5 Full-Body Dumbbell Workouts to Help Build Muscle and Burn Fat

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Most of us have used dumbbells at some point or another in our fitness journey. Dumbbells are typically on any list of most popular home fitness gifts. Commercial gyms, hotel gyms, and anywhere else you work out will most likely have a set of dumbbells, even if they have no other equipment.

All types of dumbbells—traditional dumbbell sets or adjustable dumbbells—have proven to be effective for a variety of different fitness goals. Their versatility is the key to their popularity, and with the right plan in place, you can work your entire body in a single, relatively short session.

Your FUTURE coach personalizes your dumbbell workouts to match your goals:


All you need to put together your own full-body dumbbell workout is to understand how to manipulate the weight load to target different muscle groups. Don’t worry, we’ve done a lot of that groundwork for you with the five workouts featured in this article.

But before we get there, let's talk about the many benefits of full-body dumbbell workouts.

Benefits of Full-Body Dumbbell Workouts

Like any weight-training equipment, dumbbells add resistance to your exercise movement which in turn can increase strength, muscle mass, and calorie burn over time. That said, dumbbells are unique because they allow you to customize how you manipulate the weight. Depending on the muscle group you are targeting, small shifts in grip, weight position, or the movement of your body can change your workout significantly.

The full-body dumbbell workouts below include dumbbell exercises specifically selected to target the major muscle groups that help you build strength, add muscle, and burn fat.

If you're ready to work, let's dive into the dumbbell workout plan!

5 Full-Body Dumbbell Workouts

Workout 1: Build Strength

This workout is designed to build total-body strength. Do all sets of each dumbbell exercise before moving on to the next one. Select a weight that you can comfortably use to complete each set. A good rule of thumb is to select a weight that is heavy enough to make the exercise challenging but still leaves you the energy needed for about two more reps.

1. Dumbbell Biceps Curl: 3 sets of 8 reps

  • Grip one dumbbell in each hand and hold them down at your sides. Slightly bend your knees to engage your core.
  • Keeping your body as still as possible, rotate your wrists so your palms face out and bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  • Return the weight to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Pro tip:You can alternate arms if you want, but make sure you are doing 3 sets of 8 reps with each arm to avoid a strength imbalance.

2. Goblet Squat: 3 sets of 8 reps

  • Grip one dumbbell in both hands. Your hands should be cupping one end of the dumbbell, not holding the handle. Bring the weight to your chest and lock it into place under your chin.
  • Squat down until your hips go below your knees. Make sure to keep the weight stabilized and your chest and head up.
  • Driving through your heels, extend your legs to return to standing.
  • Pro tip: Make sure you keep your heels on the ground and you don’t let your knees go too far forward to keep the tension off your joints.

3. Dumbbell Triceps Extension: 3 sets of 8 reps

  • Grip one dumbbell with both hands on the handle. The starting position is behind your head with your elbows pointed up, so make sure you have an appropriate weight.
  • Keeping your shoulders and elbows as stable as possible, lift the weight until your arms are straight overhead.
  • Return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Pro tip: When you are performing the exercise, think of your elbows as a hinge point. You want to transfer power through them but you don’t want them to move.

4. Dumbbell Lunge: 3 sets of 8 reps per side

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand. Take a step forward with one leg to achieve a staggered stance.
  • Squat down until your back knee touches the floor, then press through your foot to return to standing.
  • Once you have completed the recommended number of reps, switch leg positions and repeat. 

5. Dumbbell Front Squat: 3 sets of 8 reps

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand and bring them to the front rack position (weight resting on your shoulders, elbows out in front of you). Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Keeping your core tight, your chest up, and the weight stabilized, squat down until your hips are below your knees.
  • Drive through your feet and extend your legs to return to the starting position. 

Workout 2: Build Muscle

This dumbbell workout is designed to help you build muscle in your primary muscle groups. The rep counts are lower for each set, so make sure that you use a heavier weight than what you used for Workout 1.

Hammer Curl

1. Hammer Curl: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended down at your sides.
  • Hinge at the elbows to bring the weights up to shoulder level while keeping your palms facing each other. Keep your core tight and your back straight.
  • Return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

2. Bent-Over Dumbbell Row: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Grip one dumbbell in each hand and plant your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Lean your torso forward as far as is comfortable, allowing the dumbbells to hang down.
  • Pull the dumbbells toward your torso while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return the weight to the starting position.

3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand down by your sides.
  • Raise each arm straight out to the side, away from your body, until your arms are fully extended and parallel with the ground.
  • Return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

4. Dumbbell Step-Up: 4 sets of 6 reps per side

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand down by your sides.
  • Place one foot on a box or a step. Your knee should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
  • Step up until your weight rests solely on the elevated foot.
  • Step back down and repeat for the recommended number of reps, then switch sides.

5. Dumbbell Leg Extension: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Sitting on a bench or chair, hold a dumbbell between your feet.
  • Keeping your upper body as still and straight as possible, lift your feet until your legs are fully extended.
  • Lower your legs back to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

Workout 3: Burn Fat

Workout 3 should be performed as a circuit with 4 total rounds. This means that you will perform one exercise after the other without resting between exercises, but resting as needed between rounds.

1. Dumbbell Thruster: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level.
  • Squat down until your hips are below your knees.
  • Press through your heels to return to standing while simultaneously pushing the dumbbells over your head. Return the dumbbells to the starting position.

2. Dumbbell Jump Lunge: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand down by your sides. Step one foot forward into a staggered stance.
  • Squat down into a lunge until your back knee touches the floor.
  • Quickly straighten your knees to jump straight up, switching your feet in the air to land in the opposite stance. Keep the dumbbells down by your sides throughout the movement.

3. Renegade Row: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Get into a push-up position with your hands on the dumbbell handles rather than the floor.
  • Lift one dumbbell toward your torso, driving your elbow back and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm.

4. Dumbbell Jump Squat: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand down by your sides. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your core tight, chest up, and feet flat, squat down until your hips are below knee level.
  • Quickly straighten your knees to explode up into a jump. Land with soft knees to absorb the impact.

Workout 4: Supersets

Workout 4 is built on supersets. Supersets are two exercises done back to back. These exercises will build muscle and burn fat at the same time. Complete all of the reps of one exercise before moving on to the next, resting as needed between supersets.

Dumbbell Deadlift/Dumbbell Clean

1. Superset - Dumbbell Deadlift/Dumbbell Clean: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Start with two dumbbells on the floor just outside of your feet.
  • Bend your knees slightly then hinge at the hips to slightly squat down and grip one dumbbell in each hand. Stand upright, pulling the dumbbells up your body.
  • Keep your back straight and core tight. Repeat for the recommended number of reps. Without stopping to rest, move into the cleans.
  • Hold the dumbbells at a mid-thigh level. Bend your knees and hinge your hips backward.
  • Use the force from your hips to thrust upward and bring the dumbbells to the front rack position.
  • Repeat for the recommended number of reps, then return the dumbbells to the floor in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Repeat this entire sequence for the recommended number of sets.

2. Superset - Biceps Curl/Overhead Press: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Grip one dumbbell in each hand and hold them down at your sides. Slightly bend your knees to engage your core.
  • Keeping your body as still as possible, rotate your wrists so your palms face out and bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  • Return the weight to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat for the recommended number of reps, then move on to the overhead presses without stopping to rest.
  • Start with the dumbbells in the front rack position. Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  • Complete the recommended number of reps, then return the weight to the starting position.
  • Repeat this entire sequence for the recommended number of sets.

3. Superset - Push-Up/Renegade Row: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Place two dumbbells on the floor and get into a push-up position holding the handles.
  • Perform a push-up by lowering your chest to the floor then pressing back up. Complete the recommended number of reps, then move on to the rows without stopping to rest.
  • From the top position of a push-up, pull one dumbbell to your torso while driving your elbow back and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Complete the recommended number of reps, then switch sides.
  • Repeat this entire sequence for the recommended number of sets.

4. Superset - Tip-Toe Farmer’s Carry/Reverse Lunge: 4 sets of 50 feet/6 reps

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand down by your sides, walk on your tip-toes for the designated distance. Make sure the weight is heavy enough to challenge your grip and balance.
  • Without setting the dumbbells down, take a step backward with one leg to achieve a staggered stance.
  • Squat down until your back knee touches the floor, then press through your foot to return to the starting position.
  • After you have completed all of the reps on one side, switch sides and repeat.
  • Repeat this entire sequence for the recommended number of sets.

Workout 5: Complexes Challenge

Workout 5 is built to challenge you. Each set is a series of exercises that naturally flow into each other and will require you to engage your entire body. Perform each complex in a controlled manner and make sure you’ve mastered the transitions before adding too much weight to the exercises in this workout.

1. Dumbbell Deadlift to Clean to Front Squat: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Start with two dumbbells on the floor just outside of your feet.
  • Bend your knees slightly then hinge at the hips to slightly squat down and grip one dumbbell in each hand. Stand upright, pulling the dumbbells up your body. Keep your back straight and core tight.
  • After your last rep of the deadlift, bend your knees again and hinge your hips backward.
  • Use the force from your hips to thrust upward and bring the dumbbells to the front rack position.
  • After your last rep of the cleans, while the dumbbells are in the front rack position, perform the recommended number of front squats.
  • After your last squat, return the dumbbells to the floor in a slow and controlled manner and rest before repeating the complex.

2. Biceps Curl to Overhead Press to Triceps Extension: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Grip one dumbbell in each hand and hold them down at your sides. Slightly bend your knees to engage your core.
  • Keeping your body as still as possible, rotate your wrists so your palms face out and bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  • After your last rep of curls, instead of returning the weight to the starting position, put the weight in the front rack position by twisting your wrists in.
  • Press the weight overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  • After your last rep of presses, lower the weight behind your head, hinging at your elbows to move into the triceps extensions.
  • Press the weight back up to the extended position. After your last rep of extensions, return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner and rest before repeating the complex.

3. Dumbbell Reverse Lunge to Tip-Toe Farmer’s Carry to Step-Up: 4 sets of 6 reps/50 feet/6 reps

  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your side. Take a step backward with one leg until you achieve a staggered stance.
  • Squat down until your back knee touches the floor. Keep your core tight and your chest up.
  • Press through your foot to return to the staggered stance. Repeat until you have completed all reps on one leg, then perform all of the reps with the other leg.
  • After your last lunge, walk on your tiptoes to a box or stair set up the allotted distance away.
  • Place one foot on the box or step. Your knee should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
  • Step up until your weight rests solely on the elevated foot, then step back down. Perform all of the reps on one leg before switching to the other.
  • Rest before repeating the complex.

Final Takeaway

Dumbbells are a dynamic option if you’re looking for a challenging full-body workout. The key is to find what works best for you. The workouts here are built to challenge different parts of your body in different ways. Whatever your fitness goals may be, a set of dumbbells can be an essential part of helping you reach them.

Full-Body Dumbbell Workout FAQs


How long should a full-body dumbbell workout last?

Dumbbell workouts offer full-body advantages even when doing low reps. Depending on your goals, your full-body dumbbell workout might last anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. Focus on quality over quantity.

How heavy of a dumbbell should I use?

For these dumbbell workouts, use a challenging weight that you could do maybe 2-3 more reps with before failing. Keep in mind that the lower the rep scheme, the heavier you should go. This will help increase strength. Lower weight for more reps will improve your endurance instead.

How long does it take to build muscles with dumbbells?

It may take three to four weeks to see any physical changes. Keep in mind that this varies from person to person. Consistency, weight used, and rep scheme also play a role.

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