Dumbbell Workout for Beginners

dumbbell triceps exercise


The following dumbbell workout has been designed for beginners and intermediates. It's a full body workout that can be performed two to three times per week depending on your level of fitness.

The workout targets all of the major muscle groups and uses one exercise per muscle group. In addition, this workout can be done in the comfort of your own home or in the gym. For more advanced dumbbell routines, please click here.

The main purpose of this routine help promote strength and muscle tone while giving your body a sense of balance and stablilization.

The training sequence is as follows:

Day 1: Monday Workout A
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 3: Wednesday
Workout A
Day 4: Thursday
Day 5: Friday Workout A
Day 6: Saturday
Day 7: Sunday Rest

Let's take a look at the workout:

Workout Points

Duration: 6 to 8 weeks
Goal: To improve strength levels and muscle tone. In addition to help improve balance and muscle stabalization.
- If you are a complete beginner start with two workouts per week and work up to three per week. There is one light cardio sessions per week

- The workout targets all the major muscle groups.

- Perform the workout at a moderate pace. Only proceed to the next set once your are rested. Rest times are provided below.

Weight Increments: For the first 4 weeks, keep the weight at a constant level. The idea is to help improve balance and muscle stabilization. Once you are comfortable with an exercise and can perform the prescribed repetitions in good form easily, use heavier dumbbells for the next workout.

Rest: As indicated below. However, only proceed once you are fully rested. Once an exercise is complete, proceed to the next exercise and perform once you are rested.

Water: Ensure you drink at least 2 cups of water before your workout and 3 during and another 2 afterwards in order to keep the muscles hydrated and working at optimal levels.

Cardio: I suggest performing a 5 - 10 minute warm up prior to the workout. Also perform 15 minutes of cardio after each session

Repeat workout cycle after day 7 (start the cycle over)

The Workout

Workout A - Monday - Wednesday - Friday
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Warm up: 5 - 10 minutes light cardio (walking, treadmill, bike etc.)      
Dumbbell Squat 2 10 reps 40 seconds in between each set - Stretch in between each set
Stiff Leg Dumbbell Dead Lift 2 10 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise 2 15 - 20 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 2 10 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 2 10 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 2 10 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls 2 10 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Lying Dumbbell Extensions 2 10 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Crunches 3 20 - 30 reps Rest 40 seconds in between each set.
Cardio (light to moderate) 15 minutes in duration
Saturday - Light Cardio Session
Perform 20 - 30 minutes of light cardio. This can include walking, biking, hiking, treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical and other cardio devices.

Once you have been performing cardio for more than 6 weeks, you can try integrating more advanced cardio techniques such as interval training. Once you're comfortable with your cardio, try choose between beginners to advanced interval cardio sessions at:

Cardio Interval Workouts

If you have access to an elliptical trainer, try our elliptical interval session here .

Repeat cycle after day 7

Try giving this routine a try for at least 6 - 8 weeks. Please feel free to adjust to your personal schedule. Remember, if you are a complete beginner try performing two workouts per week for the first 2 or 3 weeks and once you're comfortable add in another workout for the week.

In terms of how much weight to use, I suggest using light dumbbells to start. For example, if you have a hard time doing squats with dumbbells, try using no weight for the first couple of weeks. Once you're comfortable with the exercise use a pair of 5 pound dumbbells. Use light dumbbells for the first couple of weeks to gauge how well your body responds. If you can't perform the prescribed repetitions use lighter dumbbells and slowly work your way up.

I suggest using a workout log for this routine. For general workout logs, please see this page here.

To find the amount of weight you need to be using, please use the one repetition maximum tool here.

If you have any questions about this program, please email me at:

buildingmuscle101 @ vianet.ca (please excuse the spaces - avoid spam bots)

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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