get big with 50lb dumbbells

How To Get Big With 50lb Dumbbells If You Are A Skinny Guy (Workout Included)

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Tired of hearing 50lb dumbbells aren’t enough to get big? Then stick around. Because today, I’ll be showing you why 50lb dumbbells are enough to get big.

The average 110 to 160-pound male can get big with 50-pound dumbbells. A pair of 50-pound dumbbells can be used to perform all the major muscle-building lifts. To further increase exercise intensity and get big with 50-pound dumbbells, it is recommended to increase repetitions or decrease the tempo.

From my personal 40lb muscle gain transformation, I know dumbbells are essential to build a powerful physique.

And I also know that 50lb dumbbells can and do work for the average skinny guy.

That’s why I’m sharing my research and experience with you today!

Let’s go!

I used 50lb dumbbells to get big
I’m still using 50 pound dumbbells today!

50lb Dumbbells Are Enough To Build Muscle!

Let’s start with good news- 50-pound dumbbells are more than enough to build muscle. And here’s why.

The most popular way to build muscle is by lifting sufficient weights in the 8-12-rep range.

In other words, you should be lifting 8-12 repetitions per set, for any given exercise.

Bill Geigers weight-strength relationship (below) can then be used to estimate how much weight you should be lifting for 12 reps.

line graph showing weight to rep relationship

As you can see, lifting 12 reps requires you to lift around 0.65 of your 1 rep max for each exercise.

Note: 1 rep max is the maximum amount you can lift for a single repetition. It can be estimated using the Strength Level database.

Next, I used the Strength Level database to calculate the average 12-rep weight for someone who’s been training for 2 years (intermediate level):

ExerciseAverage Intermediate
12-Rep Weight
Can 50lb Dumbbells
Build Muscle?
Bench Press55lbYes
Shoulder Press44lbYes
Goblet Squat60lbYes (with limitation)
Deadlift60lbYes (with limitation)
Dumbbell Fly34lbYes
Lateral Raise22lbYes
Reverse Fly25lbYes
Bicep Curl32lbYes
Tricep Extension35lbYes
Intermediate 12-rep weights averaged across 110-310lb bodyweights. Weights are per dumbbell. Data derived from Strength Level.

You can see that 50lb dumbbells can be used to build muscle for at least 2 years, for 80% of the most popular exercises.

The remaining 20% (deadlift and goblet squat) can utilize 50-pound dumbbells for around 2 years. After that point, you’ll need to increase the weight or find other ways to increase exercise intensity (I’ll explain below).

And the lower your current bodyweight, the longer your 50-pound dumbbells will last (since you require less weight to progress).

Can You Get Big With 50lb Dumbbells?

Now for the not-so-good news- how big you can get from 50-pound dumbbells will depend on your current size and strength level.

Before I explain why let me first define “big” as making significant muscle gains to improve your current physique.

A 130-pound skinny guy will naturally require less weight than a 250-pound overweight guy, to make the same amounts of muscle gains.

That’s because the lighter you are, the less weight you can lift (and vice versa).

This also means that a 130 pound skinny guy will have more success in using 50 pound dumbbells to get big, compared to someone who is heavier.

Check out the table below for estimated muscle gains depending on your bodyweight:

BodyweightEstimated Muscle Gains From 50lb DumbbellsEnough To Get Big?
110-160 poundsUp to 25 poundsYes
160-210 poundsUp to 15 poundsBorderline
210+ poundsUp to 5 poundsNo
Estimated muscle gains from 50lb dumbbells according to bodyweight.

If you’re on the skinnier/lighter end of the spectrum, you’ll have no issue in using 50 pound dumbbells to get big.

I should actually say “bigger” because you’ll need heavy dumbbells (70+ pounds) to make bodybuilder-like gains. But 50lb dumbbells can still be used to build a significantly more muscular physique.

how big can you get with 50lb dumbbells

If you’re on the heavier side, then you’ll struggle to make any significant gains, and you won’t get much bigger with 50-pound dumbbells.

And if you fall somewhere in between, you’ll be able to make moderate gains. Enough to get a leaner and more athletic-looking body.

Check out my other article to find out your ideal weight-load to build muscle!

The Kalibre 50lb Dumbbell Programme.

Now here’s a workout programme you can do with a pair of 50 pound adjustable dumbbells.

The programme comprises 3 full-body workouts:

Workout A

  • Flat Bench Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Reverse Fly
  • Bicep Curl
  • Dumbbell Ab Crunch
  • Goblet squat

Workout B

  • Dumbbell Fly
  • Hammer Shoulder Press
  • Row
  • Dumbbell Ab Crunch
  • Tricep Extension
  • Dumbbell Lunge

Workout C

  • Incline Bench Press
  • Lateral Raise
  • Row
  • Leg Raise
  • Bicep Curl
  • Dumbbell Deadlift

Note: if you don’t have bench, you can lay on the floor (e.g. bench press can be turned into a floor press).

Check out my other article for a dumbbell workout to get shredded!

Reps, Sets, Weight, And Training Days

Each exercise should be performed with 4 sets of 12 reps.

You should perform each rep with a weight that allows you to complete 12 reps and is also challenging. This will fall somewhere close to 0.65 of your 1 rep max. This will build you a solid foundation of strength.

As a beginner, your 12-rep weights will be below 50 pounds per dumbbell. So make sure your dumbbells are adjustable and they have suitable weight increments.

After you’ve completed each set, take a 2 minute rest.

These workouts will take you around an hour to complete.

In the beginning, do a 3-day weekly split by completing the 3 workouts separated by a rest day each. And after 1 month, increase to 4 days. Finally, after 6 months, increase to 5 days.

Additionally, you should also decrease to 8 reps per set and increase the weight to 0.8 of 1 rep max, after 1 month. This will further drive hypertrophy (muscle growth).


The programme incorporates a variety of compound and isolation exercises. And this will stimulate maximal muscle growth.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t include your own exercise preferences. Check out the video above for more dumbbell exercises.

Feel free to substitute them into your programme. But make sure you’re working the entire body in a balanced manner.

Check out my other article to find out how many days you should be training!

Progressive Overload With 50lb Dumbbells

As your training progresses, you’ll naturally become stronger. And this also means you’ll need to increase the workload.

The principal of increasing workload is called progressive overload.

This is most commonly achieved by increasing weight. To do this, add 5 to 10% weight whenever your 8 reps feel easy to perform.

However, you won’t be able to indefinitely increase weight since your limited to 50 pounds per dumbbell.

Once you’ve maxed out the 50-pound dumbbells at 8 reps for most of your exercises (will take around 6-12 months of training), you should increase the reps again.

Keep on increasing reps until you reach 15 reps per set again.

You may be wondering why you go from 12 reps, to 8 and, back up to 15 again.

how many reps you should do with 50lb dumbbells

It’s because the initial 12 reps will safely build you a foundation of strength. From here, 8 rep heavy weight training will drive muscle growth.

And once you’ve outgrown your 8-rep weight, you need to increase reps again in order to continue overloading.

When you begin to outgrow your 15-reps using 50-pound dumbbells for most of your exercises (will take you over 2 years), you should have made some pretty impressive muscle gains.

decrease tempo to increase intensity with 50lb dumbbells

In order to keep driving hypertrophy, you can perform time under tension (TUT) training.

This involves decreasing the tempo for the upward and downward phase.

For example, where bench press upward/downward motion would usually take 4 seconds total, you would slow it down to 8 seconds total.

By following these methods for progressive overload, you’ll maximise the muscle returns from your 50 pound dumbbells!

Check out my other article to find out the ideal dumbbell workout duration!

Expect To Gain 0.5 Pounds Per Week

As a male, the maximum amount of lean muscle you can build is around 2 pounds per month. This equates to 0.5 pounds per week. And these are the numbers you should be aiming for.

To weigh yourself, you should take readings every morning after you wake up and before you have breakfast. Then take the weekly average across 7 days.

Whether or not you succeed in hitting these numbers will depend largely on your nutrition (and how effectively you follow the program).

You should be eating a caloric surplus diet with around 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight. This will facilitate the muscle-building process.

If you succeed with gaining 0.5 pounds per week, it’s a sign that your hard work is paying off! If not, then you need to make sure you are lifting at the intensities described above and eating the right foods.

Check out my other article for more nutrition tips on gaining muscle as a skinny guy!

How Much Does A Pair Of 50lb Dumbbells Cost?

To complete this workout, you will of course have to get a pair of 50 pound dumbbells.

Here’s how much you should expect to pay for 50 pound dumbbells (brand new):

Fixed-Weight Dumbbell Set (5-50lb)$1000.00+
Bowflex 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell$499.99
Powerblock 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell$459.99
Ativafit 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell$439.98
EMAIS 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell$398.99
Flybird 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell$399.98
50lb dumbbell price comparison.

Adjustable dumbbells are preferred by many (including myself) over traditional fixed-weight dumbbells. Not only are they more space-saving and convenient to use, but also much cheaper.

To get a set of fixed-weight dumbbells at 5 to 50 pounds, you’ll likely have to spend over $1000 (brand new).

In comparison, a pair of 50 pound adjustable dumbbells can be be found for $400 to $500. And they’ll provide all the weight increments you need!

Check out my other article to choose the perfect dumbbell weight!


Today, I’ve explained how you can get big with 50lb dumbbells.

These are considered moderate dumbbell weights, and are best used for skinny to average-sized guys. If you’re on the heavy side, then heavier dumbbells will be more suitable.

If you are closer to the average size, then building a powerful physique doesn’t require heavy weights. Yes, they help a lot, but they’re not essential.

Instead of overloading by increasing the weight, you can simply increase the number of reps. You can also decrease the tempo to make your 50lb dumbbells feel even heavier than they are.

Will you be trying the Kalibre 50lb dumbbell workout?

Alternatively, download the FREE Kalibre Muscle Blueprint to find out EXACTLY how I transformed my skinny body as a hardgainer!

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,


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


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