14 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for Overall Strength and Mass

At-home training can be tricky, especially if you do not have the right equipment, tools, and/or loading. For more serious lifters, gaining maximal strength, muscle mass, and sports performance (powerlifting, CrossFit, weightlifting, etc) can be limited without barbells, dumbbells, and weight.

There are, however, certain workouts that can be done at home with dumbbells (and some bodyweight exercises) that can keep you on track with building overall strength and muscle mass until you can find yourself heavier loads and bars.

In this article we will offer up 14 workouts to help serious strength, power, and fitness athletes develop greater sport specific strength, muscle mass (hypertrophy), movement, and physical fitness.

  • 3 Benefits of At-Home Dumbbell Workouts
  • 3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for CrossFit/Fitness Athletes
  • 3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for Powerlifters and Strength Competitions
  • 3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for Olympic Weightlifters
  • 3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for Olympic Weightlifters
  • 2 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for Weekend Warriors

3 Benefits of Doing At-Home Dumbbell Workouts

Below are three (3) primary benefits of at-home dumbbell workouts for strength and muscle mass. Note, that the below benefits only hit the tip of the iceberg of dumbbell training benefits. You can learn more about the benefits of dumbbell and unilateral training here.

Train Around Busy Schedules

The beauty of at-home workouts is that they can be done at your own place of residence, whenever you want. For many of us, busy life, work, and travel schedules can stand in the way of optional training, recovery, and sleep. At-home dumbbell-based workouts can be done to not only increase overall fitness and muscle strength/hypertrophy, but also can help you stay on track with your goals as it minimizes the time investment needed to commute to and from training facility/gym.

[Improve your home workouts by adding a cardio element! Check out the best treadmills for home workouts!]

Increase Lean Muscle Mass (Accessory Work)

Strength, power, and fitness athletes should know by now the importance of accessory training. Increased lean muscle mass, enhanced movement patterning and control, and diversification of one’s fitness are all benefits of accessory training in a well-designed program. Due to time constraints (or general fatigue after main power and strength lifts), some athletes skip out on their accessory exercises, ultimately leaving progress and gains on the table. At-home dumbbell workouts can be done from the comfort of your own home later in the day after hard gym workouts or on days where it may be more difficult to get your training in at the gym.

Improve Overall Health and Fitness

While training in general can improve overall strength and fitness, some athletes may find that diversifying their workouts to include lighter-based exercises (like the ones below) can improve muscle growth, movement patterning, and body composition. By adding these home-gym based workouts into your training routine (these workouts can also be done at the gym with dumbbells) you can improve other aspects of fitness such as unilateral strength, movement coordination, and new muscle growth.

3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for the CrossFit/Fitness Athlete…

Below are three (3) dumbbell workouts that you may or may not have seen before. The first two workouts are straight from regionals and open dumbbell WODs, making them great tests of fitness in the sport of CrossFit. The last workout is a total-body workout that builds strength, muscle, and endurance.

Workout 1 (2017 CrossFit Regionals Workout #2)

This workout is simple and straightforward, but it is anything but easy. Test your strength, power, and mental stamina in this all-out sprint of a workout. We did swap ring dips for push ups for safety reasons (see below).

  • CrossFIT Regionals Workout #2
  • 21-15-9 rep scheme
  • Dumbbell Snatch – 80/55 lbs (Men/Women)
  • Hand Release Push Ups (the original workout was with Ring Dips, however I strongly urge you to perform push ups instead, as there were a number of pectoral injuries during this workout, for whatever reason. Note, that if you are to do this workout with ring dips, please do so at a manageable yet fast pace, and never sacrifice quality over quantity)

Workout 2 (CrossFit Open 17.1)

The below workout was from the 2017 CrossFit Open, workout 17.1, which was a 20-minute workout, done in ascending ladder fashion. This workout included two total body movements that challenged lifters/athletes across a longer time domain, making it perfect for muscular endurance and stamina. If you do not have a box, you can substitute the burpee bench jump and over OR the burpee over dumbbell.

  • 20-Minute Time Cap
  • Perform the following movements in the below order, ascending in repetitions each round until you complete all rounds or until the time cap. Your score is the total repetitions performed in the 20-minute period OR the total time to completion.
  • Weight – 50/35 lbs (Men/Women)
  • 10 Dumbbell Snatch and 15 Burpee Box Jump and Overs
  • 20 Dumbbell Snatches and 15 Burpee Box Jump and Overs
  • 30 Dumbbell Snatches and 15 Burpee Box Jump and Overs
  • 40 Dumbbell Snatches and 15 Burpee Box Jump and Overs
  • 50 Dumbbell Snatches and 15 Burpee Box Jump and Overs

Workout 3 (Total Body Emphasis)

Below is a workout that is broken up into two parts, the first an EMOM (every minute on the minute) and the second an AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible) workout, each one lasting 16 minutes. Be sure to take about five (5) minutes of rest in-between each sub-workout to ensure adequate recovery.

EMOM 1 (16 minutes)

  • Even – Double Dumbbell Thruster x 10 repetitions
  • Odd – Dumbbell Swing x 10 repetitions
  • 8 Rounds

AMRAP (16 minutes)

  • 400m run
  • 2 Turkish Get Ups (1/arm), heavy as possible
  • Dumbbell Renegade/Plank Row x 10 repetitions (5/arm)

3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for the Powerlifter…

The barbell is a necessary tool for powerlifting training, as it allows a lifer to use the exact equipment needed to compete in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. The below workouts should be done in combination with barbell strength and technique workouts to maximize performance. Note, that the below workouts, while beneficial, will not sufficiently develop maximal strength and barbell technique for competitive powerlifters. Be sure to not neglect fundamental barbell squat, bench press, and deadlift training.

Workout 1 (Upper Body Emphasis)

  • Weighted Pull Up – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Arm Bar – 4 sets of 5 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, heavy as possible
    • Dumbbell Seal Row – 4 sets of 12-15, as heavy as possible
    • Dumbbell Shrug – 4 sets of 12-15, as heavy as possible
  • Dumbbell Upright Row/Cuban Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Double Incline Flye – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Skull Crusher – 4 sets of 10 repetitions

Workout 2 (Lower Body Emphasis)

  • Dumbbell Cossack Squat – 3 sets of 10 repetitions (5/side)
    • Glute Bridge – 3 sets of 1 minute
  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions (vary stance widths)
    • Lying Weighted Hamstring Curl (w Dumbbell) – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • Walking Lunge – 4 sets of 20 steps
    • Heavy Dumbbell Swing – 4 sets of 15 repetitions

Workout 3 (Total Body Emphasis)

  • Dumbbell Pause Bench Press – 5 sets of 5 repetitions, heavy as possible
    • Weighted Chin Up – 5 sets of 5 repetitions, heavy as possible
  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat – 4 sets of 10 repetitions, heavy as possible
    • Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch/Clean and Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions (5/side)
  • Single Leg Romanian Deadlift – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Bent Row – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for the Olympic Weightlifter…

Like the powerlifter, the barbell is an integral part of your training, and it cannot be substituted in a program due to the sport specific and highly skilled technical competitive demands. The barbell snatch, clean, and jerk are all necessary movements that must be trained continually for optimal development.

That said, weightlifters can incorporate at-home dumbbell workouts to enhance muscle mass, improve movement, and address any accessory programming that must take place after main weightlifting and strength based movements. Note, it would be very difficult to substitute the barbell back, front, and overhead squat movements, therefore the dumbbell should be done for general fitness and muscle mass/hypertrophy goals.

Workout 1 (Upper Body Emphasis)

  • Weighted Pull Up – 5 sets of 5 repetitions
    • Strict Handstand Push Up – 5 sets of 5 repetitions
  • Double Dumbbell Strict Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Renegade/Plank Row – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Upright Row/Cuban Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Double Incline/Flat Bench Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions

Workout 2 (Lower Body Emphasis)

  • Dumbbell TEMPO (3030) Goblet Squat – 3 sets of 8 repetitions
    • Weighted Single Leg Romanian Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Front Rack Bulgarian Split Squat – 4 sets of 8 repetitions
    • Heavy Dumbbell Swing – 4 sets of 15 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Cossack Squat – 3 sets of 10 repetitions (5/side)
    • Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise (Bilateral/Unilateral) – 3 sets of 20-30 repetitions

Workout 3 (Total Body Emphasis)

  • Double Dumbbell Thrusters – 5 sets of 5 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Squat Jump / Box Jump – 5 sets of 3 repetitions
  • Double Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 4 sets of 20 steps
    • Single Arm Heavy Dumbbell Row – 4 sets of 8 repetitions/side
  • Standing Dumbbell Hammer Curl – 4 sets of 8 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press / Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 8 repetitions

3 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for the Bodybuilder…

The below workouts can be done in a cyclical fashion, one or two times per week. The workouts include supersets, straight sets, and high volume sets. The emphasis should be on moderate to high loading with the prescribed repetition ranges to allow for maximal muscular fatigue and contractions.

Workout 1 (Chest and Triceps)

  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Flye – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 repetitions, heavy as possible
  • Dumbbell Close Grip Floor Press – 4 sets of 20 repetitions
    • Weighted/Bodyweight Dips – 4 sets to failure (10-15 repetitions)
  • Single Overhead Dumbbell Extension – 4 sets of 8 repetitions, heavy
    • Lying (Prone) Double Dumbbell Kickbacks – 4 sets of 10 repetitions

Workout 2 (Back, Shoulders, and Biceps)

  • Weighted/Bodyweight Wide Grip Pull Up – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Side Raises – 4 sets of 10 repetitions, moderate to light weight
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row – 4 sets of 12 repetitions, heavy as possible
    • Standing Dumbbell Push Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Upright Row – 4 sets of 12 repetitions
    • Kneeling Dumbbell Arnold Press – 4 sets of 8 repetitions
  • Incline Bench Dumbbell Bicep Curl – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Heavy Dumbbell Farmer Carry – 4 sets of 1 minute

Workout 3 (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Calves)

  • Dumbbell Narrow Stance Squat – 4 sets of 20 repetitions, controlled cadence, focus on quadriceps contraction
  • Double Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift – 4 sets of 20 repetitions, controlled cadence, focus on quadriceps contraction
  • Dumbbell Step Up – 4 sets of 20 steps
  • Lying (Prone) Hamstring Curl with Dumbbell – 4 sets of 15 repetitions
  • Seated/Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise – 4 sets of 15 repetitions, with two second contraction at top of every rep

2 At-Home Dumbbell Workouts for the Weekend Warrior…

The below workouts can be used to increase overall strength and muscle mass for those individuals who can only train hard on the weekends (or only two days of the week). Both workouts are made to be performed on back to back days, however, be aware that delayed onset muscle soreness will stick with you throughout the early part of the following week. Note, that while only training twice per week, at home, with limited resources can limit your overall abilities to gain maximal strength, muscle, and enhance cardiovascular endurance and body composition, doing these below workouts will improve overall fitness and health.

Workout 1 (Push Emphasis)

  • Dumbbell Squat Clean and Press – 4 sets of 8 repetitions, heavy
    • Box Jump – 4 sets of 5 repetitions
  • Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 20 repetitions (10/side)
    • Dumbbell Walking Lunge/Step Up – 4 sets of 8 repetitions/leg
  • Dumbbell Push Press – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Hanging Leg Raise – 4 sets of 19 repetitions

Workout 2 (Pull Emphasis)

  • Dumbbell Suitcase Deadlift – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, heavy
    • Broad Jump – 4 sets of 5 repetitions
  • Pull Up – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Dumbbell Renegade/Plank Row – 4 sets of 10 repetitions (5/side)
  • Dumbbell Single Leg Romanian Deadlift – 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Weighted Side Plank – 4 sets of 30 seconds/side

Looking for More Dumbbell Workout Ideas?

Take a look at some of these dumbbell workout ideas below!

Featured Image: @bethpulaskiphotographysports on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

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