Dumbbells Only- At Home Workout

When you have dumbbells only and still need to get results from your workout, print this list of dumbbell only exercises!

When my gym closed down exactly one week ago, I was devastated! I’m 12 weeks away from a bodybuilding show, and I had really started to see some muscle gains. The weights I was lifting were getting progressively heavier and my time in the gym felt very productive. But mostly, I was so very consistent. I never missed a day.

Dumbbells only at home workout list

Until…. the gym closed. My first workout at home was depressing. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to maintain the muscle I had built from lifting the light weights I had at home.

After two days of feeling sorry for myself, I realized there was no use in complaining. I had to make the most of my home workouts, because I have no idea when the gyms will open up again.

Now, exactly one week later, I can honestly say I love the workouts I’ve been doing. In fact, I was even sore after my last lower body workout. Who know’s.. I just might save my gym membership and make home workouts a regular thing.

I had 5 lb, 8lb dumbbells. My son had 25 lb dumbbells. So, I figured, If I just got some 10, 15, and 20 lbs, I’d be set. Dumbbells are not cheap. I was aiming for under $1/lb ,and found some at Dick’s for really close to that. Walmart and Target were completely sold out when I went to look for some! (here’s some on Amazon, but the pricing fluctuates)

For the workout, I like to have a list and choose a two from each muscle group to do. That way, I can mix it up, and do the exercises I’m in the mood for. To add variety and challenge to muscles, I also split the workouts like this:

  • Day 1: Upper body day- Low weights, high reps.
  • Day 2: Lower body day: Low weights, high reps.
  • Day 3: Upper body day: Heavy weight, low reps
  • Day 4: Lower body day: Heavy weight, low reps.
dumbbell printable exercises

I also like to throw in some pulses and very slow, controlled movements to activate the muscles even more.

Upper body dumbbell exercises

For the sake of the upcoming bikini show, I’m really focusing on shoulders. Building your shoulders can give your body the appearance of having a smaller waist, so many bikini competitors will try to make their shoulders stand out a little more.

Shoulders

  • Overhead press
  • Lateral raise
  • Front raise- variations: Both arms lifted and alternating arms.
  • Upright row
  • Bent over dumbbell raise
  • Arnold press

Back

  • Bent over, two arm row
  • Single arm row (in a lunge or on a bench)
  • Deadlift (focusing on using your upper back to lift)
  • Bent over fly
  • Upright row
  • Dumbbell pullover

Chest

  • Lying down chest press (on a ball or bench)
  • Dumbell fly, lying down (on a ball or bench)
  • Pushups (variation, incline pushups)

Biceps

  • Bicep reverse grip curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Bicep palms up grip curls
  • Single arm concentration curl

Triceps

  • Overhead , single dumbbell tricep extension
  • Tricep kickbacks
  • Tricep dips on edge, counter, or bench
  • skull crusher

Lower body dumbbell exercises

Everyone has their favorites, and I love leg day! Especially glutes. I’d train them all day long if my body would let me. Here are my favorite lower body exercises that you only need dumbbells for!

I strongly believe you shouldn’t make exercises complicated. You will get more out of basic exercises than trying to get creative. Classic moves will give you big results.

Although I’ve broken these down into muscle groups, most of these exercises are going to stimulate glutes, hamstrings and quads altogether.

Glutes

  • Hip thrusts
  • Sumo squats
  • Close feet squats
  • Squats with heel elevated
  • Deadlift
  • Single leg deadlift
  • Reverse lunges
  • Walking lunges
  • Glute bridge

Hamstrings/ Quads

  • Dumbbell step ups
  • Dumbbell lateral lunges
  • Rear foot elevated split squat.
  • Lunge with hold at the bottom.

Calves

  • Standing calf raises (single foot and double)
printable list for dumbbell only exercises you can do from home

For a google spreadsheet file of this that you can copy for your own and edit, use this link. You can’t edit unless you make your own copy and save it to your own drive.

Dumbbells only at home workout

17 Comments

    1. Hi Kristen! I don’t yet. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do though, I just have felt too old to be that person who records their workouts. haha!But, I’ll bite the bullet and get some photos or video soon!

  1. So glad I found you here. I just started Body For Life (again)one week ago. I did it 22 yrs ago when I was 30 and got great results. I will incorporate your DB exercises on my training days. I have a question though. How many reps and at what intensity level are you doing in your low weight/high rep days?
    Thanks so much, you’ve got a ton of helpful info here. I printed out your weight training template above to use as a guide.

        1. Good morning!!Did I reply to you on this?
          Right now, My workouts are:Monday: Leg day- 4 sets of 6-10, lifting to failure.  (5 different exercises each day)Tuesday: shoulder day, 4 sets of 6-10, lifting to failureWednesday: back day- 4 sets of 6-10, lifting to failureThursday Leg day- 4 sets of 6-10, lifting to failure.Friday- shoulder day, 4 sets of 6-10, lifting to failureSaturday- Biceps, triceps, 4 sets of 6-10, lifting to failureAnd cardio, 45-60 minutes, 6 days a week! 

          1. Are u doing LISS or HIIT for 45 to 60 min? I’m assuming it’s LISS bcz HIIT for that long would be a killer!

          2. Hi there!
            Do you do your cardio before or after the weights?

            Thank you,
            Sarah D

  2. Hi Amy,
    I came across your blog not long ago and have found it incredibly helpful. I have a couple questions about your at-home dumbbell workout as I would also love to add some strength days to my routine which is currently a lot of dance cardio. I was wondering what weights you would use to do your low weights high reps routine and how many reps would you do for that specific routine and also how many reps would you do if you were using heavier weights? Thanks and I really appreciate your content!

    1. Hi Nina!So glad you found me.  When I say low weights high reps, I’m using weights heavy enough to get 12-15 reps, without being able to do more.For high weight – low reps, the weight is heavy enough that I lift to failure after only 6-8 reps.
      You’ll definitely have to try a different weight to learn which ones will do this for you. For example, lateral raises, I can lift only 5 lbs 12 times. and then I increase to 10 lbs, and I can only squeeze out 6 reps.
      Does that make sense?

      1. I asked this question above. You can disregard my question as I see the answer here. Thank you. I was thinking high reps would be around 20 to 25 but I guess the weight would be too low if I can do that many right?

        1. yeah, for the most part, If you can get that many reps out, you probably aren’t using heavy enough weights to make much strength progress. Increase the weights for sure!

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