A Good Dumbbell Program

I’ve been doing 5/3/1 Hardgainer for six cycles now, but wanted to try something new for 3-4 months. I was thinking of doing a program that doesn’t include barbell lifts, except for squats. Is there a good program for this? Seems like most of the programs I see are focused on barbell lifts. I plan to get back to barbell lifts, but I just want to mix things up a bit.

If you want to avoid barbell lifts aside from the squat, I would do 20 rep squats with dips and chins for your upper body work.

Here’s an example of what I did today:

Dumbbell Bench Press - 40lbs - 2x20, 2x10
Leg Raises - 3x20
Dips - 5x10
Lat Pulldown - 93lbs - 5x10

I’m keeping my squat day the same as the 5/3/1 Hardgainer program. So, I’m doing 1x20 on squat day already.

You could use a Wendler template, like the Simple Strength Template that uses secondary lifts. Then use dumbbell presses/dumbbell benches/dumbbell inclines for the Secondary exercise.

If you wanted, you could use the 5’s Progression for your barbell presses. This would allow you to stay on track, but do some work with the dumbbells.

Your workout would be pretty much the same, only with a few non-killer sets of 5 in the barbell bench first.

I can’t tell your intent in posting this.

So, just to clarify, you are not doing 5/3/1 nor are you following the principles.

Just get on a program that suits your need. Changing a program to suit your needs is never a good idea.

Admittedly, I’m a bit all over the map currently. I was sticking to 5/3/1 Hardgainer before, but I just need a break from it for 3-4 months. After that I plan to go back to it. So yeah, I don’t consider myself to be on the program at the moment. When I was doing it I had replaced barbell squats with machine hack squats. I just didn’t have the flexibility to do a squat, so I did that instead. However, now I’m able to do barbell squats, so that’s why I want to keep the squat workout of 5/3/1. I know mixing and matching programs is a bad idea, but if I only do it for a short period I figure it’s not the end of the world.

My plan is to workout 3x week with following outline:

Workout A - Squat Workout of 5/3/1 Hardgainer, Bench Dips, Plate Raises
Workout B - Dumbbell Bench Press, Dips, Lat Pulldown, Leg Raises
Workout C - Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Curls, Pushups, Ab Roller

I’m not posting this as an example of a detailed program. I’m just giving a sense of the sort of structure I’d like for the program for the next few months. The workout I posted today would be an example of doing Workout B.

If you think this is a bad idea and have a specific program in mind that I should do instead I’d like to know. I’ll look into the programs suggested for me, thanks.

Did you look into the one I suggested?

You mean about doing 20 rep squats, dips and chins? That sounds interesting, but I’d need a bit more detail. Like, what would a 3x week workout look like? What do the reps/sets look like? Does this program have a specific name so that I can research it further?

The program is called 20 rep squats. You can read about it in Super Squats or the Complete Keys to Progress. I would suggest the former, as that work is completely desicated to the program.

Its 3 times a week for 6 weeks.

20 reps squats sounds brutal. To be honest, not sure I have the testicular fortitude for it.

I’ll probably give it a shot anyway. My squat is so far behind I need something extreme to get it up to snuff.

Running the program is a surefire way to build it.

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