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When we think of resistance training, our minds often lead us to the gym. 

However, when you have limited equipment or time, you can end up skipping a workout. All the while, there’s a set of dumbbells collecting dust in the garage.

Why aren’t you using them?

Maybe you thought they couldn’t compare to the array of equipment at the gym. I’m here to show you differently.

Don’t let a lack of high-end equipment ruin your progress or trash your goals. Throughout my time training and my time as a trainer, I’ve heard every excuse there is. 

If you have dumbbells, there’s no excuse. Today, I’m going to share with you the best 5 day dumbbell workout split for muscle building.

Dust off those dumbbells and let’s get started.

What is a 5 day dumbbell workout split?

Related: 7 Day Gym Workout Plan

5 day dumbbell workout

A 5-day dumbbell workout split refers to training a different set of muscle groups each day using dumbbells. You do this five days a week.

Each day targets opposing muscle groups so that training days can be performed back-to-back without working the same muscles in succession.

This allows you to train more frequently while still having adequate recovery for muscle growth.

Is a 5 day dumbbell workout split good for muscle growth?

Related: Muscle Gain Workout Plan With PDF

A 5-day dumbbell workout split is a great way to increase muscle growth because it increases training frequency without overtraining.

Research indicates that you should dedicate 48 hours to recover.

With a 5 day dumbbell workout split, we can train multiple joint muscles and let muscle groups recover in between.

This means we can train chest, shoulders, and triceps on one day and chest and triceps on another day, without either day’s movements overlapping in training.   

What 5 day dumbbell workout split should I do?

Choosing a 5-day dumbbell workout plan should be based on your training goals and personal preferences.

Below is a list of different types of splits. Choose the one that suits your training style.

Push-Pull Split

The push-pull split refers to programming your workouts based on the types of movements – push and pull.

Push days consist of movements such as bench press, squats, overhead press, and any exercise with a pushing movement.

Pull days are for deadlifts, rows, chin-ups, and bicep curls.

Splitting your workout into push-pull takes a more functional framework, focusing on the movement rather than specific muscle groups.

Push-Pull-Legs (PPL) Split

PPLs take the functional-based training concepts of your standard push-pull split and add an additional day to train legs specifically.

This way, you get the benefits of a standard push-pull split while doubling up on your leg training.

Upper Lower Split

The upper-lower splits your training upper-body and lower-body training.

This is programmed as legs one day and upper body the following day, with a break in between.

It provides a clear separation of muscle groups, which can be beneficial to rest the joints of both areas on off days.

Full-Body

The full-body split takes the split training principles and programs them over one week.

This is typically done with three sessions per week. Each day contains a full-body session, with different exercises on each day.

Bro Split

Bro split refers to training a different muscle group each day of the week.

This typically takes the form of a chest, back, legs, shoulders, and arms.

This split is performed over the course of the week, allowing for two rest days, such as one mid-week and one on the weekend.

Want to learn more about training splits? Check out Bro Split Vs PPL: Guide To Which Is The Better Training Split

What are the benefits of a 5 day dumbbell workout?

5 day dumbbell workout split

Splitting your dumbbell workout routine is a great way to improve your training.

Below is a list of benefits of the 5-day dumbbell workout plan.

Versatility

Dumbbells are an incredibly versatile piece of equipment that allows us to train almost anywhere at any time.

Using dumbbells allows us to perform all movements required to build mass, strength, and power, all with limited equipment, cost, and space.

Increase Training Frequency

The 5-day dumbbell-only workout allows us not only to train with little equipment. It also helps us train on back-to-back days.

This means that you can train your push, pull, and leg days in succession from the comfort of your own home.

Increased frequency has also been shown to have greater results including increased muscle thickness. 

Strengthen Imbalances

Using dumbbells for your split-day workout is a great way to train muscular imbalances.

Dumbbells are versatile which is great for challenging planes of movement and addressing weaknesses in the body. 

A split routine also gives us more time to program rehabilitation and corrective exercise.

This allows target areas of weakness without omitting our larger compound movements.

Muscle Growth

The increase in training frequency combined with split programming leads to growth.

Add the built-in adequate recovery for each muscle group and you enjoy enhanced muscle hypertrophy

Variety

A 5-day dumbbell exercise routine is a great way to mix up your workouts.

With each day dedicated to a certain movement or muscle group, we give ourselves more opportunity to program different exercises.

This is where we can program additional leg exercises to increase growth or tack on corrective exercises for injury rehabilitation and prevention. 

Greater Focus on Target Muscles

The 5-day dumbbell workout split is a great way to increase focus on target muscles.

Dedicating movements and muscle groups to certain days of the week lets us perform multiple exercises for that area.

This allows us to focus on building our target muscles, performing each movement with the correct technique.

With better quality movements and increased volume, we get greater muscle growth.   

Time Efficient

Dumbbell exercises can be a great time-efficient alternative to long gym sessions.

When you train with dumbbells, you will not have to wait for more popular pieces of gym equipment, change equipment, or even go to the gym at all.

This can greatly improve and reduce the time it takes to train and eliminate common reasons why we skip training.

Best Dumbbell Exercises to Include in Any Workout Split Routine

Now it’s time to talk about what exercises you should program into your 5-day dumbbell workout plan

Here’s a list of 15 different exercises I’ve incorporated into your plan options. 

1. Dumbbell Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is a great variation that offers a comfortable holding position.

Holding the dumbbell at the front helps counterbalance our hips, lowering us to the floor.

It also helps keep us upright for the duration of the movement. 

Equipment Required

  •  Dumbbell

How To Perform Dumbbell Goblet Squat

  • Stand in the upright position with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Using a single dumbbell, cup one end so it is vertical with the other end hanging and closer to the floor.
  • To begin, unhinge hips and slowly lower toward the floor. 
  • Once your hips and knees reach 90-degree flexion, push back up to the upright position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Great for technique and balance
  • Comfortable holding position

Pro Tips

  • When performing the movement, tense glutes in the upright position to keep the focus on the hip hinge.
  • When pushing up to the starting position, focus on tensing glutes and pushing through hips. This will assist with performing the lift and developing glutes and hip hinge mechanics.

2. Dumbbell Deadlift

The dumbbell deadlift is a full-body movement that helps us build strength while performing a correct lifting technique that can be applied to real-life situations.

 Equipment Required

  •  Dumbbells 

How To Perform Dumbbell Deadlift

  • Stand in the upright position with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand resting at the front of your legs.
  • To begin, push back at the hips, lean shoulders forward, and gradually lower dumbbells toward the knees.
  • Once dumbbells are below the knees, begin to bend the knees while keeping the body leaning forward.
  • Lower until they reach mid-shin.
  • From here, push through legs and straighten knees until the dumbbell passes the knees.
  • Push through hips and tense glutes to return to the upright position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Full-body exercises
  • Builds correct lifting technique

Pro Tips

  • When performing the movement, lower dumbbells close to the body. This will help you control your movement and weight.
  • Throughout the entire movement, aim to have the shoulders over knees with the hips back. This will help you keep a straight back and evenly balanced to lift with the entire body.

3. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

The dumbbell stiff leg deadlift is a variation that targets the hamstring hips and glutes.

This makes it an excellent exercise for any dumbbell workout.

 Equipment Required

  •  Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

  • Standing in the upright position with feet shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • To begin, push hips back, and lean forward at the shoulders.
  • Keep legs straight and gradually lower the dumbbells to the floor.
  • Lower until the dumbbell is just below the knee.
  • From here, pull yourself, pushing through your hips to return to the upright position. 

Benefits

  • Targets hamstrings and glutes 
  • Full-body exercises
  • Builds correct lifting technique

Pro Tips

  • Beginners should focus on using a light weight. Allow the knees to be slightly bent, but do not continue to bend during the movement.
  • When performing the movement, lower dumbbells close to the body and lean forward. This will help distribute the resistance through the entire body.

4. Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell lunges are programmed to help us build unilateral strength.

It’s a good foundation exercise that can have many other applications in the gym for more complex movements.

 Equipment Required

  •  Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Lunges

  • Stand upright with dumbbells to the sides.
  • To begin, step forward with a leading leg and lower the rear leg directly down toward the floor.
  • Once hips and knees reach 90-degree flexion, push up and back to the upright position. 
  • Alternate legs with each rep. Repeat. 

Benefits

  • Targets glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps
  • Builds unilateral strength

Pro Tips

  • For beginners, gradually lower and test range of motion, increasing depth with each rep. This will help you familiarize yourself with the movement.
  • When performing the lunge, focus on dropping the back knee to the floor. This will stop any leaning forward or discomfort on the leading leg knee.

5. Dumbbell Sumo Squat

The dumbbell sumo squat is great for developing strength through the legs and glutes.

 Equipment Required

  •  Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Sumo Squat

  • Standing upright, place the feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with toes rotated out at a 45-degree angle.
  • Hold a dumbbell at the front of your hips. Gently push your hips back and lower yourself to the floor.
  • Lower until the knee reaches 90 degrees flexion.
  • Push up and return to the upright position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps
  • Builds unilateral strength

Pro Tips

  • For beginners, gradually lower and test range of motion, increasing depth with each rep. This will help you familiarize yourself with the movement.
  • When performing the lunge, focus on dropping the back knee to the floor. This will stop any leaning forward or discomfort on the leading leg knee.

6. Dumbbell Renegade Row

The renegade row is an excellent dumbbell exercise that uses the entire body to stabilize while performing the row.

Equipment Required

  •  Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Renegade Row

  • Using a pair of dumbbells, assume the push-up position with weight on toes, shoulders directly over hands and dumbbells.
  • To begin, brace the core and row one dumbbell up toward the body. Keep the elbow tucked close to the side of the body.
  • Row until your thumb makes contact with your side, then lower back to the starting position. 
  • Alternate hands. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Plank position engages the entire body

Pro Tips

  • For beginners, either start in the kneeling position or with your feet wider apart. This can help decrease body weight and improve balance. 
  • Before each row, exhale and tense your core. This will improve balance and control.

7. Dumbbell Chest Press

The dumbbell chest press is a staple to any gym workout as it is a great exercise for targeting the chest, shoulder, and triceps.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench

How To Perform Dumbbell Press

  • Using a pair of dumbbells, lay flat on a bench with feet firmly planted on the floor and arms straight up in the air over the chest.
  • To begin, lower the dumbbells, guiding elbows out to the side until they reach 90 degrees bent.
  • From here, press back to the starting position. Repeat. 

Benefits

  • Strengthens and builds chest, shoulders, and triceps

Pro Tips

  • For beginners, start with a lighter weight and focus on technique.
  • Have feet firmly planted on the floor and brace core. This will help you lift from a stable position.

8. Dumbbell Overhead Press

The dumbbell overhead press is a great exercise for building overhead strength with little equipment. 

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Overhead Press

  • Standing in the upright position, grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at shoulder height. Elbows should be bent at 90 degrees, with dumbbells, wrists, and elbows in line.
  • To begin, press the dumbbells up and toward the midline of the body until the arms are straight.
  • Once you reach the top, gradually guide and lower dumbbells out to the side so the elbows are again bent at 90 degrees. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets chest, shoulders, and triceps
  • Builds overhead strength

Pro Tips

  • For beginners, start with a lighter weight and focus on technique.
  • Have feet firmly planted on the floor, knees unhinged, and brace the core. This will help you lift from a stable position.

9. Dumbbell Single-Arm Row

The dumbbell single-arm targets the muscles of the rear shoulder and back, which makes it the perfect addition to your 5-day dumbbell workout split.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench or support surface

How To Perform Dumbbell Single-Arm Row

  • Using a bench, kneel on one knee with one hand making contact with the bench.
  • Position the opposite leg on the floor to brace.
  • With the opposite hand, hold a dumbbell.
  • To begin, engage the shoulder blade and row the dumbbell upward, keeping the elbow tucked to the side of the body.
  • Row until the inside of your thumb makes contact with the side of your body.
  • Once you reach the top, lower to the starting position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets rear shoulder and back muscles
  • The bracing position works the entire body to stabilize.

Pro Tips

  • Start light at first and get the movement down before increasing weight. 
  • When setting up position, make sure your branching hands, knees, and legs are comfortable. This will help you lift from a more comfortable position.

10. Dumbbell Pendlay Row

The Pendlay row is a fantastic exercise for building strength. Typically performed with a barbell, this variation provides a great level of comfort for the wrists.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Pendlay Row

  • Standing in the upright position with a dumbbell in each hand, bend forward at the hips 90 degrees so that arms hang.
  • To begin, gently squeeze shoulder blades and row dumbbells up toward your body.
  • Keep your elbow at 45 degrees to the side of your body.
  • Row until elbow reaches 90 degrees, then lower to the starting position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets rear shoulder and back muscles
  • The bracing position works the entire body to stabilize

Pro Tips

  • The bent-over position can be difficult to hold, so beginners should go easy on weight at first.
  • Start light and gradually increase weight. This exercise is great to load up for either strength or hypertrophy.

11. Dumbbell Bicep Curls

A classic movement, dumbbell bicep curls are a simple and effective exercise that are a must for growing your arms.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Bicep Curls

  • Stand in the upright position with feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells in hands facing forward.
  • To begin, lift dumbbells up toward the shoulder while keeping your elbow tucked to your side.
  • Once the dumbbell reaches the shoulder, gradually lower to the starting position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets biceps and forearms

Pro Tips

  • For beginners, start with a lighter weight and focus on squeezing the muscle with each rep.
  • To get the most out of this movement, unhinge the knees, exhale, and tense the core with each rep. 

12. Dumbbell Hammer Curls  

Dumbbell hammer curls are an ideal way to mix up your arm training. This variation targets forearms and increases width. 

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Hammer Curls

  • Standing in the upright position with feet shoulder-width apart, hold dumbbells by your side in the neutral position.
  • To begin, lift dumbbells up toward the shoulders.
  • Lift until the dumbbell reaches the shoulder.
  • From here, gradually lower to the starting position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets biceps and forearms

Pro Tips

  • If you’re new to hammer curls, work on tensing the muscles as you perform the movement precisely and with control. 
  • To get the most out of this movement, unhinge the knees, exhale, and tense the core with each rep. This will help engage the entire body and increase your capacity to lift.

13. Dumbbell Skull Crushers

The dumbbell skull crusher is one of the more popular exercises in the gym and is great for training triceps.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench

How To Perform Dumbbell Skull Crusher

  • Using a flat bench and a pair of dumbbells, lie on your back.
  • Position the arms up straight in the air, dumbbells and arms directly over shoulders.
  • From here, gradually lower dumbbells by bending the elbow. Lower them toward your head.
  • Once your elbows reach 90 degrees, return dumbbells back to the upright position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets triceps and forearms

Pro Tips

  • This movement can be uncomfortable when performing for the first time, so as always, beginners should keep the weight light. 
  • Keep elbows tucked in to target the triceps.

14. Dumbbell Lateral Raises

The dumbbell lateral raise is a great exercise that will help us increase the width of our shoulders by targeting the middle deltoid.

This exercise requires little resistance, which makes it a great addition to your dumbbell training.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Lateral Raises

  • Standing with feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand and to the side.
  • To start the movement, breathe and tense your abdominals. 
  • From here, gradually lift dumbbells out to the sides with straight arms.
  • Lift your arms parallel with the ground.
  • Once you have reached the top, gradually lower and return them to the starting position. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Increase shoulder-width
  • Builds 3D shoulders

Pro Tips 

  • Before each repetition, exhale and engage your abdominals. This will help you brace for a more stable movement.
  • Start with a lighter weight to begin and focus on the contraction of your medial deltoid.

15. Dumbbell Calf Raises

The dumbbell calf raise is a great way to train your lower leg. This exercise can be done almost anywhere, which makes it perfect for your dumbbell exercise routine.

Equipment Required

  • Dumbbells

How To Perform Dumbbell Calf Raises

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand to the side.
  • To start, push down on toes and lift heels off the floor.
  • Lift as high as you can, pausing at the top and holding the contraction.
  • From here, gradually lower heels to the floor. Repeat.

Benefits

  • Targets the calves

Pro Tips 

  • Pause at the top and focus on the contraction of your calf muscle.
  • When you become more comfortable with the movement you can increase the weight or stand with heels off the edge. This will allow you to drop your heels past the horizontal, increasing your range of motion.

The Best 5-Day Dumbbell Workout Program 

Below is the best 5-day dumbbell workout complete with a weekly schedule.

The split is based on a PPL split with push-pull performed twice during the week. 

Legs are trained once with two days designated for recovery. 

Push-Pull Legs Split

MonTuesWedThursFriSatSun
PushPullLegsRestPush PullRest

Push Day (40-45 Minutes Duration)

ExerciseSetsRepetitionsRest Time
Dumbbell Sumo Squat38-1245 – 60 secs
Dumbbell Goblet Squat38-1045 – 60 secs
Dumbbell Chest Press38-1230 – 45 secs
Dumbbell Overhead Press38-1045 secs
Dumbbell Lateral Raises3830 secs
Dumbbell Skull Crusher38-1045 secs
Dumbbell Calf Raises38-1060 secs

Pull Day (35-40 Minutes Duration)

ExerciseSetsRepetitionsRest Time
Dumbbell Deadlifts38-1245 – 60 secs
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts38-1045 – 60 secs
Dumbbell Renegade Row38-1230 – 45 secs
Dumbbell Pendlay Row38-1045 secs
Dumbbell Bicep Curl3830 secs
Dumbbell Hammer Curl38-1045 secs

Leg Day (30-35 Minutes Duration)

ExerciseSetsRepetitionsRest Time
Dumbbell Sumo Squat38-1245 – 60 secs
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift38-1045 – 60 secs
Dumbbell Lunges38-1230 – 45 secs
Dumbbell Goblet Squats38-1045 secs
Dumbbell Calf Raises3830 secs

Feel like a 4-day training split might be more your thing? Check out 4-Day Workout Split: (2022) Ultimate Routines For Strength and Muscle Growth

Pro Tips for a Successful 5-Day Dumbbell Workout

5 day dumbbell workout plan

Getting the most out of training is more than just pushing weight. It’s about the habits we create during our workouts and away from the gym.

So, here are my pro tips for a successful 5-day dumbbell workout.

Recovery

First on the list and one that many of us struggle with is recovery. 

Effectively recovering plays a vital role in muscle growth.

And is even more important during our 5-day dumbbell routine as there are only two rest days per week. 

Protein Intake

During recovery, you need sufficient protein intake to ensure the best results.

A protein supplement of 20g in the four-hour window post-workout is required to maximize the benefits of muscle protein synthesis.

On top of this, a daily intake of 1.6-2.2g per kilogram of body weight should be consumed for muscle hypertrophy.

Correct Calories and Macros 

When training for muscle hypertrophy, we need the appropriate fuel to get the job done. 

Research has identified that a calorie increase of 15% is required for muscle hypertrophy.

The recommended daily intake for men is listed at 2,500 calories and 2,000 for women. 

The addition of 15% for hypertrophy requires men to consume 2,875 calories and 2,300 for women.

Hit macronutrient targets of 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat to maximize results.

Follow a Suitable Diet Plan

To give you the best possible chance of reaching your training goals, consider tracking your nutrition.

This can be done using a nutrition tracking app on your smart device.

Choose an app that contains goal setting and food diary functions that allow you to track calories and macronutrient targets. 

While this may seem like overkill for many, watching your calorie intake provides more freedom.

It keeps you accountable for cheat meals and poor food choices and gives you the opportunity to work them into your macros, meaning you never miss a beat. 

Rest Between Sets

When training for muscle hypertrophy, stay on top of your rest time.

Studies illustrate that 30-60 seconds of rest between sets is beneficial due to the acute level of growth hormone during these workouts.  

Can I get ripped with just dumbbells?

You can get ripped with just dumbbells, with the correct resistance training routine and nutrition.

The American College of Sport Science recommends 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions at 75%-80% of repetition maximum is required for muscle growth.

This is combined with a protein intake of 1.6-2.2g per kilogram of body weight. Progressive overload will also help greatly increase results for getting ripped. 

Is a 5-day split good for building muscle?

5 day dumbbell workout routine

A 5-day training split is a great way to build muscle since we can train on back-to-back days while still having adequate rest in between.

This allows us to increase our training frequency for each muscle group, as well as increase the volume of training each day.

As discussed, these factors are linked to increased muscle hypertrophy.

How should I weight train for 5 days a week?

When programming to train five days per week, it is best to plan your session alternating muscle groups so that there is little to no overlap.

This helps us get the ideal window of rest of 48 hours between sessions, for recovery and muscle growth.

Training five days per week allows for two days of rest, with a rest day programmed mid-week and at the end of the week to break up your routine.  

Can I strength train 5 days a week?

It’s totally possible to strength train five days a week.

It works because of split programs; splits are designed to train different muscles on alternating days.

This gives you plenty of time to train, rest, and recover in a healthy way.

Final Thoughts

Dumbbells are one of the most versatile and effective training tools in (or out) of the gym.

However, when it comes to training strictly with dumbbells, they are often overlooked and seen as inferior as a sole means of training.

While they don’t provide the challenge of a loaded barbell or the point of resistance that a cable system does, they certainly can hold their own.

Dumbbells prove time and again that they can build high-quality muscle tissue.

Now it’s your turn.  What do you think of the list?

Are you going to dust those dumbbells off and give this 5-day split a try?

Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article with someone who can never make it to the gym.