Build Total-Body Muscle With a Dumbbell- Only Workout | STACK

Brandon Guarneri
- Brandon Guarneri served as a Content Director for STACK Media. He oversaw production for STACK Magazine and created video content with athletes and brands for...

Build Total-Body Muscle With a Dumbbell-Only Workout

November 5, 2012

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We get it. Sometimes, you just can't get to the gym. Life gets in the way, things get busy and you simply can't swing it. Or maybe, when you do get to the gym, it's so packed you can't use your favorite equipment.

Either way, champions don't make excuses. You can still train hard, even if you only have access to a couple of dumbbells. Our friends at Muscle and Strength have tons of workout programs on their site, like the "Dumbbell Only Workout" from powerlifter and contributor Steve Shaw. Read up on the keys to this routine below.

Dumbbell-Only Workout Keys

Progress Properly

One huge key to this program (and to quality strength training in general) is never to waste a set. Always use proper form, but force yourself to do as many quality reps as possible with the heaviest weight you can handle. If you're at the top of your rep range in the first set of an exercise, challenge yourself with more weight during the next set.

Avoid Failure

Many young lifters make the mistake of going to failure on every single exercise. Your body can only take so much. Instead of killing yourself, train to the point where you feel like you could fail with another rep, and stop just before you get there.

Fuel Up With Food

If you want to gain muscle, don't even think about cutting calories. The number of calories you need to maintain your weight is not the same as the number you need to grow. You can get stronger without eating enough, but you won't add size.

Dumbbell-Only Workout Details

You'll train on a three-day split with workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Avoid adding more work to the program. The recommended rep range for female athletes is 10 to 15 for most sets.

Check out the first day of the split below:

Monday
Full Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Squat 3 6-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 6-12
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 3 6-12
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 6-12
Two-Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 6-12
Sit-Up 3 10-25

Want the rest of the program? Head over to Muscle and Strength and get started.

Find more ways to get stronger at STACK.com/strength.

Photo: rippedfitness.org

Brandon Guarneri
- Brandon Guarneri served as a Content Director for STACK Media. He oversaw production for STACK Magazine and created video content with athletes and brands for...