3 Day Dumbbell Program: For Commercial gyms with No Barbells

Question: Coach (Cornell), I need to get a dumbbell workout from you. I’m working out at Planet Fitness and the dumbbells only go up to 65lbs. How can I still get  a good workout in though? -JM


Answer: Hey Jon, whats up. 1st of all if you’re unfortunate enough to train in a gym where there are no barbells, no loud music & dumbbells that only go up to 65lbs….you probably should find a new gym. In the event that you cannot, here’s a 3 day DB only program you can do….

*Side note. Since max effort training is out of the question, being as though we only have access to dumbbells, training volume and intensity have been turned up a bit.


Wait 60-90 seconds between exercises and repeat.


Day 1 – Lower Push/Upper Pull

1a. DB Jump Squats – 8 sets of 3

1b. DB 2 hand Bent over Row – 8×8


2a. DB Monster Rep Squat 4×5  (1+1/2 rep = 1)

2b. 1 Arm Db Snatch 4×5

2c. DB Side Plank – Hold weight in top hand – 4x 30s each


3a. Db rear leg elevated lunge 3x8ea

3b. DB Pull-over on bench 3×15

3c. DB Upright Row 3×12


Abs – Abdominal Russian Twists/V-ups/Leg Raises/Super man – Do them all in succession without rest for reps 20 and higher. 2-3 sets


Day 2 Lower Body pull/ Upper Body push

Warm-up *DB Shoulder Circuit – use light weight for 10 reps each (move fast) 2 sets

Upright row/Db curl press/ DB bent over row/DB Squat press/ DB 2 Arm Snatch/ lateral shoulder raise


1a. DB RDL (4sec on downward phase/1 sec up) use the heaviest DBs you can 4×5-8

1b. DB Monster Rep Bench Press 4×10-15


2a. Heavy DB Shoulder press 4×5

2b. DB Swing 4×15 (hold hex head on DB as you would a KB)

2c. Low Back Ext holding Db 4×12


3a. Db Pullover w Tricep Extension 4×10

3b. Single Leg Hip Thrust 4×10 each leg


4. Finisher – Turkish Get up 4×5 each arm in UNDER 4minutes


Day 3 – Core + Full Body Mix

Core warm-up – DB Sit-ups (arms reach over head each rep) / DB Super man / DB Side bends 30 each side


1a. DB Split Squat Jumps 2×30  seconds

1b. DB Mountain Climbers 2x 30 seconds

1c. Db Burpee w/ Jump 2x 30 seconds


2a. Db Step-ups 3×10

2b. Db Incline bench press 3×10


3. DB YTWL’s 1x 20 each


4a. Single Leg Squat to Box 3x8each leg

4b. DB Seated Power Clean 3×12


5a. DB Iso-grip Dumbbell Curl 3x10each arm

5b. DB skull Crushers 3×10


Finisher Db Push-up + Row 3 sets 45 sec each



Give that a try and let me know how it goes….


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