Build strong, defined legs with this dumbbell leg workout at home. Each circuit includes a strength exercise, plyometric exercise, and isometric hold. This combination of exercises builds muscle, improves athletic performance, and strengthens the muscles and ligaments surrounding the knee and hip joints. Target the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and thighs, using just a pair of dumbbells.
Each circuit in today’s leg workout includes three exercises, each of which benefits the body in a different way:
Strength exercise: promotes muscle growth and increases metabolism.
Power exercise: improves speed, power and athletic performance.
Isometric exercise: improves joint stability and muscular endurance.
This combination of lower body exercises is a well-rounded way to train the legs at home, using just a set of dumbbells.
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Dumbbell Leg Workout FAQs
Can You Build Legs With Just Dumbbells?
Yes. Dumbbells are an effective and versatile tool for adding resistance to lower body exercises, such as squats, lunges and deadlifts. Unlike machines (such as the leg press machine or hamstring curl machine), dumbbells allow you to strength train the lower body in all planes of motion.
Are Squats Enough for Leg Day?
Squats are one of the most effective compound lower body exercises that targets the quad muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and core. However, a well-rounded leg day workout will also include a variety of movement patterns, such as deadlifts, lunges, and hip thrusts/glute bridges.
What Are The Best Dumbbell Leg Exercises For Beginners?
Beginner leg workouts should include a hip-dominant movement (deadlifts), a knee-dominant movement (squats or Bulgarian split squats), and moving in different planes of motion. Beginners may benefit from performing each exercise with just their body weight to learn proper form before adding dumbbells.
Build leg strength, endurance, power and control with this 30-Minute Dumbbell Leg Workout.
A complete workout targeting every muscle group in the lower body: the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and thighs.
Add this leg workout to your home workout plan 1-2 times per week to build and maintain strength in the lower body.
Medium Set of Dumbbells. I recommend between 5-25 lbs depending on your fitness level. We used 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in today’s workout. Option to drop weights at any time and do this workout with just your body weight.
3 Exercises Per Circuit (Strength, Power, Isometrics)
Timed Intervals (perform each strength exercise for 40 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest; perform each power exercise for 30 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest; perform each isometric exercise for 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest)
Targets: Leg muscles, quads, glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs (hip abductors), chest and core.
Goblet squats are easier on the back than traditional barbell squats. Additionally, holding the weight in front of your body increases core engagement.
How To Do Goblet Squats
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell vertically at your chest, elbows tucked in (goblet hold). Engage your core.
Inhale as you bend your knees and sit your hips back (as if sitting down in a chair). Aim for 90 degree bends at each knee, focusing on pushing your knees out (not letting them cave in). Keep your torso in an upright position.
Exhale as you press through your heels to stand tall, driving your hips forward to return to standing position.
Split Lunge (Dumbbell Lunges)
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, core and calf muscles.
The dumbbell lunge is one of the best strength training exercises for muscle development in the lower body. Slightly lean forward to hit more of the glutes, or keep the torso upright to isolate the quads.
How To Do Dumbbell Lunges
Stand with feet hip width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
Step your right leg back into a reverse lunge, dropping your right knee down towards the ground as you lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle. Front thigh is parallel to the floor.
Then squeeze your left glute, keeping the weight in your front (left) heel as you straighten your left knee, pushing back up to a standing position.
Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, hips, lower back and core.
Single leg deadlifts and staggered dumbbell deadlifts shift more of the load into one leg at a time – increasing the intensity without the need for additional equipment.
How To Do Staggered Deadlifts (B-Stance Deadlift, or B-Stance Romanian Deadlift)
Stand with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold dumbbells in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing in towards your body.
Stagger your feet, so your right leg is slightly in front of your left foot. Kickstand your back left foot, left heel floating off the ground. Keep 80% of your weight in your front foot, 20% in your back left toe.
Maintain a staggered stance as you hinge at the hips. Push your hips back towards the wall behind you as you glide the dumbbells down the front of your legs. Range of motion will look different for everyone.
Drive through your front right heel to push your hips forward, pulling the dumbbells back up towards your hip as you stand tall.
Targets: Glutes (gluteus medius), quads, hip adductors (inner thighs), hamstrings and core.
How To Do Lateral Squats
Start standing, feet wider than shoulder width (lateral squat stance), with toes pointed slightly outward. Hold one dumbbell vertically at the chest (goblet hold).
Sit your hips back, bending your right knee while leaving your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your right leg while your left leg remains straight.
Then, drive off your right foot to reverse the movement, pushing back to center as you stand tall.
Targets: Glutes (both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius), hamstrings and hip adductors.
How To Do Hip Thrusts
Sit in front of a bench or chair, feet shoulder width apart and planted on the floor. Then rest your upper back on a bench. Hold one dumbbell at your hips, resting on your hip bones.
Press through the heels to lift your hips (or thrust your hips) until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
Hold at the top of the hip thrust for a moment before lowering your hips back to the starting position with control.
Modification: Perform glute bridges from the floor if you don’t have a bench or box available.
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