How to bodybuild with dumbbells

How To Bodybuild With Dumbbells At Home With These 14 Exercises (Includes A Full Workout)

Are you trying to build a stronger physique but don’t have the space or budget for fancy weight training equipment? Then this may be the perfect article for you. Today, I’ll explain exactly what you need to do to bodybuild with dumbbells at home.

Bodybuilding with just dumbbells is possible if the dumbbells are heavy enough to challenge the muscles. A variety of dumbbell exercises should be performed to target the chest, shoulders, back, abs, and legs. A caloric surplus and a high-protein diet should also be consumed daily.

I used heavy dumbells to gain almost 40lbs of muscle myself, so I know you can do the same.

This article reveals the expert-approved exercises I used to achieve my goals.

I’ll also show you the full program I used.

Let’s go!

I gained 40lbs with these dumbbell bodybuilding exercises.
I’m not the biggest, but definitely ain’t skinny anymore!

Recommended Dumbbell Bodybuilding Home Setup

If you’re looking for a dumbbell home gym for bodybuilding, then here’s what I use and recommend.

Having tried and tested a variety of different brands and models, I found the following gear to offer the best value for money.

Can You Get Jacked With Just Dumbells?

Getting jacked with dumbbells is possible by combining heavy lifting with a caloric surplus and a high-protein diet. It is also essential to progressive overload by increasing dumbbell load over time. This promotes continued muscle growth, leading to the jacked physique.

Look:

When you strip the process down to its bare essentials, getting jacked requires you to:

  1. Lift progressively heavier weights over time. This provides the stimulus to promote the muscle growth process (hypertrophy).
  1. Eat enough calories and protein. Consuming a 10-20% caloric surplus and 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight every day provides the nutrients required to fuel hypertrophy.
How to get jacked- follow these requirements for building muscle by 1) lifting progressively heavier loads and 2) eating a caloric surplus with high protein.

Therefore it’s completely possible to bodybuild and get jacked with just dumbbells.

But you need to make sure your dumbbells are heavy enough to provide a strong stimulus (and you need to be eating the right foods too).

Dumbbells are a great way to bodybuild at home.

Why?

They’re relatively cheap, take up very little space, and are generally great for beginners to start weight training with.

If you’re interested, you can also check out my other article for a V-shaped body workout with dumbbells.

14 Of The Best Dumbbell-Only Home Bodybuilding Exercises

Take a look at any celebrity bodybuilder routine- you’ll notice that dumbbells invariably appear (a lot).

Here are 14 of the best dumbbell bodybuilding exercises that helped me to gain almost 40lbs of lean muscle.

The exercises were chosen based on interviews with ex and current bodybuilding champions.

In other words, they’ve been approved by the pros. They worked for me so I know they can work for you too!

All you need is a good pair of dumbbells, a weight bench, and you have everything required to start bodybuilding at home.

You may also be interested in my other article for my favorite dumbbell lifts for skinny beginners!

1) Dumbbell Bench Press Variations

Use the bench press exercises to bodybuild with dumbbells and train the pectorals.
Note: I’ve since switched to the PowerBlock dumbbells due to their heavier capacity, quick weight changes, and superior durability.

The dumbbell bench press is a staple bodybuilding movement that works the pectorals for a bigger chest. You’ll need a suitable dumbbell for maximum chest activation.

It’s one of the best exercises to include in your home dumbbell bodybuilding program.

To capitalize on the dumbbell bench press, you should do the movement at different angles (flat, incline, and decline) to hit all the different chest regions (mid, upper, lower pectorals).

“The most important exercises for the chest are the bench press, incline press at different angles, and the chest fly”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 14x world bodybuilding titles.

You’ll need a good bench to do this exercise (and most other chest exercises). I use the Flybird adjustable bench (see user-reviews here). The 7x angle settings cover all your pectoral regions. It’s comfortable, affordable, and the 700lb capacity is more than enough for any dumbbell workout. It can also save you space because it can be fully folded after your workout.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a bench with dumbbells resting vertically on both thighs.
  2. Lay back, kick both dumbbells up, and stabilize them in the air.
  3. Lower the dumbbells until they touch your chest.
  4. Press the dumbbells up.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 6-8 reps.

2) Dumbbell Chest Fly Variations.

Use the dumbbell fly bodybuilding exercises to train the pectorals.

The dumbbell chest fly is another essential dumbbell chest exercise for bodybuilding.

Unlike the bench press which works the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, the chest fly isolates the pectorals. This makes it great for building definition that leads to the cleft between the pectorals.

Try performing the chest at various flat/incline/decline (FID) angles to build shirt-busting pecs!

If you don’t have a bench, you can buy a cheap exercise ball (like this one) and lay your back on that instead.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a bench with dumbbells resting vertically on both thighs.
  2. Kick both dumbbells up and stabilize them in the air.
  3. Lower the dumbbells by arcing the arms down and out until the arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep a 120° bend at the elbows throughout the motion.
  5. Bring the dumbbells back up by arcing the arms up and in.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-12 reps.

4) Dumbbell Shoulder Press.

How to bodybuild using the dumbbell shoulder press to work the deltoids.
Note: I’ve since switched to the PowerBlock dumbbells due to their heavier capacity, quick weight changes, and superior durability.

This is one of the most popular dumbbell bodybuilding exercises out there- and for a good reason.

It’s a powerful compound movement that works all three deltoid heads (anterior, lateral, and posterior), as well as the triceps.

I found the seated shoulder press allows me to lift heavier dumbbells compared to the standing variation. If you have a bench, you can also incline the backrest to 85-90°. This helps you to keep a straight back and maximize shoulder activation.

“Don’t fully lock the arms- the aim is to keep continous tension on the shoulders with a continuous up/down movement to build the shoulder caps”

Jay Cutler, Profressional IFBB Bodybuilder.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a bench with a vertical backrest.
  2. Rest 2 dumbbells vertically on both thighs.
  3. Kick both dumbbells up and stabilize them in line with the shoudlers.
  4. Press them vertically upwards making sure to stack the dumbbells on top of the elbows.
  5. Lower the dumbbells.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 6-8 reps.

5) Lateral Raise With Dumbbells.

How to bodybuild using the dumbbell lateral raise to work the deltoids.

The lateral raise is a key exercise for bodybuilding at home with dumbbells.

It’s an isolation-type shoulder exercise that emphasizes the lateral deltoid head (side shoulder) to help you build “cannonball shoulders”

The key thing to remember here is to concentrate on a slow and controlled movement rather than sacrificing form for heavier dumbbell loads.

“It’s super important to keep your hands facing down to get maximal contraction on the side delts”

Jay Cutler, Profressional IFBB Bodybuilder.

How to do it:

  1. Hold dumbbells to your side with your palms facing the legs.
  2. Keep your arms straight and slowly raise the dumbbells by arcing your arms upwards.
  3. Stop when the arms are parallel to the floor (making a T-shape with your body).
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbells by arcing your arms downwards.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-15 reps.

3) Dumbbell Pullover.

I used the dumbbell pullover as an effective bodybuilding exercise to train the chest and lats.
Note: I’ve since switched to the PowerBlock dumbbells due to their heavier capacity, quick weight changes, and superior durability.

This is one of the most underused exercises in my opinion.

The pullover works wonders for upper body development. It’s a unique dumbbell bodybuilding exercise because it works your lats and your chest simultaneously (two important muscles for the flared bodybuilder physique).

The upper portion of the movement requires power output from the pecs whilst the lower portion requires work from the lats.

So make sure you complete a full range of movement to gain the maximum benefits of this exercise.

“As the dumbbell drops down, you get a good stretch on the lats. This opens up the flare in your back”.

Chris Bumstead, Mr Olympia Classic Physique 2021

How to do it:

  1. Lay on a flat bench holding a single dumbbell over your head by clasping one end with the palms of both hands.
  2. Keep your arms stright and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head by aring the arm down.
  3. Stop when the arms are in line with your torso.
  4. Bring the dumbbell back up by arcing the arms up.
  5. Stop when the arms are perpendicular to your torso.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-12 reps.

Looking to pack on mass fast? You can check out my other post for tips to gain your first 10lbs in a month!

6) Dumbbell Row Variations.

How To Do Dumbbell Rows For A BIGGER THICKER BACK! (THIS WORKS!)

The row comes in many variations (like the bent-over row, incline row, upright row, single-arm row, T-bar row, and underhand row), all of which can be performed with dumbbells.

It’s one of the most effective dumbbell bodybuilding exercises you can do at home because all you need are heavy dumbbells.

Bodybuilders use different row variations to emphasize different back muscles. But all of them will add size to the back in one degree or another. Some variations like the upright and incline row even work the shoulders too.

“I always relied on the rowing exercises to give my back that thickness”

Arnold Schwarzengger, 7x Mr Olympia.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend over so your back is 45° to the floor and pickup your dumbbells.
  3. Simulataneously bring both dumbbells towards your belly button.
  4. Focus on pinching the shoulder blades together and old the peak contraction for a split second.
  5. Lower the dumbbells back down.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 6-8 reps.

7) Dumbbell Reverse Fly.

I used the dumbbell reverse fly as a bodybuilding exercise to train the posterior deltoids and back.

The reverse dumbbell fly is the opposite of the normal chest fly- and it’s another popular bodybuilding lift.

This exercise engages the back and shoulders, with particular emphasis on the posterior deltoids, rhomboids, and traps (depending on the angle you perform the lift).

Generally speaking- you should adopt a flat torso angle to isolate the rhomboids or an incline torso angle to isolate the posterior delts and traps.

Ninja tip- laying your chest on a bench will prevent you from cheating and losing out on gains!

“The reverse fly is a great finishing exercise on shoulder day to add size and strength to the posterior delts”

Bodybuilding.com

How to do it:

  1. Lay your chest on a flat or incline bench.
  2. Pick up the dumbbells in each hand.
  3. Lift the dumbbells by arcing both arms up, keeping the arms straight throughout.
  4. Stop when the arms reach their maximum range of motion and hold the contraction for a split second.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells by arcing your arms down.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-12 reps.

8) Dumbbell Skull Crusher.

How to do dumbbell skullcrushers to train the triceps and bodybuild the upper body.
Note: I’ve since switched to the PowerBlock dumbbells due to their heavier capacity, quick weight changes, and superior durability.

Bodybuilders often use cable exercises to hit the triceps. But dumbbells work just as well!

The skull crusher is a great movement that hits all 3 triceps muscles- the lateral, long, and medial heads.

This lift can be performed by laying on the floor (a cheap yoga mat like this one adds comfort to a hard floor and grip to a carpeted floor).

That being said- ideally, you should lay on a bench to increase the range of motion and maximize triceps activation.

“This exercise is great for hitting the lateral and long head of the triceps for a defined tricep bulge”

Christ Bumstead, Mr Olympia Classic Physique 2021.

How to do it:

  1. Lay your back on a bench or floor and hold dumbbells horizontally above the head.
  2. The upper arms should be kept straight throughout the movement.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells by flexing the forearms at the elbow joint.
  4. Be sure to keep the elbows tucked in and not flared outwards (the dumbells should be stacked on top of the elbows).
  5. Extend the foreamrs to lift the dumbbells back up.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-12 reps.

9) Bicep Curl Variations.

12 DUMBBELL BICEP CURL VARIATIONS AND WHAT PART OF THE BICEPS THEY TARGET

Bicep curls are arguably one of the most famous bodybuilding exercises with dumbbells. And justifiably so.

There are many different bicep curl variations- each differing in the way you grip the dumbbell.

Different variations are used to target the different biceps muscles to different degrees.

My favorite bicep curl variations?

The standing bicep curl is great for hitting the long and short biceps heads for the “bicep bulge”, whilst the hammer curl emphasizes the brachialis for overall mass in the upper arms.

If you have a weight bench, you can also try the seated incline curl to create greater tension on the long bicep head for a more pronounced bicep bulge.

You might also be interested in my favorite dumbbells for arm workouts here.

“Certain types of curls will leverage your efforts in building width in the arms- preacher curls, standing bicep curls, and hammer curls”

Chris Ruden, Bodybuilding coach.

How to do it:

  1. Stand or sit on a bench (depending on curl variation).
  2. Hold dumbbells in each hand.
  3. Flex the arms to slowly bring the dumbbells up (do not use body momentum to cheat).
  4. Hold the contraction for a split second to increase biceps activation.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-12 reps.

Looking to pack on a noticeable amount of weight fast? You can check out my other post for tips on how to gain 10lbs in 7 days!

10) Weighted Crunch And Decline Sit-Up.

How to do dumbbell weighted sit ups and crunches to work the abdominals.

A strong core not only helps you to perform heavier compound lifting (bench press, shoulder press, etc), but it’ll also help you add definition to the abs.

Dumbbell-weighted crunches are a simple and effective lift for training the core muscles.

Beginners should first start with bodyweight crunches to perfect their form. And when you’ve achieved this, you can hold a dumbbell against your chest to increase intensity.

If you have a weight bench, you can try the decline sit-up whilst holding a dumbbell against the chest. This is more challenging than the crunch, but it’s even better for working the abs.

“Weighted crunches can help the abdominal muscles increase strength, grow, and become more defined.”

Bodybuilding.com

How to do it:

  1. Lay on a yoga mat or bench with your hands crossed against (dumbbell optional).
  2. Start curling your upper torso up and towards stomach, bringing your legs up to counterbalance.
  3. Stop when your arms are above the stomach.
  4. Slowly lower the upper torso back down.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets and 8-12 reps.

11) Walking Dumbbell Lunge.

Walking Lunge - The Proper Lift - BPI Sports

Whether you’re bodybuilding at home or at the gym, lower body training is essential for a balanced physique.

Studies have also found that heavy leg training can stimulate a testosterone repsone and promote muscle hypertrophy.

And the walking lunge is one of the best dumbbell bodybuilding exercises for the legs.

This movement mainly hits your hamstrings and glutes, but the quads and calves also get some action.

The best thing about the lunge is the unilateral nature of the movement (it works one leg at a time).

This helps mitigate one of the biggest problems we face when bodybuilding with dumbbells- the inherent weight limitation. Unilateral exercises effectively double the perceived weight of your dumbbells and increases exercise intensity.

“Studies have shown the dumbbell lunge to give impressive results for the glutes and hamstrings.”

Jeff Nippard, Bodybuilder.

How to do it:

  1. Stand holding two dumbbells beside each leg.
  2. Take a medium stride forward with one foot (medium stride = ~1 foot).
  3. Lower the hips to allow the knee of the trailing foot to drop down.
  4. Bring the trailing foot forward to bring it next to the lead foot.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets of 20 strides (10 reps each leg).

12) Goblet Squat With A Dumbbell.

The goblet squat is an effective dumbbell bodybuilding exercise for the legs and lower body.
Note: I’ve since switched to the PowerBlock dumbbells due to their heavier capacity, quick weight changes, and superior durability.

Ask bodybuilders this question: “what’s the most effective lower body exercise?”

Chances are you’ll hear “squat” being mentioned more so than any other exercise.

The squat is a staple exercise for any weight training routine and one you should include in yours too. It works your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

The goblet squat is one of the best dumbbell bodybuilding exercises you can do for your legs.

The natural weight limitation of dumbbells means you won’t get half as much leg activation as with a barbell, but it’s the next best thing if you only have access to dumbbells.

Ninja tip- try a 4020 tempo. Do this by counting for 2 seconds up and 4 seconds down to blast those quads!

“Squats are king because they’re the most challenging leg exercise you can do”

Bodybuilding.com

How to do it:

  1. Use 2 hands to hold a dumbbell tight towards your chest with the elbows tucked into the torso.
  2. Bend your knees and lower the hips to bring the dumbbell down.
  3. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Maintain a straight back throughout (keeping your head up and shoulder back will help).
  5. Drive with your legs to bring the dumbbell back up.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets of 8-15 reps.

13) Dumbbell Calf Raise.

The dumbbell calf raise is an effective bodybuilding exercise for the legs and lower body.

A strong-looking pair of legs isn’t complete without defined calves. And the calves can be notoriously stubborn.

This makes it important to find ways to directly stimulate them for hypertrophy. And the calf raise is one of the best dumbbell bodybuilding exercises to do exactly this.

The calf is a surprisingly strong muscle. So if you’re training them with dumbbells, I’d recommend using high reps performed at a slow tempo (see the 4020 tempo above) to make up for the lack of weight.

This strategy helped me to build stronger and more defined calves with dumbbells.

How to do it:

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells to the side of both legs.
  2. Raise your body by slowly going into a tip-toe stance.
  3. Hold the contraction for a split second.
  4. Slowly lower the body by reverting back to a flat-footed stance.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

14) Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift.

The stiff-legged deadlift is an effective dumbbell bodybuilding exercise for the glutes and hamstrings.
Note: I’ve since switched to the PowerBlock dumbbells due to their heavier capacity, quick weight changes, and superior durability.

The deadlift is an awesome total-body exercise that challenges your entire body to pack on mass. But this can only happen if you lift extremely heavy loads (something that’s easy to do with a barbell but impossible with dumbbells).

The stiff-legged deadlift is a great alternative to the barbell deadlift for building your glutes and hamstrings with dumbbells.

The stiff-legged variation restricts the range of movement compared to the regular deadlift. And this helps to concentrate the weight solely on the glutes and hams.

Result?

Rather than making mediocre gains across the entire body, you get strong gains concentrated onto the glutes and hams instead!

“The stiff-legged deadlift is a popular hamstring-building movement”

Bodybuilding.com

How to do it:

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells horizontally in front of you.
  2. Bring your hips back and drop the dumbbells towards the floor, maintaining a straight back and leg throughout the movement.
  3. Stop when the dumbbells go past the knees.
  4. Bring the dumbbells up by pushing your hips forward.
  5. Contract your glutes at the top of the movement by thrusting your hips forwards, past the natural stopping point.
  6. Keep your shoulder blades retracted and your head up throughout.
  7. Repeat for reps.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Dumbbell Bodybuilding Workout For Beginners

You know the best dumbbell bodybuilding exercises- now it’s time to structure them into a program.

Here’s a 5-day dumbbell bodybuilding workout for beginners to do at home:

Day 1: Chest & Back.

Dumbbell ExerciseSetsRepsRestWeight
Flat dumbbell bench press3890 secs80% 1RM
Incline dumbbell bench press3890 secs80% 1RM
Flat dumbbell chest fly31290 secs65% 1RM
Dumbbell pullover3890 secs80% 1RM
Bent-over dumbbell row3890 secs80% 1RM
Reverse dumbbell fly31290 secs65% 1RM
T-bar dumbbell row3890 secs80% 1RM

If you don’t know what a 1RM is, or how to calculate it, you can check out my other article on repetition maximums explained.

Day 2: Shoulders & Legs.

Dumbbell ExerciseSetsRepsRestWeight
Dumbbell shoulder press3890 secs80% 1RM
Lateral raise31290 secs65% 1RM
Reverse incline fly31290 secs65% 1RM
Upright row3890 secs80% 1RM
Goblet squat41290 secs65% 1RM
Stiff-legged deadlift41290 secs65% 1RM
Lunges41090 secs75% 1RM

Day 3: Abs, Chest, & Arms.

Dumbbell ExerciseSetsRepsRestWeight
Flat dumbbell bench press3890 secs80% 1RM
Incline dumbbell bench press3890 secs80% 1RM
Incline dumbbell chest fly31290 secs65% 1RM
Weighted crunch 31290 secs65% 1RM
Decline sit-up31290 secs65% 1RM
Bicep curl31290 secs65% 1RM
Skull crusher31290 secs65% 1RM

Day 4: Back & Legs.

Dumbbell ExerciseSetsRepsRestWeight
Single-arm row3890 secs80% 1RM
Bent-over row3890 secs80% 1RM
Dumbbell pullover3890 secs80% 1RM
Reverse flat fly31290 secs65% 1RM
Goblet squat41290 secs65% 1RM
Stiff-legged deadlift41290 secs65% 1RM
Calf raises41090 secs75% 1RM

Day 5: Abs & Shoulders

Dumbbell ExerciseSetsRepsRestWeight
Weighted crunch 31290 secs65% 1RM
Decline sit-up31290 secs65% 1RM
Dumbbell side bends31290 secs65% 1RM
Golf swings with dumbbells31290 secs65% 1RM
Dumbbell shoulder press3890 secs80% 1RM
Lateral raise31290 secs65% 1RM
Reverse incline row31290 secs65% 1RM

Don’t have dumbbells? You can check out my other post for a skinny guy home workout without equipment!

Perform each workout on back-to-back days. For example days 1-5 could be assigned to Mon-Fri.

Each muscle group receives two workouts per week with at least 1 rest day for recovery.

You’ll need ~75 minutes per workout.

Beginners should start with light weights first (use poundage you know you can do comfortably) and work towards the target weights that are given above.

If this is your first-time weight training, you may find a given muscle to be still sore on the next workout. A little soreness is ok. But if it’s painful, you should decrease the weight to a level that works for you.

It’s important to increase the weight by 5-10% whenever you are able to complete the sets/reps for each given exercise with relative ease.

This is progressive overload, and it drives hypertrophy (growth).

This program is designed for skinny guys. If you’re currently overweight, then you may find a dumbbell complex routine to be more effective for burning fat and building muscle at the same time.

It’s also important to consume a 5-15% caloric surplus and at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight every day to fuel muscle growth.

This is called “bulking” and it fuels the hypertrophy process.

You can check out my other article to learn more about the ideal bulking duration.

What Dumbbell Weight Do You Need To Build Muscle?

The average person requires 50lb dumbbells minimum to build a noticeable amount of muscle. 70-90lb dumbbells are the best since they allow more muscle to be built over a longer period of time. Generally speaking, those with heavier body weight and a longer training history require heavier dumbbells.

If you want to succeed in bodybuilding with dumbbells, it’s essential you use ones that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles in all of the exercises detailed in this article.

Here’s how much muscle you can expect to build with different dumbbell weights:

Dumbbell Weight (lbs)Dumbbell Weight (kg)Estimated Muscle Gains For BeginnerBodybuilding Suitability
10lbs5kgLess than 1lbVery Bad
20lbs9kg1-2lbsVery Bad
30lbs14kg3-4lbsBad
40lbs18kg5-7lbsBad
50lbs23kg10-13lbsOK
60lbs27kg14-17lbsGood
70lbs32kg18-21lbsGood
80lbs36kg22-25lbsVery Good
90lbs41kgOver 25lbsVery Good
Estimations based on a 140lb male beginner.

As a male beginner, I would recommend 70lb+ dumbbells. These are enough to build muscle now and well into the coming months/years.

As a female, go for 50lb+ dumbbells.

Anything under 50lbs is generally a waste of time for bodybuilding since you’ll likely outgrow them in no time.

Check out my other article for the 13 telltale signs you’re successfully building muscle!

Recommended Gear To Successfully Bodybuild At Home

Here’s a summary of the recommended product to bodybuild with dumbbells at home. These aren’t necessarily the most premium products on the market. They’re simply what I use and recommend to my own friends. They all offer great value for money and get the job done perfectly!

My recommendation for the best setup?

A pair of heavy Powerblocks and a weight bench. That’s all you need! Protein powder can also help you reach your nutrition targets.

EquipmentCheapest Place To BuyReason
Powerblock Elite Selectorized DumbbellAmazonOne of the most affordable heavy selectorized dumbbells out there. They start from 2.5lbs and go all the way up to 90lbs per dumbbell, with rapid-change 2.5/5lb increments in between. Awesome value for money.
Powerblock Pro Selectorized DumbbellSweatband.comCheapest Powerblock option for UK folks.
Yes4All Spinlock DumbbellAmazonCheap, durable, and effective. Each dumbbell goes up to 100lbs. It’s a budget-friendly dumbbell that makes for a low-cost alternative to the Powerblocks. But the weight increments are much higher.
Flybird Adjustable Weight BenchAmazonFully adjustable weight bench which is suitable for people between 5’6″ to 6’0″. Allows you to train the whole body with dumbbells.
Fitness Reality Weight BenchAmazonFully adjustable weight bench which is suitable for people under 5’6″ and over 6’0″. Allows you to train the whole body with dumbbells.
Exercise BallAmazonA budget alternative to an adjustable bench. You can lay on an exercise ball in flat and incline positions. But the inherent instability limits the amount of weight you can lift.
Yoga MatAmazonA budget alternative to a weight bench. You can lay on it to do floor presses and floor flyes.
MyProtein Impact WheyAmazonEach serving contains 21g of protein and 100 calories. Ideal for lean muscle gains when combined with an intense training program.
MyProtein CreatineAmazonA natural substance that helps with energy utilization in your muscles. Helps you generate more power, lift more reps, and do more sets.

Don’t Miss Out!

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Powerblock vs spinlock dumbbells for bodybuilding.

Note: the dumbbells shown in the article photos are cheap plastic spinlock dumbells. I would not recommend buying these. They don’t provide enough weight for bodybuilding. The handle threads and plates also crack very easily. Save yourself time, effort, and money by going for the Powerblocks instead (I use the Elites now, you can find my full review here). Metal spinlocks like the Yes4All is also OK.

Conclusion

I’ve explained how to bodybuild at home with dumbbells and revealed 14 of the best dumbbell bodybuilding exercises.

I’ve also structured the exercises into a dumbbell-only bodybuilding workout for you and recommended the essential gear you need to get jacked.

I used the same program to great effect, so I’m confident it can work for you too.

But remember- training is just half the battle. You will also need to eat a bulking diet. So don’t forget to set your calorie/protein targets and do your best to smash those targets every day!

Will you be bodybuilding at home with dumbbells?

Let me know in the comments!

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

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