How To Gain Lean Muscle Mass With Dumbbell Only Workouts

dumbbellsquatMost people think that you have to lift really big, heavy weights for low repetitions in order to build a lot of muscle mass.  This means exercises like heavy barbell bench presses, heavy barbell squats and heavy barbell deadlifts, too.

But huge weights on big barbell exercises aren’t necessary.  If you want to gain a lot of lean muscle mass, you can do so it with just dumbbells.  And they don’t have to be really heavy dumbbells, either.  You can do it with light to medium dumbbells.

You can even gain muscle without going to the gym or needing a lot of workout space.  All you need is a few adjustable dumbbells (check Amazon – lots of great options) and a variety of free weights.  This doesn’t cost much at all and will last you a lifetime.

TIP: do get proper adjustable dumbbells, something like the Bowflex SelectTech – it takes 2 seconds to change weights and makes workouts a hell of a lot more fun than messing around unscrewing collars etc. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells
Alternatively, I’d recommend getting up to three sets so you can have three different dumbbell weights set up before you workout. Then you won’t have to keep stopping and changing the weights around. But quality adjustables take up less room and are just less hassle.

The only other piece of equipment you’ll need to be able to do all the exercises you’ll need for your muscle blasting dumbbell workouts is a simple bench.

You don’t need an expensive one with bench stands or anything since you are just using dumbbells, so a simple flat bench will do the trick.  It doesn’t take up much space at all.

The key to triggering gains in lean muscle isn’t lifting super heavy poundages like a weightlifter or power lifter. That’s not what you’re training to be, right, so why would you train in that way?

No, it’s increasing your training density. Training density is simple doing the same amount of work in less time or more work in the same amount of time.  And doing more work in less time is the ultimate goal!

And yes, this does work for slim men too – you don’t need to be ripped to get started (read how to gain muscle for skinny guys).

How Do I Get Started?

A great way to do this, and build muscle without heavy weights, is to perform eight sets of eight repetitions for an exercise and only take 15 to 30 seconds of rest between sets.  Start with 30 seconds and over time, try and reduce it to 15 seconds.

You want to use the same weight for all eight sets.  Only the last few sets will be taken to failure.  If you can get eight repetitions on all eight sets, add a little weight for the next workout.

Most likely the last few sets will have you getting less than eight reps.  In that case, keep the weight the same until you can get eight reps on all eight sets.

Perform one exercise per body part such as the dumbbell bench press for the chest.  Work out three times per week and work the entire body in each work out.

Here’s a sample dumbbell workout using this exact strategy:-

  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Dumbbell Alternate Reverse Lunge
  • Dumbbell One Arm Row
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Standing (or Seated) Press
  • Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
  • Dumbbell Curls

Try and increase your repetitions and weights as often as possible and you’ll be well on your way to nice gains in lean muscle mass.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive program complete with videos etc, take a look at the Adonis Golden Ratio Program here (it really does work).

Let me know how you get on.


Comments

How To Gain Lean Muscle Mass With Dumbbell Only Workouts — 3 Comments

  1. I agree on the adjustables – I have those Bowflex ones and they do save heaps on time. The alternative is a rack of all different weights already set up, like they have in gyms but who has the space (or cash) for that! Thanks for the tips.

    • It depends what plan you’re following. Short answer is – as soon as you can (within reason). Longer answer is – if you’re working on 3 sets of 12 for example, and you can easily do all 3 sets, then increase. If you can only manage 12, 10 and 6 reps then keep to the same weight. But also focus on your form and pace too, doing really good clean reps is more important than hitting numbers.

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