe instructs.

Directions: Perform each tri-set once before moving on to the next. Complete all 3-sets for 3-4 rounds. 

10 x Pushups
10 each side x Renegade Row
10 x Floor Press
10 x Military Press

-1 minute rest-

12 x Bicep Curl
10 x Arnold Press
10 x Lateral Raise
10 x Front Raise

-1 minute rest-

12 x Overhead Triceps Extensions
10 x Triceps Pushups
10 x Triceps Kickbacks
15 x Reverse Fly

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"When done correctly this workout will make walking difficult for days after," Lowe warns.

You'll Need: One pair of heavy dumbbells; opt for 25 pounds or heavier.

Directions: Perform each exercise for 8 reps, rest 15 seconds, then move right into the next exercise. Rest 1-2 minutes at the end of each round and aim to hit 4 rounds total.

8 x Front Squat
-15 seconds rest-
8 x Split Squat
-15 seconds rest-
8 x Walking Lunge
-15 seconds rest-
8 each side x Stepup
-15 seconds rest-
8 each side x Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
-1-2 minutes rest-

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"The goal of this workout is to stay moving the entire time while the reps decrease with each set," Lowe says. Your abs will be ablaze from the first set to the last. 

You'll Need: One 10-15 pound dumbbell.

Directions: Move continuously from one exercise to the next, never placing the dumbbell down. Take no (or minimal) rest between sets. 

Set 1 - 20 reps each 
Set 2 - 15 reps each 
Set 3 - 10 reps each

Russian Twist

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"Strapped for time? This total-body workout will have you exhausted and done—fast," Lowe says.

You'll Need: A moderate-weight pair of dumbbells between 15-25 pounds. 

Directions: Move from one exercise to the next with no rest. Take 45-60 seconds rest between sets and aim to hit 4 rounds with perfect form.

10 x Squat to Press
10 each side x Reverse Lunge to Bicep Curl
10 each side x Lateral Lunge to Front Raise
10 x Manmakers (Pushup to Renegade Row to Burpee)

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"This workout combines weighted cardio movements with slow and steady heavy lifts to create a HIIT workout that's not for the faint of heart," Lowe says.

You'll Need: A pair of light dumbbells (5-10 pounds) and heavy dumbbells (20+ pounds)    

Directions: You'll move from light exercise to heavy exercise, performing each for 30 seconds, taking only the transition time as rest. Work through each pair (1A and 1B, then 2A and 2B) going down the line of moves until all four pairs are finished. Take 1 minute rest, then complete 2 more rounds (3 total).

1A. Dumbbell Jumping Jack (light dumbbells)   
1B. Pulse Squats (heavy dumbbells)       

2A. Overhead Dumbbell Butt Kickers (light dumbbells)  
2B. Military Press (heavy dumbbells)     

3A. High Knees (light dumbbells—holding at chest) 
3B. Wall Sit (heavy dumbbells—holding at chest) 
4A. Dumbbell Plyo Stepup (light dumbbells)            
4B. Renegade Row (heavy dumbbells)

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Rest-pause training can trick and force your muscles to grow since you can squeeze a few more growth-producing reps out of your workout. "A rest pause consists of finishing the designated amount of reps, resting 10 seconds, then performing the exercise again till failure," Lowe explains.

You'll Need: One set of moderately heavy dumbbells, between 15-25 pounds. 

Directions: Complete 3 sets of each superset, taking no rest between exercises and 45-60 sec. rest between sets. Then, complete a 4th set of each superset, completing a "rest pause" at the end of each exercise before moving on to the next superset. When you get through the supersets, complete the workout finisher.

12 x Bent Over Row
12 x Alternating Bicep Curl
-1 minute rest-

12 x Pushups
12 each side x Plank Tricep Kickbacks
-1 minute rest-

12 x Military Press
12 x Upright Row
-1 minute rest-

12 each side x Single Arm Row
12 x Hammer Curl
-1 minute rest-

12 x Chest Fly on Floor
12 x Close-Grip Chest Press (Press dumbbells together and keep elbows tucked in.)
-1 minute rest-

Workout Finisher:
8 x Shoulder I,Y,T (Front Raise, Y-Raise, Lateral Raise)
*No rest pause

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"The goal of this workout is to keep form as your muscles fatigue… which is incredibly difficult since the heavy-weighted exercises are paired with their weighted plyometric counterparts," Lowe says.

You'll Need: A light set of dumbbells (5-15 pounds) and a heavy set (25+ pounds) 

Directions: Perform each heavy dumbbell exercise with no rest in between exercises. Rest 30 seconds and move on to the plyometric exercises, holding your lighter weight dumbbells. Take no rest between the plyometric exercises and once you finish all three, take another 30 seconds rest before starting the routine over. Aim for 4-5 rounds of this strength-plyo combo.

Heavy Dumbbells    
10 x Suitcase Squat                
10 x Lateral Lunge                
10 x Romanian Deadlift            

Light Dumbbells 
10 x Squat Jumps
10 x Lateral Skater Jumps
10 x Alternating Lunge Jump

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"With three plank variations mixed in with concentrated abdominal work, your core will be working as efficiently as possible as you keep it stabilized throughout," Lowe says.

You'll Need: A set of lighter weight dumbbells, between 5-15 pounds.

Directions: This workout is meant to be done in a giant set which means you will move continuously between exercises until you finish the set. Take 60 seconds rest between sets and repeat the giant set for 4 rounds. 

10 each side x Plank T-Raise (In a straight-arm plank, lift a dumbbell up and rotate up into a side plank, keeping your eyes on the moving dumbbell. Bring the dumbbell back down and repeat on the other side.)
10 each side x Plank Spiderman
10 x Straight-Leg Situp (dumbbells overhead)
10 each side x Alternating V-Up
10 each side x Side Plank Hip Lift (Hold a dumbbell up with a straight arm. Keep it outstretched as you lift your hip up, then lower it down.)

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"Combining exercises in a superset can be just as metabolically challenging as performing multiple exercise circuits," Lowe says.

You'll Need: One set of moderate-weight dumbbells, between 15-25 pounds.

Directions: During this workout you'll be performing each superset back and forth for 3 rounds with no rest in between. Then you'll rest for 1 minute before moving on to the next superset. 

12 x Squat
10 each side x Walking Lunge with Rotation (keep dumbbells close to your chest during rotation)

10 each side x Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
10 x Renegade Row with Pushup

10 each side x Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
10 each side x Squat to Side Leg Raise (dumbbells in front squat position)

10 x Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press
10 x Dumbbell Plank Crossover (Place dumbbells outside of hands in plank position and transfer dumbbells from one side of body to the other while maintaining plank form.)

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This total body HIIT workout combines dumbbell strength movements with a cardio burst in between each set. When moving down into the mountain climbers keep the dumbbells in hand so you can easily transition into the next exercise. 

You'll Need: One set of light dumbbells between 10-15 pounds.

Directions: Move from one exercise to the little to no rest, taking a 2-minute recovery at the end of the circuit. Aim for 2-3 sets of the entire circuit. 

10 each side x Squat to Rotational Press
50 x Mountain Climbers
10 each side x Dumbbell Plank T-Raise
50 x Mountain Climbers
10 x Dumbbell Squat Jump
50 x Mountain Climbers
10 each side x Dumbbell Alternating Lunge Jump
50 x Mountain Climbers
10 each side x Dumbbell Wood Chop
50 x Mountain Climbers

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