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The Fastest Way to Get Ripped With Dumbbells

by Kim Nunley Google

About Kim Nunley

Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.


Although gaining large muscles is generally associated with men, women can also achieve a ripped physique by implementing exercises that effectively develop strength and muscle size. Dumbbells are weighted implements that play an important part in this and can help you build significant muscle mass. Master proper exercise form, and for quick results, lift dumbbells as frequently as possible with each session consisting of high sets and repetitions, while still allowing your muscles to rest.

Step 1

Split your muscle groups into separate workout sessions throughout the week. Focus on your chest and shoulders on Mondays and Thursdays, your back and legs on Tuesdays and Fridays, and your biceps and triceps on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Allow yourself to rest completely on Sunday. Splitting up your muscle groups will maximize your workout effectiveness, because you’ll be able to complete more exercises for each muscle group.

Step 2

Complete at least eight sets of exercises that target the muscle groups you’re assigned to develop, according to Dr. Joseph A. Chromiak of National Strength and Conditioning Association. For example, on your chest and shoulders day, complete at least eight sets for your chest and eight sets for your shoulders. You can do this by choosing two exercises for each muscle group, completing four sets of each, or by choosing three exercises for each muscle group and completing three sets of each. Each set should be completed for six to 12 repetitions each.

Step 3

Complete dumbbell exercises that effectively develop your muscles. Chest dumbbell exercises include chest press, chest flyes and incline chest press. Dumbbell exercises for your shoulders include shoulder press, lateral raises, front raises and upright rows. To develop your back with dumbbells, complete bent over rows rows, single arm rows and heavy pants. For your legs, complete dumbbell squats, lunges, deadlifts and calf raises. For your biceps, complete biceps curls, isolation curls and hammer curls. To target your triceps, complete overhead triceps extensions, kickbacks and lying triceps extensions.


  • To thoroughly develop all of your major muscle groups, you’re likely to need a wide array of dumbbell weights. Larger muscles like your chest and legs will require heavier weights, while you’ll need lighter dumbbells for smaller muscles like your triceps. Use an appropriate size of dumbbell for each exercise. You should struggle to complete the final three repetitions. If you’re unable to complete six repetitions, lighten the dumbbell weight. If you complete more than 12 repetitions without an issue, increase the dumbbell weight next time.


  • Do not train more often in an attempt to build muscle more quickly. Your muscles need at least 48 hours of rest in between training sessions to allow recovery and healing. According to Dr. Lee E. Brown of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, it's likely to take up to eight weeks to see increases in muscle size.

Photo Credits:

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.