The Mens Health Dumbbell Club: This 3-Day Full Body Workout Plan Increases Fitness & Builds Muscle

Welcome to the Mens Health Dumbbell Club, your new weekly plan for a fitter, stronger body using just two dumbbells.

Click here to go back and take a look at previous weeks or just get stuck into our latest offer and follow the schedule from here.

New this week

Directly from our sessions based on the density conditioning blocks, over the next couple of weeks we’ll move into a rep and beat phase, where we’ll repeat workouts from past weeks, with the goal of smashing our previous rep scores. The point is to make sure we are progressively overloading which will lead to strength gains and muscle growth. So, let’s go back to week 17.

Each workout for the next two weeks will consist of a single 30-minute block, all repetitions from weeks 17 and 18. Your goal is to work your way through as many high-quality rounds as possible, resting only as much as necessary to catch your breath and keep your form sharp, aiming to beat reps and rounds scored previously, ensuring progress.

If this is your first week in the club, or you haven’t recorded your scores previously, simply do as many high-quality reps as possible in the 30 minute interval.

Each workout is designed to target your entire body, targeting your chest, back, shoulders, quads and hamstrings throughout the week, while also pumping those arms and delivering a lung-burning conditioning effect that’s sure to build fitness and burn calories.

If your goal is to lose some body fat, then this is the perfect phase for you. When combined with a smart, sustainable eating plan that ensures your body is in a calorie deficit over the course of each week while also providing you with enough energy to shred your workout sessions, you will surely start losing fat while preserving lean muscle mass and building fitness.

Tip for coaches: Use pen and paper to track your workouts, and try to avoid Instagram doomscrolling between sets. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, paying attention to your breathing and focusing on the reps ahead will help you optimize your rest and ultimately maximize your gains.

First day (W19/D1)

After a full warmup, set a countdown timer for 30 minutes and work your way through as many high-quality rounds of the following circuit as possible, resting as much as necessary to maintain your form, but aiming to beat your reps and rounds from Week 17.

1. Floor (or Bench) Press x 10-15

Weights, arm, shoulder, muscle, leg, abdomen, joint, exercise equipment, dumbbell, physical fitness,

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Press the weights above you, locking your elbows (A). Slowly lower them until your upper arms are resting on the floor (b), close to your body, pause here before explosively pressing. If you have a bench, use it.

2. Folded oars x 10-15

Weights, exercise equipment, shoulder, overhead press, kettlebell, arm, dumbbell, physical fitness, standing, muscle,

After the last floor press, stand with the dumbbells at your sides. Lean forward until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor and let the dumbbells hang just below your knees (A). Keeping his back flat, he rows both dumbbells toward his hips (b), squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower yourself under control to the start before repeating.

3. Front squats x 10-15

front squat with dumbbells

Wipe the dumbbells on the front of the shoulders (A). From here, come down into a front squat, pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (b), before ascending explosively. Keep those dumbbells secured high, with a strong, straight torso the entire time.

4. Split Squat Jumps x 20

arm, standing, joint, leg, human body, muscle, stock photography, knee, lunge,

Step back one foot and sink into a deep lunge, with your back knee lightly touching the floor (A). Explode upward, leaping into the air and switching legs while jumping (b) to land in a lunge position with the opposite leg forward. Repeat the movement, switching legs with each rep. Keep this movement as fast as possible, focusing on maximizing the height of each jump.

Second day (W19/D2)

As with day one, perform a full warm-up, set a 30-minute countdown timer, and work your way through as many high-quality rounds of the next circuit as possible, resting as much as necessary to maintain form, but aiming to beat week 17 reps and rounds.

1. Push Press x 8-12

Weights, exercise equipment, shoulder, overhead press, kettlebell, arm, dumbbell, physical fitness, standing, muscle,

Wipe the dumbbells across your shoulders, palms facing in. Take a breath and create tension in your core. (A) Dip your knees in and use your legs to help you (B) press the dumbbells overhead. Lower yourself with controlled tempo into the shoulders and repeat. If your weights feel a little too light, don’t use any push from your legs and focus on firm pressing from your shoulders.

2. High Shot x 8-12

high dumbbell pull

Stand with dumbbells at your waist, in front of your body. (A) Keeping your core tight, lean forward slightly before returning to an explosive position and pulling the dumbbells towards your chin, pushing your elbows up and back (B). Slowly lower your back down to your waist under complete control. Simply avoid dropping the dumbbells at your waist to build more muscle and avoid injury. If your dumbbells feel light, avoid the help of your hips and simply stand up and pull the weights up to your chin.

3. Dumbbell deadlift x 15-20

dumbbell deadlift db

With the dumbbells on the floor just outside your feet, lower yourself down and grasp them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright, pushing the ground off with your feet, keeping your chest up and your black flat the entire time (b). Lower them to the ground in a hinged motion and repeat. Avoid excessive rounding in the lower back by keeping your shape taut throughout. Don’t rush, in a race to build muscle, slower and more consistent wins.

4. Jump Squats x 20

clothing, leg, human body, human leg, shoulder, standing, chest, joint, barechested, waist,

Lean forward slightly as you squat (A), then explode, jumping as high as you can (b). Cushion your landing with legs bent, then immediately sink into another squat and repeat. Aim for the highest possible height you can reach in each rep, even if it means pausing for a quick breath. We’re trying to generate energy here, not just go through the motions.

Third day (S19/D3)

As with days one and two, perform a full warm-up, set a 30-minute countdown, and work your way through as many high-quality rounds of the next circuit as possible, resting as much as necessary to maintain form, but with the goal to beat the week 17 reps and rounds.

1. Dumbbell Press-Ups x 10-15

press up, weights, arm, exercise equipment, kettlebell, muscle, chest, dumbbell, joint, physical fitness,

After the final press, release the kettlebells and assume a long arm plank position. With torso tucked in and hands under shoulders stacked on top of dumbbells (A), he bends at elbows to bring chest to floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back explosively.

2. Renegade Row x 10-12 (each side/ 20-24 total)

Weights, press up, arm, exercise equipment, kettlebell, muscle, physical fitness, chest, dumbbell, professional fitness,

15 push-ups in book, keep hands on bells and midline tight (A). Shifting weight to left hand, row right dumbbell toward hip (b). Take a short break, then get the weight under control. Repeat on the left side (each row equals one repetition).

3. Tempo Goblet Squat x 12-15

Weights, exercise equipment, kettlebell, muscle, standing, shoulder, arm, fitness professional, biceps curl, dumbbell,

Hold a single dumbbell close to your chest (A). Lower your hips back and slowly for a count of four seconds come down into a squat (B). Your elbows should go between your knees at the bottom. Rise explosively. Repeat. Pay attention to that time, it’s important.

4. Burpee over bells x 10

dumbbell burpees

With both dumbbells on the floor beside you, step back and hit the bridge into a push-up position. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor (A). Stand up and forcefully jump over the dumbbells (b) driving through the hips when taking off. Land and immediately drop to the ground and repeat. Dumbbells make you responsible for the height of each jump.

men's health dumbbell club
Headshot of Andrew Tracey

With nearly 18 years in the health and fitness field as a personal trainer, nutritionist, breath coach, and writer, Andrew has spent nearly half his life exploring how to help people improve their bodies and minds.

As our fitness editor, he takes pride in keeping Mens Health at the forefront of reliable, recognizable and credible fitness information, both through writing and testing thousands of workouts each year, diving deep into the science behind building muscle and fat loss or exploring the psychology of performance and recovery.

Whilst constantly updating his knowledge base with seminars and courses, Andrew is as much a lover of practice as he is of theory and regularly tests his training by tackling everything from Crossfit and strongman races, to ultra marathons, to multiple bouts of 24 hour training and (extremely unofficial) world record attempts.

You can find Andrew on Instagram at @theandrew.tracey, or just hold up a free pizza sign and wait for it to appear.

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