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5-Day Dumbbell Workout – Your Comprehensive Guide to Dumbbell Workout

dumbbell workout


A common mistake that beginners make when starting to work out is to focus on the big, heavy machines. In reality, those machines are designed to isolate and target specific muscles. That’s the opposite of what you want when you’re first starting to work out.

Instead, performing compound exercises that target several muscle groups is the way to go. For this purpose, there is nothing that tops dumbbells. Note that the same applies to advanced athletes who want to stay in shape.

In this article, we will cover our 5-day dumbbell workout routine to help you hit all the muscles as efficiently as possible.

The 5-day dumbbell workout routine

5-day dumbbell workout – Day One (chest, triceps, and shoulders)

Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Lie down on a flat bench and hold the dumbbells.
  2. Position your arms on the sides with your shoulders slightly bent.
  3. Lower your arms slowly and spread your elbows.
  4. Use your chest to raise your arms up. When you reach the top, don’t let the dumbbells touch.
  5. Squeeze your chest muscles and hold the position for 2–3 seconds.
  6. Repeat this exercise 12 times for 3–5 sets.

Dumbbell Fly

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie down on a bench.
  2. Slowly raise these dumbbells so that they are positioned above your chest and your arms are straight. Ensure your palms are facing each other. This will be your starting position.
  3. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, open up your arms to lower the dumbbells to your sides. Keep lowering until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold this position for a moment before bringing your arms back to the starting position.

Single Arm Tricep Kickback

  1. Kneel on the bench and support your upper body with the non-working arm and knee.
  2. Place yourself in a tabletop position.
  3. Hold a dumbbell in one hand.
  4. Extend your arm until it’s fully straightened.
  5. Don’t forget to contract your triceps.
  6. Return to a rough 90-degree bend in a slow movement.

Overhead triceps extension

  1. Grip the inside of a dumbbell and position it over your head so that you’re arm is fully extended. You can do this while standing or sitting.
  2. Gradually lower the dumbbell behind your head while bending your elbows.
  3. Go as far as you can go keeping your body upright.
  4. Straighten your elbow by bringing the dumbbell back up to the starting position.

Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

This is a great exercise that targets the triceps to a greater degree however also engages the chest and shoulders. It provides variety to your workout, reduces shoulder pain, increases upper and inner chest activation while also builds bigger and stronger triceps. Make sure to aim for high reps.

Learn everything about this exercise here.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  1. Sit on a bench and grasp a pair of dumbbells with each hand and place them at your shoulders. This is your starting position.
  2. Raise the weights above you head slowly until your arms are straight.
  3. Pause at the top of this movement.
  4. Slowly bring the the dumbbell back to the starting position
Dumbbell bench pressTwisting dumbbell bench pressSingle Arm Tricep KickbackBent-Over Tricep KickbacksClose Grip Dumbbell Bench PressDumbbell Shoulder Press
Targeted muscle(s)Chest tricepsChest tricepsTricepsTricepsChest Triceps ShouldersShoulders
Number of repetitions6–126–1210–1210–1212-2012
Number of sets3–53–53–53–53-53–5

5-day dumbbell workout – Day Two (biceps and back)

Bicep curls

bicep curls
Just having a pair of dumbbells can be really beneficial and you can literally perform a full body workout. This workout will take you far, just remember to be consistence!
  1. Place your arms by your sides while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Curl the weights up as you exhale.
  3. Use your biceps to conduct the motion without leaning forward or arching your back.
  4. Lower the dumbbells to the initial position.
  5. Repeat this exercise 12 times for 3–5 sets.

Hammer Curls

  1. Stand up straight holding a pair of dumbbells on each hand. Make sure your hands a straight letting the dumbbells hang on your sides. Make sure your palms are facing your thighs so that the dumbbell is in a vertical position.
  2. Bend your elbows lift the weight towards your shoulders. Be sure that your upper arms don’t move and your wrists are in line with your forearms.
  3. Pause at the top of this movement and bring the weights back down slowly.

Concentration curls

  1. Sit on a chair with your legs apart.
  2. Lean slightly forward.
  3. Pick up a dumbbell with your right hand and rest the elbow against the inside of your right thigh.
  4. Curl the dumbbell toward your shoulder with your palm facing up.
  5. Pause at the top, then slowly go back to the initial position.
  6. Repeat this exercise 12 times for 3–5 sets.

Dumbbell row

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hinge your hips until the weights are below your knees.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and row the dumbbells to the front.
  3. Make sure the elbows are angled at 45 degrees away from your torso during the exercise.
  4. Pause in the top position, then slowly go back to the initial position.

Incline Row

  1. Set up your bench at 45 degrees.
  2. Lie face down on the bench so that your entire chest is supported by the bench and legs are behind you.
  3. While hanging your arms down, grip the pair of dumbbells ensuring that your palms face each other.
  4. Row the weights up so that your dumbbells are level with your ribcage. Remember to squeeze your shoulder blades and ensure not to lift your chest from the bench.

Renegade Row

Renegade Row helps the lats.
It’s a great upper body exercise that involves your chest and also your lats!
  1. Start in a pushup position with your hands placed on the dumbbells.
  2. Row one dumbbell to your side and balance the opposite hand and foot.
  3. When you reach the top, pause for a second, then return to the initial position.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Did you know that renegade row is also very beneficial for your lats. Even though it’s a “push” exercise and its a push up variation, it helps the lats significantly during the row motion. Related reading: Do push ups help lats?

Bicep curlsHammer CurlsConcentration curlsDumbbell rowIncline RowRenegade Row
Targeted muscle(s)BicepsBicepsBicepsBackBackBack
Number of repetitions10-1210-1210–1210–1210–128-10
Number of sets3–53-53–53–53 – 53-5

5-day dumbbell workout – Day Three (Legs and Abs)

Single Leg Deadlifts

  1. Stand hip width apart holding a pair of dumbbells on each hand,
  2. Start to lean forward shifting your weight on one leg while the other leg extends back.
  3. Keep leaning forwards while the weights keep lowering until your body forms a “T” shape. Your arms should be hanging down fully extended.
  4. Slowly bring the extended leg back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat with the other leg.

Reverse Lunge with Twist

  1. Hold your dumbbell in front of your chest.
  2. Step one foot back and lower your knee to the floor.
  3. Do not let your knee touch the floor.
  4. Twist your upper body from the midsection to the left side. Keep your hands in the same position.
  5. Squeeze your glutes.
  6. Step your foot back forward to go back to the initial position.

Forward lunge

  1. Engage your core muscles while keeping your back straight.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Take a step forward with your left foot and bend your knee until the left thigh is parallel to the ground.
  4. Do not let your knee touch the floor.
  5. Step back to the initial position.
  6. Repeat this exercise for the opposite side.

Dumbbell Jump Squat

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand and hang them on your sides.
  2. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
  3. Perform a squat and go down until your upper legs are parallel to the floor.
  4. From here, explosively push from your heels to jump upwards.
  5. Make sure your hands with the weight are by your sides.
  6. Land softly with the ball of your feet. Immediately move to the next repetition.

Learn everything about the dumbbell jump squat here

Russian Twist With Dumbbell

  1. Have yourself seated on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat against the floor.
  2. Hold one dumbbell near your chest and lean back slightly.
  3. Engage your core and lift your feet a few inches of the ground.
  4. Twist your torso to the left bringing the dumbbell beside your left hip.
  5. Return to the center and repeat on the other side.

V-Ups With Dumbbells

  1. Lie face up on the ground. Hold the dumbbell and extend your arms overhead. This is my starting position.
  2. Lift your hand, legs and upper body in one movement creating a V shape.
  3. Slowly return back to the starting position.

Looking for a full ab focused workout. Lucky for you we have put together the best abs exercises for you that will hit your upper, lower abs and your obliques. To find this, click here.

Oblique Side Bend

  1. Stand up straight holding a dumbbell on your left hand.
  2. Embrace your abs and bend your waist lowering the dumbbell on your left towards the ground.
  3. Straighten your torso and perform the crunch on the opposite side.

Because this is an exercise many get wrong, here is a quick video on how to do it properly.

Single Leg DeadliftsReverse Lunge with TwistForward lungeDumbbell Jump SquatRussian Twist With Dumbbell V-Ups With DumbbellsOblique Side Bend
Targeted muscle(s)legslegslegslegsAbsAbsAbs
Number of repetitions8-1210–1210–1210–128 – 1615 – 2012 – 15
Number of sets33–53–533 – 42 – 33 – 4

Day Four – Rest

Resting during this day is extremely important to give your body the chance to repair the damage and prepare for the upcoming training days.

5-day dumbbell workout – Day Five (upper body)

Single-arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

  1. Take a seat on the preacher bench and adjust the station so that there is no space between your underarm area and the bench.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with your palms facing up and have your arms straight with your upper arm rested on the bench.
  3. Curl the weight up while making sure that your upper arm is on the bench. Stop when the dumbbell is about shoulder height.
  4. Squeeze your biceps hard and pause for a moment and return the weight slowly back down.
  5. Do your desired repetitions and switch hands.

Bicep curl to overhead press

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells holding with an overhand grip. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Begin curling the weights keeping your upper arms stationary
  3. Once the dumbbells reach your shoulder, twist the dumbbells so that your palms are face out.
  4. Now perform a shoulder press movement lifting the weights over your head until your arms are fully extended.
  5. Slowly return back

Bent over Single Arm Dumbbell Row

  1. Bend over and place your left hand on a bench and have an even feet position.
  2. Reach down and pick up the dumbbell with your right hand. Make sure your arm is fully extended and your back is straight.
  3. Slowly lift the dumbbell to the side of your body near your chest while maintaining a steady torso.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell back until your right hand is fully extended.
  5. Do the desired reps for right hand and switch to the left hand.

Incline Bench Press

  1. Firstly, set up your bench at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Lie back on the bench and hold the dumbbells on each hand, positioning them near your shoulders.
  3. Slowly extend your arms and lift the weights above your chest. Your dumbbells should almost touch each other.
  4. Gradually lower the weights back to your shoulders.
  5. Perform your desired repetitions.

Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Lie down on a flat bench and hold the dumbbells.
  2. Contract your chest muscles and press the dumbbells against each other.
  3. Remove the dumbbells from each other but keep your chest squeezed.
  4. Lower your arms and spread your elbows apart (similar to the dumbbell bench press).
  5. As you lower the dumbbells, turn your wrists slowly and make your thumbs face each other.
  6. Hold the position for a second, then twist your wrists once again in the opposite direction to grasp at the peak of the action.
  7. Contract your chest and press the dumbbells together for 2–3 seconds.
  8. Repeat this exercise 12 times for 3 sets.

Bent-Over Tricep Kickbacks

  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hinge your upper body until the torso is parallel to the ground.
  3. Bend your elbows and make your upper arms in line with the torso.
  4. Extend at the elbow until both arms are straight, and then return slowly to the starting position.
Single-arm Dumbbell Preacher CurlBicep curl to overhead pressBent over Single Arm Dumbbell RowIncline Bench PressTwisting Dumbbell Bench PressBent-Over Tricep Kickbacks
Targeted muscle(s)BicepsBiceps ShoulderBackChestChest TricepsTriceps
Number of repetitions10-1210–126-810–1210-1212-15
Number of sets3–43–53-43 – 53-53-4

5-day dumbbell workout – Day Six (lower body)

The following exercises target the lower body. Choose 4 to 5 exercises to do on this day. Perform each exercise for 10–12 repetitions (3–5 sets).

Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. Stand about 2 to 3 feet in front of a bench or platform about knee height. Hold a pair of dumbbells on each hand with a neutral grip and have them hanging by your sides.
  2. Get into a forward lunge position with your right leg behind you elevated on the bench. Make sure to keep your torso upright and your hips square to your body.
  3. Lower your right knee slowly keeping your torso upright. Keep lowering until your front knee forms a 90 degree angle.
  4. Push from your front heel to come back up to the starting position

Dumbbell Side Lunge

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand so that your palms are facing each other.
  2. Have your feet shoulder width apart and stand upright placing your dumbbells by your sides next to your thighs.
  3. Take a wide step to the right side with your right foot landing on your heel. Make sure your arms are extended.
  4. Lower your body by bending your right knee to lower your body until your knee and hip form a 90 degree angle.
  5. Push back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  6. Perform your desired sets and repetitions.

Dumbbell Sumo Squat

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart and your feet are flared out. Hold the top part of a dumbbell so that your palms are facing each other and rest the dumbbell in front of your with your arms extended so that one end of the dumbbell hangs between your legs. This is your starting position.
  2. Lower the dumbbell and your body down by flexing your hip and knee. Keep lowering until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause for moment and push yourself up.

Dumbbell Leg Curls

  1. Have a dumbbell placed between your feet and lie face down on a bench. Lift your feet of the ground so that it is in line with your body. This is your starting position.
  2. Curl the dumbbell up until the top of the dumbbell is facing the ceiling.
  3. Slowly lower back to the starting position.

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Stand hip width apart with your knees slightly bent. Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand and place them in front your thighs with your arms extended.
  2. Bring your shoulder blades together and start to send your hips back to lower the weights down towards the ground. Keep lowering until the weights reach in front of your shins.
  3. Make sure your back is straight throughout this.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Standing Calf Raises

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand. Stand with your feet hip width apart and keep your arms extended with dumbbells hanging by your sides.
  2. Lift your heels of the ground and perform a calf raise.
  3. Slowly lower your heels back down.
  4. Perform your desired sets and repetition.

Front Racked Squat

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  2. Widen your feet slightly than your shoulders and turn your toes outside.
  3. Let the weights rest on your shoulders until you finish the exercise.
  4. Bend your knees and bring yourself down. Hold this position.
  5. Stand back up and repeat.

Day Seven – Rest

Finish the week by allowing your musculoskeletal system to recover and rejuvenate.

Importance of Rest Throughout This 5-Day Dumbbell Workout

With so many workouts coming at you every day, it’s easy to get lost in an exercise routine without taking time to recover. Throughout this 5-day dumbbell workout we have provided enough time for rest and recovery. If you’re looking to build muscle or burn fat, rest is just as important as exercise and form—if not more so. Rest days will help keep your body recovering and growing stronger and in turn, you’ll have more fun and be less likely to get injured. Try integrating rest days into your workout schedule every week. According to Medical News Today exercise daily without rests can cause both mental and physical exhaustion.

Summary of the 5-Day Dumbbell Workout

MondayTuesday WednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Chest, Triceps, and ShouldersBicep, BackLegs and AbsRestUpper BodyLower BodyRest

Takeaway message

Following our 5-day dumbbell workout routine will undoubtedly lead to impressive results. This plan targets all muscles without having to use complex machines.

We hope that this article will serve as a mini-guideline to help you explore your way in the gym or at home.

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