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Top 10 dumbbell leg workouts

Friends don’t let friends skip leg day. Why? Because your friends don’t want you to have a massive torso with chicken legs.

Friends don’t let friends skip leg day. Why? Because your friends don’t want you to have a massive torso with chicken legs.

Here are our top 10 dumbbell leg workouts to help you start off on the right foot and make your leg day much more interesting.

Dumbbell Squats

Squats are a timeless compound exercise dating back to the days of Platz and Co. This means it hits multiple muscle groups, which is a great time saver for busy gym buffs. The dumbbell variation fires up your quadriceps, Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, soleus, and calves. It also targets your core as you try to maintain your balance and stability during the exercise.

How to do it:

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides while assuming a shoulder-width stance. Your toes should be pointing slightly outward. This improves your balance and takes the pressure off your knees.
  2. Slowly bend your knees and lower into a squat. Your hamstrings should be parallel to the floor at the top of the movement. Brace your core and lock your back at a slight forward angle throughout.
  3. Hold the position for a second or two before returning to the starting position. You may repeat your desired number of repetitions or aim for three to four sets of 10 reps each.
Goblet Squat by Andre Adams

Goblet Squats

Goblet squats are a variation of regular dumbbell squats. The difference lies in the grip and number of dumbbells you use: when you do the former, you just hold one dumbbell with both

hands.

Goblet squats work your quadriceps, glutes, upper back, and core muscles. If you’ve never done squats before, this variation is a good starting point. Since goblet squats shift the load to the front of your core, they’re relatively easy on your back.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a dumbbell and hold the bottom part of one plate with both hands, palms facing up. Maintain a shoulder-width stance and point your toes slightly outward for better balance.
  2. Execute the movement as you would a regular dumbbell squat exercise.
  3. Once your hamstrings are parallel to the ground, pause for one to two seconds before returning to your starting position. Repeat to your desired number of repetitions, but three to four sets of 10 reps each are ideal.

Dumbbell Jump Squats

As the word “jump” implies, dumbbell jump squats add a unique dimension to dumbbell squats. If you want to ramp up your leg strength and power, this variation fits the bill. It can also help improve your performance in team sports such as baseball, football, or basketball.

Dumbbell jump squats are a compound exercise that targets your quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes, and upper back.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells. Employ a neutral grip with your palms facing your sides. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly, point your toes slightly outward, and maintain a straight back.
  2. Perform a squatting movement by pushing your hips and glutes backward until your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.
  3. Push through your heels and jump as high as you can. Make sure to land on the same spot. Keep your arms by your sides throughout the movement.
  4. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions (try three to four sets of 10 reps each).

Dumbbell Sumo Squats

Yet another variation of squats is dumbbell sumo squats. “Sumo” implies the proper positioning of your feet as you perform this exercise—like that of a sumo wrestler.

Dumbbell sumo squats mainly target your glutes, hamstrings, and inner quads. They burn a ton of calories and improve your mobility, flexibility, balance and stability. When it comes to leg exercises, this variation is a certified Jack of all trades.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands. Place it at waist height. Flare your legs out at a 45-degree angle. They should be three to four feet apart. Point your toes slightly outward. Tip your torso forward at a 30-degree angle. Make sure your back is straight.
  2. Execute a squatting movement until your hamstrings are parallel to the ground. Pause for a second or two while bracing your core. Return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions (aim for three to four sets of 10 reps each).

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats

If you want to up the ante a bit, try doing one of the toughest leg exercises around: the dumbbell Bulgarian split squats.

Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats hit just about every major muscle group of your lower body. These include your glutes, Adductor Magnus, hamstrings, calves, soleus, Rectus femoris, and Vastus Lateralis. This variation is as comprehensive as it gets.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and hold them by your sides. Stand in front of the longer side of a flat bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your back should face the length of the bench.
  2. Place the top of one foot on the bench behind you with your knee bent. Execute a squat position with your other leg. Ensure the hamstring of this leg is parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause for one to two seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat to the desired number of repetitions.
  4. Switch to the opposite leg and repeat the first three steps.

Dumbbell Lunges

If you’re determined to increase your leg muscle size and strength, then dumbbell lunges should be a fundamental part of your leg workout. Any type of lunge will help you achieve these goals, but the additional resistance that dumbbells provide kick things up a notch. Dumbbell lunges also help improve your balance, stability, and flexibility.

Dumbbell lunges essentially work your glutes, hamstrings, hips, calves, and quads. They also work your abdominal muscles and lower back because they help stabilize your body throughout the movement.

How to do it:

  1. Grab two dumbbells and hold them by your sides. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Maintain a straight and relaxed back.
  2. Lunge your right leg forward. Your right hamstring should be parallel to the ground. Your left knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Hold the position for a second or two.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with your left leg. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions (try three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg).

Reverse Dumbbell Lunges

The name of this exercise is a dead giveaway: reverse dumbbell lunges will have you lunging backward instead of forward.

Aside from giving a twist to regular lunges, reverse dumbbell lunges are a safer alternative for your knees since they don’t overstretch your legs. This exercise works your glutes, quads, Adductor Magnus, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, and lower back.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand upright with your knees slightly bent. Place the dumbbells by your sides. Maintain a shoulder-width stance and relaxed back.
  2. Lunge backward with your right leg. Your right knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Ensure your left hamstring is parallel to the ground. Hold the position for a second or two.
  3. Repeat step 2 with your left leg. Continue until you’ve reached the desired number of repetitions for each leg (ideally three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg).

Dumbbell Step-Ups

Dumbbell step-ups help develop functional movements such as stair climbing or stepping on an elevated platform. It’s a practical exercise that primarily develops your glutes and quads. Dumbbell step-ups also work your inner thigh muscles, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, and lower back.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and place them by your sides. Stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees.
  2. Step your right foot onto an elevated platform such as a flat bench, plyometric jump box, coffee table, or wooden box which allows your right hamstring and the right calf muscle to form a 90-degree angle. Once your right foot is firmly planted on the elevated platform, step your left foot on the platform. At this point, you should be standing in an upright position. Hold this for a second or two.
  3. Step down on the ground using your right foot followed by your left foot. Repeat the first two steps until you reach the desired number of repetitions (ideally three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg).

Dumbbell Deadlifts

Deadlifts are one of the most popular and powerful compound exercises of the Golden Era of Bodybuilding and even today. This variation of deadlifts targets your glutes, hamstrings, trapezius, lats, quads, calves, hips, and core muscles.

In terms of benefits, dumbbell deadlifts help you burn calories, improve your posture, and lower your risk for injury.

How to do it:

  1. Assume an imaginary sitting position. Your hamstrings should be parallel to the ground. Lean forward until your chest touches your knees. Plant your feet firmly on the floor while holding a pair of dumbbells (each dumbbell should touch the ground and be placed next to the corresponding foot).
  2. Push through your heels and then stand up. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Hold this position for a second or two.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions (aim for three to four sets of 10 reps each).

Dumbbell Calf Raises

If you want prominent, muscular, and well-defined legs, calf training is a must. One of the first things people notice when they see your legs are your calf muscles. Make sure you develop this particular muscle group by doing dumbbell calf raises during your leg day.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and place them by your sides. Stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
  2. Choose a slightly elevated platform such as a wooden plank or barbell plate. Place your toes on the platform. Your heels should remain on the ground.
  3. Exhale and raise your heels off the ground. Squeeze your calves at the top of the movement. Hold this position for a second or two before returning to the starting position.
  4. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions (aim for three to four sets of 10 reps each).

If you’re ready to develop a set of killer legs, try doing these leg exercises with Ironmaster’s Quick-Lock adjustable dumbbells. Our patented technology and superior construction make our dumbbells the safest in the industry. Get your pair of the world’s strongest adjustable dumbbells today!

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