A Dumbbell Workout Plan Guaranteed to Build Size

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The Men’s Health Dumbbell Club, your new weekly plan for a fitter, stronger body, using just two dumbbells.

Click here to head back and check out previous weeks or simply get stuck into our latest offering— week 24.

New This Week…

We’re headed into the final week of our peripheral heart action — or PHA — training block. Now’s the time to finish strong. Look back to your scores from the second week of this phase and attempting to smash them. By working hard to tick off more reps in the same time frame we’re leaning into the concept of progressive overload, this forces your body to take notice of your efforts in the gym and react by slapping on some extra muscle.

Each session will feature a repeat of 3 x 10 minute blocks from week 22. All you need to do is lift your way through as many high quality reps in each round as possible. Rest only as needed to keep your form sharp, but aim to beat your previously scored reps and rounds using the same weights if you want to see results. Easy, right?

Don’t worry if this is your first week of training in the MH Dumbbell Club. Simply follow the guidelines and perform as many high quality reps as you can in each block.


DAY ONE (W24/D1)

After a thorough warm-up, grab your dumbbells, set a countdown timer for 10 minutes and get to work on your first block, working your way through as many high quality rounds as possible. Rest as necessary to keep your form on point, but push yourself hard if you want to see results.

At the end of each round, make a note of how many reps you performed for each movement, creating a running tally for the entire workout. Keep this safe, we’ll be referring back to your score in the coming weeks.

Rest for 3-4 minutes before moving into blocks 2 and 3 respectively.

Block 1 (10 minutes) :

A. Dumbbell Hang Cleans x10-12

weights, exercise equipment, muscle, shoulder, arm, dumbbell, standing, kettlebell, sports equipment, bodybuilding,

Stand up and hold your dumbbells at your side. Hinge at the hips to lower them to your knees (A). Stand back up with a slight jump, using the momentum to pull the dumbbells on to your shoulders (B). Stand up straight, then lower under control to your sides and repeat.

B. Front Squat x12-15

dumbbell front squat

Clean your dumbbells onto the front of your shoulders (A). From here, drop into a front squat by pushing your hips back and bending at the knees until your thighs pass parallel to the ground (B), before driving back up explosively. Keep those dumbbells secured high, with a strong, upright torso throughout.

Block 2 (10 minutes) :

A. Dumbbell Floor (or Bench) Press x8-12

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

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

B. Dumbbell Deadlift x10-15 reps

db dumbbell deadlift

With your dumbbells on the floor just outside of your feet, hinge down and grip them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright, pushing the ground away with your feet, keeping your chest up and black flat throughout (B). Lower them back to the ground in a hinging motion and repeat. Avoid excessive rounding in your lower back, keeping your form tight throughout.

Block 3 (10 minutes) :

A. Push-Up on Dumbbells x10-15

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

Assume a long arm plank position, with your core tight and, hands below your shoulders stacked on top of your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.

B. Split Squat Jump x20-30 (total)

split squat jump jumping lunge

Step one foot backward and sink into a deep lunge, with your rear knee lightly touching the floor (A). Explode upward, jumping into the air and switching legs mid jump (B) to land in a lunge position with the opposite leg forward. Repeat the movement, alternating legs each rep. Keep this movement as fast paced as possible, focussing on maximising the height of each jump. End the set as soon as the ‘explosiveness’ begins to drop off.

DAY TWO (W24/D2)

Warm-up, grab your dumbbells, set a countdown timer for 10 minutes and get to work on your first ‘block’. Rest as necessary to keep your form on point, but push yourself hard.

At the end of each round, make a note of how many reps you performed for each movement, creating a running tally for the entire workout.

Rest for 3-4 minutes before moving into blocks 2 and 3 respectively.

Block 1 (10 minutes) :

A. See Saw Press x16-24 (total reps)

weights, exercise equipment, overhead press, shoulder, physical fitness, barbell, arm, standing, joint, sports equipment,

Stand up and press both dumbbells overhead explosively until your arm are fully locked out. Lower one bell down to your shoulder while keeping the other locked out overhead (A). Explosively press back up, now lower the other arm (B). Alternate in this fashion, keeping one bell secured overhead whilst the over is working, throughout.

B. Romanian Deadlift x10-15

romanian deadlift

Stand tall with your dumbbells at your sides, feet at shoulder-width(A). With a slight bend in the knees, push your hips back and slowly lower the bells towards the ground (B), pinching your shoulders back and maintaining a flat back. When you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings, pause and explosively return to and upright position.

Block 2 (10 minutes) :

A. Bent-Over Row x10-12

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

Stand tall with your dumbbells at your sides. Hinge forward until your torso is almost parallel to the ground and allow the dumbbells to hang just below your knees (A). Maintaining a flat back, row both dumbbells towards your hips (B), squeeze your shoulder blades down and back before slowly lowering your bells back to the start position. Repeat.

B. Tempo Goblet Squats x15-20

weights, exercise equipment, shoulder, kettlebell, arm, standing, fitness professional, physical fitness, muscle, human leg,

Hold a single dumbbell close to your chest (A). Sink your hips back and slowly over a count of 4 seconds descend into a squat (B). Your elbows should come in between your knees at the bottom. Drive back up explosively. Repeat. Pay attention to that tempo, it matters.

Block 3 (10 minutes) :

A. Alternating Reverse Lunge x20-30 (total)

leg, human body, shoulder, human leg, elbow, standing, joint, chest, knee, facial hair,

Stand tall with dumbbells at your sides (A), this time take a step backwards with one leg, bending at the knee until the back knee gently touches the ground (B). Stand up explosively, pause and repeat with the opposite leg. Alternate back and forth, aiming for 20-30 total reps, counting both legs.

B. Close Grip Push-Up on Dumbbells x10-15

arm, leg, human body, human leg, elbow, shoulder, wrist, joint, physical fitness, waist,

Assume a long arm plank position, with your core tight and, hands below your shoulders stacked on top of your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.

DAY THREE (W24/D3)

As with days one and two, warm-up, grab your dumbbells, set a countdown timer for 10 minutes and get to work on your first ‘block’. Rest as necessary to keep your form on point, but push yourself hard. Today only contains two blocks, so make sure you give your all in both of them.

At the end of each round, make a note of how many reps you performed for each movement, creating a running tally for the entire workout.

Rest for 3-4 minutes before moving into block 2.

Block 1 (10 minutes) :

A. Dumbbell Clean and Press x10-12

db dumbbell clean and press

Hinge at the hips and squat down to grab your dumbbells from the ground, just outside of your feet (A). Stand back up explosively and with a slight jump, using the momentum to pull the dumbbells on to your shoulders (B). Dip at the knees and use your legs to help (C) press your dumbbells overhead. Lower under control to your shoulders, then the ground and repeat.

B. Burpee x10

arm, human leg, joint, elbow, knee, shorts, wrist, thigh, trunk, muscle,

With your presses boxed off, drop your bells, squat down and place both hands on the floor between your feet. Jump your feet back into the top of a press-up and lower your chest to the ground (A). Straighten your arms and hop your feet forwards, before jumping into the air with hands on head (B)

Block 2 (10 minutes) :

A. Dumbbell Deadlift x10-15 reps

db dumbbell deadlift

With your dumbbells on the floor just outside of your feet, hinge down and grip them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright, pushing the ground away with your feet, keeping your chest up and black flat throughout (B). Lower them back to the ground in a hinging motion and repeat. Avoid excessive rounding in your lower back, keeping your form tight throughout.

B. Laying Leg Raise x15-20

laying leg raise

Lay flat on your back, with your heels just off of the ground, your dumbbells behind your head- gripping them as an anchor (A). Keeping your feet together, curl at the stomach, lifting your legs towards the ceiling until your hips peel from the floor (B), pause here for a second before slowly lowering. Once you start, keep your feet off of the ground throughout, once they touch down, your set is over.

mens health dumbbell club training plan
Headshot of Andrew Tracey

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

As our fitness editor he prides himself on keeping Men’s Health at the forefront of reliable, relatable and credible fitness information, whether that’s through writing and testing thousands of workouts each year, taking deep dives into the science behind muscle building and fat loss or exploring the psychology of performance and recovery.   

Whilst constantly updating his knowledge base with seminars and courses, Andrew is a lover of the practical as much as the theory and regularly puts his training to the test tackling everything from Crossfit and strongman competitions, to ultra marathons, to multiple 24 hour workout stints and (extremely unofficial) world record attempts.   

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

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