5 Day Split Dumbbell Workout For Muscle & Strength Gains

Dumbbells are fantastic tools to increase muscle size and strength, especially when working out in your home or garage gym.  

But, knowing what workout split to follow can be difficult.  

This guide shows you the best 5 day split dumbbell workout you can do in your home or garage gym to build muscle mass and develop strength.  

The 5-day workout split allows you to train all areas of your body multiple times per week to provide your muscles the stimulus they need to develop.  

This workout split is suitable for intermediate gym-goers looking to take their muscle development to the next level.  

As the program primarily uses dumbbells, it can be performed in your home gym without needing much equipment or space.  

The program will follow a simple split of upper push/lower/upper pull/lower/complete upper with rest days at the weekend. You can see a summary of the 5-day split in the table below: 

Main Goal 

Build Muscle 

Workout Type 

Upper Push/Lower/Upper Pull/Lower/Complete Upper 

Training Level 

Intermediate (but can be adjusted for all levels) 

Duration 

8-12 weeks 

Days Per Week 

5 days per week 

Workout Time 

50-60 minutes 

Equipment 

Dumbbells and bodyweight

Target Gender 

Male & Female 

The workout below is a 5 day dumbbell routine. Each exercise should be performed for a rep range of 8-12 reps, followed by a 60-second resting period between each set.  

Only progress the weight you’re using once you’ve completed each set with perfect form.

Muscle Building Tip: To get the most from your 5 day split free weights only workout, always use excellent form. Using good form ensures you’re activating the correct muscles, providing them with the right amount of stimulus they need to grow. It also helps to reduce the risk of injury.

Required Equipment - Best Adjustable Dumbbells For Home Workouts

Day 1 - Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps Dumbbell Exercises 

Exercise  

Sets  

Reps 

Incline Chest Press 

4 

8-12 

Arnold Press 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Floor Press 

4 

8-12 

Lateral Raise 

4 

8-12 

Front Raise 

4 

8-12 

Lying Tricep Extension 

4 

8-12 

Push Ups 

4 

8-12 

How to do them: 

  • Incline Chest Press
    Set a bench to 30-45 degrees and lie on the bench holding two dumbbells. Bring the dumbbells to your chest and press them up above your head. Slowly bring them down to chest level and repeat. (Works: Upper chest, triceps, and shoulders).
  • Arnold Press
    Stand with two dumbbells in front of you at shoulder height (palms facing you). Rotate your arms, so your palms face outward and press above your head. Reverse the movement and repeat. (Works: Deltoids, triceps) 
  • Dumbbell Floor Press
    Lie on the floor with dumbbells at chest level. Press the dumbbells up and squeeze the chest. Reverse and repeat. (Works: Chest, triceps) 
  • Lateral Raise
    Stand while holding two dumbbells at the side of your hips. Create a slight bend in your elbow and raise your arms out to the sides. Stop at shoulder height and lower. (Works: Lateral deltoid) 
  • Front Raise
    Stand with two dumbbells at the front of your hips. Raise the dumbbells forwards to shoulder height (with a straight arm) and lower slowly. (Works: Front deltoid) 
  • Lying Tricep Extension
    Lie on a bench or floor and hold one dumbbell. Straighten your arm and hold the dumbbell above your head. Bend the elbow bringing the dumbbell towards your face. Reverse the movement and repeat with both arms. (Works: Triceps) 
  • Push-ups
    On the floor, hold your body in a plank position. Lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows. Stop 1 inch above the floor and push up to the start. Repeat. (Works: Chest, triceps, and core muscles) 

No weight bench at home? Try these dumbbell chest exercises without bench!

5 Day Split Dumbbell Workout For Muscle & Strength Gains

Day 2 - Legs & Core Dumbbell Exercises 

Exercise  

Sets  

Reps 

Goblet Squat 

4 

8-12 

Stiff Leg Deadlift 

4 

8-12 

Bulgarian Split Squat 

4 

8-12 

Walking Lunges 

4 

8-12 

Calf Raise 

4 

8-12 

Plank  

4 

30-60 seconds 

Russian Twists 

4 

20-30 

How to do them: 

  • Goblet Squat
    Hold a dumbbell vertically at chest height. Place your feet hip-width with your toes slightly pointing outwards. Bend your knees and squat towards the floor. Aim to get as low as possible and push back up to the start. Keep a neutral spine throughout the movement. (Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, core) 
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift
    Hold two dumbbells and create tension in your shoulder blades. Bend your knees slightly. Keep your back straight and hinge from your hips. When you feel the stretch in your hamstrings, hold and reverse the movement. (Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back) 
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
    Hold one dumbbell in your right hand and stand in front of a bench/step. Place your left leg on the step/bench, so your leg is behind you. Step forward with your right leg. Lower your body towards the floor, and stop before your knee touches the floor. Reverse the movement and repeat on both sides. (Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, and hamstrings)   
  • Walking Lunges
    Hold two dumbbells at hip height. Take a step forward and lower your body until your knees are 90 degrees. Bring your opposite leg forward and take a step. Repeat. (Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes) 
  • Calf Raises
    Stand while holding two dumbbells at hip height. Push up through the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the floor. Lower yourself and repeat. (Muscles worked: Calves) 
  • Plank
    On the floor, put yourself in a push-up position but instead of using your hands, use your forearms to support your weight. Keep your body straight, tightening your core. Hold for a set time. (Muscles worked: Entire core) 
  • Russian Twists
    Sit on the floor and hold a light dumbbell at chest height. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the floor. Rotate your body in a controlled manner twisting the dumbbell side to side. (Muscles worked: Obliques, core) 

More Training Options - Best Dumbbell Glute Exercises

5 day dumbbell split workout

Day 3 - Back & Biceps Dumbbell Exercises 

Exercise  

Sets  

Reps 

Bent Over Row 

4 

8-12 

Single Arm Row 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Pull Over 

4 

8-12 

Reverse Grip Dumbbell Row 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Bicep Curl 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Drag Curl 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell 21’s 

4 

21 (7/7/7) 

How to do them: 

  • Bent Over Row
    Hold two dumbbells at your sides. Keep a neutral spine, and hinge from your hips until your body is around 45 degrees to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang, lift the dumbbells to your stomach, and slowly lower them(Muscles worked: Lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps)  
  • Single-Arm Row
    Place your left hand and left knee on a platform or bench. Pick up a dumbbell with your right hand. Let it hang and lift the dumbbell to your body, squeezing your back together. Lower the dumbbell and repeat. (Muscles worked: Lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps) 
  • Dumbbell Pull-Over
    Lie on a bench (or on the floor), hold the dumbbell over your chest, and lower it backwards above your head. Pull the weight back over your chest and repeat. (Muscles worked: Lats, some chest)    
  • Reverse Grip Bent Over Row
    Follow the same steps as the standard dumbbell row, but use a reverse grip (palms facing forwards). (Muscles worked: Lats, biceps, traps, rhomboids)  
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl
    Hold two dumbbells at your sides and stand tall. Keep your elbows close to your body and curl them up towards your shoulders. Slowly reverse the movement and repeat. (Muscles worked: Biceps) 
  • Dumbbell Drag Curl
    Hold two dumbbells and draw your elbows backward while lifting the dumbbells to your chest. Slowly lower and repeat. (Muscles worked: Biceps)  
  • Dumbbell 21’s
    Split the bicep curl into two. The 1st part is from the bottom to midway, and the 2nd is midway to the top. Perform 7 reps of each movement and then finish with 7 full reps. (Muscles worked: Biceps) 
5 day dumbbell workout routine at home

Day 4 - Legs & Core Dumbbell Exercises 

Exercise  

Sets  

Reps 

Dumbbell Hip Thrust 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Squat 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Deadlift 

4 

8-12 

Standing Lunges 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Seated Calf Raise 

4 

8-12 

Crunches 

4 

15-20 

Side Plank 

4 

30 seconds per side 

How to do them: 

  • Dumbbell Hip Thrust
    Sit on the floor in front of a bench or step and hold two dumbbells (or one) on your hips. Place your shoulder blades and mid-back on the bench with your feet placed flat and hip-width apart. Fire your hips upwards, squeeze your glutes and return to the start. (Muscles worked: Glutes & some hamstrings)   
  • Dumbbell Squat
    Hold two dumbbells at chest height and place your feet hip-width apart. Keep your back in a neutral position and squat down, bending your knees. When you reach 90 degrees, return to the start. (Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes)  
  • Dumbbell Deadlift
    Hold two dumbbells, place your feet hip-width, and retract your shoulder blades. Hip hinge forward with a straight back and bend your knees slightly. Stop when the dumbbells reach your mid-shin level. Reverse and repeat. (Muscles worked: Lower back, glutes, hamstrings)   
  • Standing Lunges
    Hold a dumbbell in one hand. Take a step forward and lower your body, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Step back to the starting position and swap legs. (Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes)
  • Dumbbell Seated Calf Raise
    Sit on a chair or bench and place a dumbbell on each quad. Raise your heels and go onto the balls of your feet and lower to the start. Repeat. (Muscles worked: Calves) 
  • Crunches
    Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the side of your head with elbows flared out. Lift your shoulders off the floor, squeeze your abs, and lower. (Muscles worked: Abdominals)   
  • Side Plank
    Lie on your side with your forearm supporting your upper body. Lift your hips off the floor and hold. Relax and swap sides. (Muscles worked: Obliques and Core)  

Only have one dumbbell at home? Try these single dumbbell exercises!

Day 5 - Complete Upper Body Dumbbell 

Exercise  

Sets  

Reps 

Incline Bench Press 

4 

8-12 

Bent Over Row 

4 

8-12 

Standing Dumbbell Press 

4 

8-12 

Chest Supported Row 

4 

8-12 

Dumbbell Shrug 

4 

8-12 

Seated Bicep Curl 

3 

8-12 

Overhead Tricep Extension 

3 

8-12 

How to do them: 

  • Incline Bench Press
    Check out the description for day 3 above. You can also add a little variety by adjusting the incline of your weight bench.   
  • Bent Over Row
    See the day 3 description above. You can also modify this movement by changing the angle at which you bring the bar to abdomen.  
  • Standing Dumbbell Press
    Stand with two dumbbells at shoulder level. Press the dumbbells above your head. Slowly lower and repeat. (Muscles worked: Deltoids, triceps)    
  • Chest Supported Row
    Place your chest on an incline bench while holding two dumbbells. Let the weight hang. Pull the dumbbells to chest level and slowly reverse the movement. (Muscles worked: Lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps)  
  • Dumbbell Shrug 
    Stand holding two dumbbells at hip level. Keep your arms straight and shrug the weight upwards. (Muscles worked: trapezius)
  • Seated Bicep Curl
    Sit on a bench or chair holding two dumbbells with your arms straight. Curl the dumbbells upward to shoulder level. Then, slowly return to the start. (Muscles worked: Biceps)    
  • Overhead Tricep Extension
    Sit or stand with one dumbbell. Hold it vertically above your head with both hands cupping one end. Lower the dumbbell behind your neck, and pause when your triceps are stretched. Straighten your arms and repeat. (Muscles worked: Triceps)   

Related Article - How Much Do Dumbbells Cost?

tricep extension exercise in 5 day dumbbell split

Is This Workout Program for Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced Lifters?

While the 5 day dumbbell workout plan is best suited for intermediate gym-goers, most gym-goers can perform it but with a few minor tweaks.  

For beginners attempting the 5 days a week dumbbell workout, I would recommend lowering the sets to 3 sets per exercise to help bring the volume down. You may also want to add a rest day in between the workout to help your muscles recover.  

If you’re a beginner, you should focus solely on getting the movements correct rather than trying to lift as heavy as you can.

Once you’re out of the beginner phase, you can up the sets to the full 4 sets. This will give your muscles the stimulus to keep your developing.  

Advanced gym-goers, on the other hand, may want to try adjusting the rest periods to make the workout more challenging, slow the reps down for increased time under tension, or play with paused reps.

If you’re an advanced user with heavy dumbbells, you can increase the weight to make the exercises better suited for you.  

The 5 day split dumbbell workout is brilliant for most users, and if you’re working out at home, it’ll help you develop muscle size and strength.  

Read More - How To Make Dumbbells Heavier For Advanced Lifters

man doing dumbbell pull movement

What Are The Benefits Of A 5-Day Split Dumbbell Workout?

The 5 day dumbbell workout plan is an excellent program to follow to work your entire body during one week. Unlike most workout plans, you’re working each muscle group twice weekly, which is fantastic for developing muscle strength and size.  

During the 5 day dumbbell routine, your muscles are loaded; if you use the progressive overload principle, your muscles will become bigger and stronger over the 8-12 weeks.  

While the 5 day dumbbell workout helps to develop your muscles, you’ll burn calories during your workouts which will help aid fat loss.  

Resistance training is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Developing muscle helps keep your body younger and healthier while helping keep some diseases at bay 


Common 5 Day Dumbbell Workout Questions 

Can I work out 5 days a week and rest on weekends? 

You sure can; in fact, it’s my favorite way to work out. Sure, it might not be the most optimal way to train, but if it suits your lifestyle, then go for it.

However, one point I will make, if you’re new to working out, you might struggle with five solid days in a row. If you need to take the odd rest day from time to time, you can.

How can I increase my muscle growth on rest days? 

Rest days allow your muscles to recover and replenish energy so you can hit your workouts with the intensity they need. To help increase your muscle growth on your rest days, I recommend keeping your protein intake high, and 1-1.5g per lb of bodyweight should be more than enough for most gym-goers.

Plus, ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most underrated recovery and muscle growth tools at your disposal. 

Will muscles grow fastest if you work out every day? 

No, overtraining your muscles will leave them in a constant state of repair. Your muscles need your rest days to heal, and the healing process causes muscle growth to occur. Plus, not allowing your muscles to heal will lead to injuries arising.

The last thing you want to do is hinder your body’s muscle growth by being over-zealous with your workouts. Slow things down a little and watch your muscles grow.  

Is a 5-day split better than 3 or 4 day routine? 

In all honesty, I’ve always found the 5-day split works best for my lifestyle. I love training, and if I follow a 3 or 4 day split, I always sneak into the gym for an extra session.  

At the end of the day, the workout routine you choose needs to work for you. If you find it difficult to get to the gym 5 times a week, then the 5-day split is most likely not the plan for you.  

Find the routine which suits your lifestyle and goals, and you’ll reap the rewards.  


Conclusion

If you’ve been looking for a workout plan to help you develop muscle and increase strength, the 5 day split dumbbell workout is what you need.  

The 5 day dumbbell workout mentioned in this article is excellent for all levels of gym-goers but is best suited for intermediate users. However, with a few simple tweaks and you can use it no matter your level (see above).  

Try the 5 day workout routine at home and let us know what you think.  

Last Updated on July 11, 2022