The New Year’s gym rush is upon us.
Or the pre-summer “I have 30 days to perfect my Baywatch physique” craze. Or even the second Tuesday in March, which — strangely enough — draws the biggest gym crowds.
(Really, no matter when you’re reading this, the gym is packed.)
There’s also a 50/50 shot (literally) that you struggle with gym-timidation or simply don’t have the time, energy, or patience to train at the gym.
Bodybuilding.com’s Total-Body Dumbbell Fix is a full-body routine designed to build strength and break a sweat … with nothing more than a single set of dumbbells at home.
Keep scrollin’ to learn whether Total-Body Dumbbell Fix lives up to the hype!
About the Creator (… Maybe) – Rickey Jasper II
He doesn’t outwardly say, “Hi, I’m Rickey Jasper II, and I’m the creator of Total-Body Dumbbell Fix.” But he stars in all the images, videos, and GIFs — or is it GIFs? — in this program.
Hey, we’ll roll with it.
Rickey Jasper II reached celebrity status during his two-episode stint on The Bachelorette (season 14).
Spoiler alert: Jasper had a career as a NASM-certified personal trainer and bodybuilder to fall back on when he ultimately left the Bachelor Mansion still single.
His time in the fitness industry includes creating an online coaching business (4:13 Health and Fitness) and becoming a finalist in Bodybuilding.com’s Spokesmodel Search.
Again, we have no idea if he actually created Total-Body Dumbbell Fix or if it’s the work of a backroom Bodybuilding.com intern.
What Is a Total-Body Dumbbell Fix?
Total-Body Dumbbell Fix is a four-week fitness program that redefines traditional free weight at-home training.
Through four weekly dumbbell-only workouts, NASM trainer and Bachelorette alum Rickey Jasper II guides you through a total of five follow-along workouts that’ll soak you in sweat:
- Back of Body
- Front of Body
- High-Rep Total-Body Burn
- Heavy Strength (alternates with High-Rep)
- Man-Maker Mayhem
These sub-30-minute workouts are a bit of a different breed if you’re an Athlean-X diehard or Body Beast fanatic.
They’re time-based (45-second sets), customizable enough to match any fitness level, require a single set of dumbbells, and follow a circuit-style pattern to improve strength and stamina.
But will you end this program any fitter than you started? Read on to find out.
Bodybuilding.com’s Total-Body Dumbbell Fix Details & Features
The lack of barbells and rep goals are red flags #1 and #2. But if we learned anything from BodyFit’s vast collection of programs, it’s that there’s a surprise around almost every corner.
Before we pass judgment, let’s take a closer look at Total-Body Dumbbell Fix.
This 27-day program balances four (almost) full-body workouts with three rest days per week, at least during weeks 1–3:
- Day 1: Back of Body
- Day 2: Rest
- Day 3: Front of Body
- Day 4: Rest
- Day 5: High-Rep Total-Body Burn or Heavy Strength
- Day 6: Man-Maker Mayhem
- Day 7: Rest
Why they dropped day 28 from a four-week program is beyond logic. But, you’ll double up on Back & Front of Body workouts on Monday and crank out each workout once in that final week.
Whoever created this program really wants you to believe that all you need is one set of dumbbells for the next four weeks, ideally a weight you can “lift” for 45 seconds (super vague).
But if you want a more definitive answer, here’s their official recommendation:
|Fitness Level||Recommended Dumbbell Weight|
Possibly unpopular opinion: For a program like Total-Body Dumbbell Fix that’s adaptable to all experience levels, a set of loadable or adjustable dumbbells is a better choice for three reasons:
- True newbies may have no trouble deadlifting or thrusting 30–40 pounds (combined). But they’ll struggle with isolation exercises like chest flies and single-leg Romanian deadlifts against the same resistance. (The same is true for any skill level, really.)
- Whether you’re training for endurance, strength, or something else, the #1 training goal should always be progressive overload. If 45 seconds of 20-pound pullovers aren’t even remotely tiring for your lats or pecs, the benefits are limited.
The 30-second break between exercises is just enough time to adjust the weight between front squats (where 60 pounds is no sweat) and military presses (typically requiring lighter loads).
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Total-Body Dumbbell Fix Workouts
With each Total-Body Dumbbell Fix workout, you’ll find:
- A follow-along video for all five workouts
- An audio version to accompany each video (stripped directly from the video!)
- A GIF demonstrating each individual exercise
- A several-paragraph explanation describing how to perform each move
The sub-half-hour Dumbbell Fix workouts begin with a semi-short 2–3-minute circuit warm-up featuring dynamic movements like arm circles, high knees, and jumping jacks.
If nothing else, this program is consistent. Each workout consists of three rounds of 3–5 exercises, 30 seconds of rest between exercises, and a minute-long rest between rounds.
Here’s what to expect with each workout:
Back of Body
TBDF’s Back of Body Workout (that’s literally the name of it) targets the muscles along the posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, back muscles, and lats, with exercises like:
- Reverse lunges
- Bent-over rows
- Bent-arm pullovers
- Side plank rear-delt raises
Front of Body
Next up are the Front of Body sessions that switch the focus to your chest, abs, quadriceps, and triceps (um, what?). This time around, expect moves like:
- Narrow-grip push-ups (using the dumbbells as supports)
- Goblet stand-kneel-stands
- Floor chest flies
High-Rep Total-Body Burn
The High-Rep Total-Body Burn workout is a refreshing change of pace compared to the Front & Back of Body workouts. Now, we’re aiming for high reps with a low weight*:
- Mountain climbers
- Single-arm snatches
- Russian twists
- Standing Arnold presses
* All workouts in this program called for three rounds and 45-second sets … so what makes this workout “high rep” is the speed of the reps.
The name of this workout is a bit cringey if CrossFit isn’t your jam. This workout essentially pieces together the final movement — the “man-maker” — gradually throughout the session:
- Front squats
- Military presses
- Alternating renegade rows
Jasper ends the workout with a single two-minute set of full “man-makers,” which, for the non-CrossFitters, just seems like burpees with extra steps.
Heavy Strength shifts the focus back to compound movements and controlled repetitions; don’t be afraid to load up a heavier dumbbell! This full-body workout includes a circuit featuring:
- Single-leg Romanian deadlifts
- Split squats
- Traveling push-ups
- Single-arm dumbbell rows
- Turkish get-ups
We realized a while ago that many BodyFit programs “rip” sections from other routines. The rest day suggestions here are exactly the same as Your Transformation Starts Here: Volume 1.
The only redeeming factor is the number of options you have on your rest days, including taking a hot (or ice-cold) bath, scheduling a massage, meal-prepping, walking, or foam-rolling.
Or, if you’re dreading that nasty endorphin withdrawal from an exercise-free 24 hours, BodyFit suggests low-impact cardio or playing recreational sports on your rest days!
The Training Guidelines is a hub for those with questions starting with, “But, what if I…”:
- Am a beginner? Perform fewer rounds or start with just two workouts per week until you build your strength and endurance.
- Want to lose fat? To put a more HIIT edge on these workouts, either increase the intensity, choose a lower weight, or shorten your rest periods.
- Plan to build muscle? Add more calories and protein to your diet, choose a weight that allows you to fail at 8–10 reps (before resuming the set), and add more resistance if you’re not reaching failure by the 45-second-mark.
- Have a bad back? Strengthen your core with 2–3 minute-long planks after each workout. (FYI: While a weak core can cause backaches, check with a doctor first!)
If you want to create a hybrid program or blend this routine with your current plan, Jasper also includes several three, four, and five-day variations of Total-Body Dumbbell Fix!
Jasper (or whoever) insists that, even if you don’t change your diet, you’ll build muscle and burn fat simply by following the workouts. (That’s a tad controversial, but we’ll let it slide for now.)
The nutritional third of TBDF — with the final third being supplements — depends on you viewing food as a source of fuel and recovery to avoid the neurotic macro-counting.
They recommend plugging your stats into the Bodybuilding.com calorie calculator. From there, you can divide your calories between the macronutrients: 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat.
The guide ends by detailing the importance of each nutrient and the role nutrient timing plays.
(Honestly, we’re so far into this that we’re not sure which version is the original now.)
Jasper et al. recommend 7 supplements — 3 essentials and 4 optional performance boosters. But if we had to narrow that list down for Noob Gains readers, we’d suggest:
- Whey Protein: For those overcoming low appetite, on a vegetarian diet, or simply falling short of the recommended protein intake for mass (0.5–0.8 per pound of body weight), a scoop of whey protein 1–2 times per day can fill that gap.
- Creatine: One of the most well-studied fitness supplements ever, supplementing with the amino acid creatine can improve bench press 1RMs by up to 45% and overall weightlifting performance by 14% (compared to non-creatine groups). For those wanting to build strength, size, and power with TBDF, creatine is a must.
- Pre-Workout: The amino acids and other ingredients — specifically caffeine — loaded into pre-workout powders are proven to improve aerobic endurance (or stamina) and boost upper body strength and power.
If you want to try ‘em all, the remaining four are multivitamins, fish oil, BCAAs, and protein bars.
9 Solid Benefits of BodyFit’s Total-Body Dumbbell Fix
- For both newbies and well-trained men, studies show that 3+ full-body workouts per week can be better for building lean mass than a split routine. Additional research suggests that, for beginners, three sessions per week with fewer sets per workout are ideal for strength.
- If you’re short on time, space, equipment, and effort, TBDF is a decent “fix.” At the bare minimum, all you need is one set of dumbbells and four 30-minute free slots per week.
- On credentials alone, NASM personal trainer certifications are well-respected. Even if Jasper didn’t create this program, he’s a trusted source for the exercise demonstrations.
- Jasper built in more than enough rest days to ensure you’re at full strength by your next workout. If you’ve been in a weight maintenance stage for months, this program will likely build muscle and burn fat at the same time.
- The four weekly workouts mostly focus on compound movements like renegade rows, front squats, and deadlifts. Research from 2015 shows that both multi- and single-joint exercises almost equally improve peak torque and muscle thickness. (If you hope to build a more aesthetic physique, however, we’d recommend more isolation exercises!)
- Whether you want to build muscle, lose weight, or combine Dumbbell Fix with your current routine, Jasper includes plenty of program alternatives.
- If you have a set of adjustable dumbbells up to 50-or-so pounds, you can likely repeat this program several times before maxing out.
- The workouts are fast-paced with a decent selection of exercises (not just your run-of-the-mill dumbbell exercises).
- While it’s a bit unconventional, the 45-second sets fit nicely in the ideal time under tension (TUT) for both strength and hypertrophy — about 30–70 seconds per set. The time-based structure also allows you to better gauge your progress. If you can complete 12+ reps without pausing, use a heavier weight next time!
5 Negatives of the Total-Body Dumbbell Fix Program
- While each workout has its own twist (back, front, high-rep, and heavy strength), they all follow the same pattern — three rounds, 3–5 exercises, and 45-second sets.
- The recommended 40/30/30 split is severely off-base for those ready to get ripped or build serious mass. Real bodybuilders follow a split that looks like this: 55–60% carbohydrate, 25–30% proteins, and 15–20% fats ± 15% of your maintenance calories (depending on if you’re bulking or cutting).
- The rest day recommendations and supplement suggestions are both “stolen” from other BodyFit programs. We don’t know which routine started the trend at this point.
- Supplements and a proper diet plan make up ⅔ of the entire program, yet these sections are vague or copy-pasted from other BodyFit programs.
- We’re under the impression the triceps are not in the back of the body.
Wrapping Up Total-Body Dumbbell Fix Review
Total-Body Dumbbell Fix is a top-notch choice for those with limited equipment (literally just an adjustable dumbbell set), little time (<30 minutes per day), and a desire to improve themselves.
The diet and supplement plans are a bit flimsy, and a few pieces of this program made us say, “huh?” But while Jasper advertises it as a program for anyone, we’d recommend it for noobs.
If you want to maximize your results, we’d also suggest a set of adjustable dumbbells.
With less than two hours of training per week and minimal changes to your diet, you can build fat, lose muscle, and inch toward a more aesthetic physique.
But if you’ve progressed past full-body or PPL (push-pull-legs), you’ll probably catch yourself saying: “Wait, that’s it?!”