Dumbbell PPL

(171 reviews)
A beginner dumbbell routine based on a Push Pull Legs split
Program Description

Dumbbell PPL (Push, Pull, Legs) is a beginner dumbbell routine that only uses dumbbells and a pull up bar. If you have limited access to equipment or you're always constantly in small hotel gyms, this program is perfect for you.

The Dumbbell PPL workout program is primarily designed for hypertrophy (muscle building), but you'll gain strength as well. This program gained immense popularity on Reddit and was created by u/gregariousHermit.

Dumbbell PPL App

Dumbbell PPL is free on Boostcamp App, the last lifting app you'll ever need.

Read the full program guide below.

Program Overview
Coachr/Fitness
LevelBeginner, Novice
GoalBodybuilding, Powerbuilding
EquipmentDumbbell Only
Time Per Workout45 minutes
Days Per Week3 days
Program Length8 weeks
Start the program
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Week 1
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 2
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 3
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 4
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 5
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 6
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 7
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Week 8
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Chest Press (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Incline Chest Fly (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Arnold Press3
3-12
Tricep Extension (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Pull-Up (Bodyweight)3
3-12
Bent Over Row (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Reverse Fly3
3-12
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Shrug (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Goblet Squat3
3-12
Lunge (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)3
3-12
Standing Calf Raise3
3-12
Hanging Leg Raise3
3-12
What People Are Saying
3.9/ 5
Man, 21
1 week complete
1 year of prior experience
As expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Good for beginners as it was simple enough. It hits all of the muscles.
9 days ago

Dumbbell PPL Routine Guide

Dumbbell PPL (Push, Pull, Legs) is a beginner dumbbell routine that only uses dumbbells and a pull up bar. If you have limited access to equipment or you're always constantly in small hotel gyms, this program is perfect for you.

The Dumbbell PPL workout program is primarily designed for hypertrophy (muscle building), but you'll gain strength as well. This program gained immense popularity on Reddit and was created by u/gregariousHermit.

Dumbbell PPL App

Dumbbell PPL is free on Boostcamp App, the last lifting app you'll ever need. You'll be able to easily follow Dumbbell PPL workouts with weight tracking, exercise video demos, and training analytics.

Dumbbell PPL Required Equipment

  • Dumbbells: You will need adjustable dumbbells or a range of lighter to heavier dumbbells. Dumbbell PPL is not practical if you only have a single pair of dumbbells.

  • Bench: Ideally you would have an adjustable bench to do incline flyes on push days, but it is not a deal breaker. If you only have a flat bench, replace incline with flat flyes.

  • Pull-up bar: Every hotel gym should have a place to do pull-ups. If you're working out at home, buy yourself a simple door-mounted bar.

Dumbbell PPL Routine

Push Day

  • Chest Dumbbell Press

  • Incline Flyes

  • Arnold Press

  • Overhead Tricep Extension

  • Hanging Leg Raise

Pull Day

  • Pull-ups

  • Bent-over Row

  • Reverse Fly

  • Shrug

  • Bicep Curl

  • Hanging Leg Raise

Legs Day

  • Goblet Squat

  • Lunge

  • Single Leg Deadlift

  • Calf Raise

  • Hanging Leg Raise

Dumbbell PPL Progression

  • For each set, do as many reps as possible, but no more than 12 reps per set. Rest ~90 seconds between each set to ensure proper recovery.

  • If you are able to complete all 3 sets for 12 reps of an exercise, then increase to the next available weight next workout.

  • If you use the same weight and reps on an exercise for three straight workouts without being able to increase weight, deload the weight for that exercise by two weight increments (~10%) the next workout and work your way back up.

  • For pull-ups and hanging leg raises, start with just your bodyweight. If those get too easy, add a dumbbell between your feet. If pull-ups are too hard, try negative pull-ups or break up the rep targets into more sets.

Dumbbell PPL Schedule

How often you do Dumbbell PPL is up to you and the speed at which you can recover. It is important to stay consistent so you can make progress. At minimum, it is recommended that you do Dumbbell PPL workouts a minimum of 4 days per week, or a max of 6 days per week.

6 Day Dumbbell PPL

Monday - Push
Tuesday - Pull
Wednesday - Legs
Thursday - Push
Friday - Pull
Saturday - Legs
Sunday - Rest

4 Day Dumbbell PPL

Monday - Push
Tuesday - Pull
Wednesday - Legs
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Push
Saturday - Pull
Sunday - Legs
Next Monday - Rest
Next Tuesday - Push
...

Dumbbell PPL Common Questions

Dumbbell PPL vs Dumbbell Stopgap

Dumbbell PPL is more of a bodybuilding style program with a Push Pull Legs 3-day split. Dumbbell Stopgap is more of a full body 2-day split (workout A and workout B). Both are good dumbbell focused programs that require adjustable dumbbells.

Dumbbell PPL results

Thousands of new lifters have used Dumbbell PPL to build muscle and strength. This program is by no means a replacement for routines that include barbells and machines, but it works well for beginners with limited equipment. To see results, scroll down below for reviews on search "dumbbell PPL reddit" to see more detailed reviews by lifters who've used the program.

PPL Dumbbell Workout

PPL Dumbbell Workouts are split into 3 days: Push Day, Pull Day, and Leg Day. As each day focuses on a part of the body, you can run this routine with no or minimal rest in between. Therefore, you should aim to train 5-6 days a week for best results.

No pull-up bar?

It is highly recommended that you gain access to a pull-up bar. You can buy one off Amazon for less than $100. If you really can't get a pull-up bar, you can try using a stable table to perform a row instead.

What to do after Dumbbell PPL

We recommend doing a beginner full gym program like GZCL Program, r/Fitness Basic Beginner Routine (3x5), or Greg Nuckols Beginner Program, or 5/3/1 for Beginners. You can find all these programs free on Boostcamp App. All these programs require access to barbells and some machines, but will yield better results as you become more advanced with lifting.