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Muscle building home dumbbell workout

Muscle building home dumbbell workout
Do you want to build muscle and don’t have the time to go to the gym or room for lots of gym equipment, but still want a great workout? Well this muscle building home dumbbell workout article will show you what exercises you can do and how to build a great physique with just a pair of dumbbells.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using dumbbells?


  • You can workout at home at anytime convenient to you
  • They take up little space
  • Can cost very little, although you can spend much more for more complicated and versatile dumbbell systems/sets
  • Are generally safer, much safer than lifting a barbell, especially over head lifts and bench presses
  • They allow unilateral lifting, helping iron out any imbalances in strength from your weaker and stronger side, training them more equally
  • They are great for stimulating your stabiliser muscles, with the potential to work more muscle fibres
  • Creates better coordination between muscle groups where it counts, therefore is more functional for day to day activities and use
  • You can use a larger range of motion than with most other methods of training


  • The amount of weight will be limited to what you can lift without the use of a spotter, rack or stand that you could otherwise use with a barbell
  • Limited to the weights you have/type of dumbbells you use
  • Need to ensure 100% concentration and use of proper technique to avoid injury and gain maximum benefit

For more about the types of dumbbells, please see here.

Building muscle and strength using dumbbells

Dumbbells are so versatile and can be used to create a great physique if you do the right exercises and perform the correct techniques improving your strength and muscular size.

Do the following exercises after performing either a 5 minute warm-up doing dynamic stretches and movements (see here) or perform a light warm-up set of the first exercise to warm-up your shoulders and muscles in general.

The following is an upper lower routine, where you will work each muscle group twice a week. You can do the workouts on the days that suit you best. For example you can do your upper workout on Sunday and lower on Monday, upper again Wednesday and lower on Friday or do your upper on Monday, lower Tuesday, upper Thursday and lower Friday, whatever works for you.

Do all exercises in the 8-15 rep range with 2-3 work sets for each exercise. I would also suggest alternating between light days and heavier days, for example if you do your upper on Sunday and Wednesday, then do one day lighter with 12-15 reps and the other day heavier with 8-10 reps.

You may also change the order of the exercises to suit yourself, but make sure to train your smaller muscles after your major muscles, such as biceps after back, triceps after chest and shoulders and calves after legs.

The following exercises are my pick, however you can follow the link in each section for these and other exercises.

Upper body:


  • Neutral grip dumbbell press
  • Side laterals

For exercise instructions and more shoulder exercises please see here.


  • Dumbbell bench press or floor press
  • Flat dumbbell flyes on a bench or floor or even a step box

For exercise instructions and more chest exercises please see here.


  • Single arm dumbbell row or two arm dumbbell row

If you have access to a door gym pull up bar, then also add some pull ups to your routine for a more complete back workout.

For exercise instructions and more back exercises please see here.


  • Dumbbell skullcrushers

For exercise instructions and more triceps exercises please see here.


  • Dumbbell curls

For exercise instructions and more biceps exercises please see here.

Lower body:


  • Dumbbell squat
  • Dumbbell dead-lift
  • Dumbbell lunges

For exercise instructions and more leg exercises please see here.


  • Dumbbell calf raise, either single calf raise or both calves at the same time

For exercise instructions and more calves exercises please see here.


  • Frog crunch with holds

For exercise instructions and more abs exercises please see here.