Top Dumbbell Workout For Legs – Strengthen Quads, Hamstrings And Glutes

Leg Exercises With Dumbbells

Strong legs are crucial to performance, including your functional fitness in old age. Leg exercises aren’t just for quads and hamstrings – they also work your core muscles, improve your balance, and grant you the added benefits of things like grip strength. It’s very important that you do train legs – no matter whether your goals are to build muscle, lose fat and tone up or strengthen your muscles!

Working legs at home can be challenging. With most of the trainers telling to do barbell squat, you may think it’s impossible to get a good quad and hamstring workout at home. Worry not!

In this article you will find dumbbells based legs exercises, which you can perform at home or gym to strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Tips:

(i) Remember form is important. Make sure to perform as many quality reps as you can per set. Don’t train to failure, and stop each set when your form starts to deteriorate.

(ii) Add weight to each exercise when you are able to perform the stated number of reps per set.

This is my sixth post on “Home Gym With Only two Equipment”. I have started writing this series on dumbbells workout because they’re fairly inexpensive, compact, allow you to tone every part of your body and easy to use even at home.

Click here to read my first six posts already published in this series:

(i)  Home Gym Dumbbells Workout.

(ii) Working Out Biceps With Dumbbells At Home

(iii) Best Tricep Workout At Home With Dumbbells

(iv) Top Chest Exercises With Dumbbells

(v) Ultimate Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises

(vi) Top Shoulder Exercises With Dumbbells

Dumbbell Workout For Quads

# 1

Dumbbell Goblet SquatHow To Do Dumbbell Goblet Squat

This exercise can be a great alternative to squatting with a bar on your back, especially for beginners to learn squat technique properly.

Method:

(i) Choose a dumbbell of preferred weight and hold it with palms of your both hands facing up under each edge of the dumbbell head. Position it close your chest. You should be looking straight forward, with your chest forwards, shoulders back, spine straight, and your feet just outside of shoulder width. This will be your starting position.

(ii) Initiate the movement by descending into a squat, pushing the hips back and bending the knees to lower your body. Maintain the angle of your torso, paying close attention to the preservation of your spine. As you descend, push your knees outward and keep your weight on your heels.

(iii) Descend until you either reach the full squat position with your hamstrings on your calves or until your thighs reach parallel with the floor. At bottom of the motion pause briefly.

(iv) Tense your abs and while pushing back up through your heels return to your starting position. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Notes:

(i) If you struggle with squatting with a barbell then this is the best version for learning how to squat in a vertical fashion.

(ii) Toe angle is highly individual – experiment to see what feels best for you.

Recommended No. Of Sets: 3-4, Reps: 12-15

# 2

Dumbbell LungesHow To Do Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell lunges play a valuable role in increasing legs muscle mass, improving joint integrity and sport performance.

Method:

(i) Choose a pair of dumbbells of your preferred weight and stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. This will be your starting position.

(ii) Step forward with your right leg around 2 feet or so from the foot being left stationary behind and land on heel, then forefoot. Lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance, until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor.

Note: As in the other leg exercises, do not let your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Make sure that you keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.

(iii) Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and return to the starting position.

(iv) Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.

Note: Keep your head up and back straight throughout the exercise. Never allow your back to round.

Caution: This is a movement that requires a great deal of balance so if you suffer from balance problems you may wish to either avoid it or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a fixed object.

Variations: There are several ways to perform the exercise.

(i) One way is to alternate each leg. For instance do one rep with the right, then the left, then the right and so on.

(ii) A more challenging version is the walking lunges where you walk across the room but in a lunging fashion. For walking lunges the leg being left back has to be brought forward after the lunging action has happened in order to continue moving ahead. This version is reserved for the most advanced athletes.

Recommended No. Of Sets: 3-4, Reps: 12-15

# 3

Dumbbell Step Uphow to do dumbbell stepups

(i) Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell on each hand (palms facing the side of your legs) in front of a flat bench or other raised platform. This is your starting position.

(ii) Keeping your eyes facing forward, place the left foot on the elevated platform. Once your foot is firmly planted on the platform, use the heel mainly to lift the rest of your body up and place the foot of the right leg on the platform as well.

(iii) Pause briefly and then step down with your right leg and carefully return to the starting position by placing the left foot next to the right foot.

(iv) Repeat with the right leg for the desired number of repetitions and then perform with the right leg.

Note: This is a great exercise for people with lower back problems that are unable to do stiff legged deadlifts.

Tips:

(i) Keep your head up and back straight throughout the exercise. Never allow your back to round.

(ii) Add intensity and difficulty by raising the platform. The higher the platform, the more intense the exercise will be.

(iii) Start by using little to no weight. This exercise requires a good deal of balance and caution should be used.

Variation: Just like lunges, this exercise can also be performed by alternating between the right and the left leg every time until all repetitions have been performed for both legs. Beginners can start with only the bodyweight, especially if they have balance issues.

Recommended No. Of Sets: 3-4, Reps: 15-20

# 4

One Leg Dumbbell Squat (AKA Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat)how to do One Leg Dumbbell Squat

The other names of this exercise are Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat and Split Squat with Dumbbells.

Single-leg exercises can arguably be tougher than two-legged exercises if you do them right. And they are an excellent way to correct muscle imbalances, which might have occurred over the years by depending mainly on bilateral leg movements.

(i) Position yourself into a staggered stance with the rear foot elevated and front foot forward, Hold a dumbbell in each hand with neutral grip, letting them hang at the sides, and stand with your back to a bench. This will be your starting position.

(ii) Carefully position the back foot on the bench. Begin by descending, flexing your knee and hip to lower your body down and continue until the back knee touches the ground directly beneath the hip. Maintain good posture throughout the movement. Keep the front knee in line with the foot as you perform the exercise.

(iii) At the bottom of the movement, drive through heel of the forward leg extending the knee and hip and return to the starting position.

(iv) Perform with opposite leg. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Notes:

(i) Though you can use a bench for this exercise but it may be somewhat uncomfortable on the ankle joint. So, it may be better to use the pad on the leg extension machine or perhaps the squat pad attached to a bar at a lower height. Preferably the back foot should be positioned at knee height or slightly below. Setting the back foot too high will likely just drive your lumbar spine into excessive extension.

(ii) In order to accentuate the quads during the split squat, focus on taking a slightly smaller split stance and drive up through the ball of the foot.

(iii) In order to accentuate the glutes and hamstrings during the split squat, focus on taking a slightly larger split stance and drive up through the heel of the foot.

Tips:

(i) Make sure all of the work is being done by your front leg, and that you’re not using your back leg to help.

(ii) You don’t have to be completely upright as you complete the movement. On the contrary, you should have a slight forward lean and focus on keeping your lumbar spine neutral.

Recommended No. Of Sets: 3-4, Reps: 12-15

Dumbbell Workout For Hamstring

# 5

Romanian Dumbbell DeadliftHow To Do Romanian Dumbbell Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift with dumbbell is a great exercise for strengthening hamstrings and overall posterior chain development.

Method:

(i) Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs and stand with feet hip width. Make sure that your back is straight and stays that way for the duration of the exercise. Allow your arms to hang perpendicular to the floor, with the wrists pronated and the elbows pointed to your sides. This will be your starting position.

(ii) Start the movement with your knees slightly bent. Push your hips back as far as possible. This should involve a horizontal movement of the hips, rather than a downward movement and your weight should remain on your heels. Maintain your lower back in its natural arch throughout the movement.

(iii) The main thing to aim for is a feeling of stretch in the hamstrings.

Note: This trick is based on one simple biometric principle: the muscle being stretched the most is one being recruited most. With that in mind, a very simple way to stretch more hamstrings from this movement is to elevate the front of your feet by half an inch to one inch like placing your toes on weight plates. You also shift the balance point to the back of your feet, which enhances the recruitment of the posterior chain muscles.

(iv) When your hips cannot perform any further backward movement, pause, and then slowly return to the starting position by extending the hips.

Recommended No. Of Sets: 3-4, Reps: 12-15

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# 6

Single Leg Deadlift with Dumbbell (SINGLE-LEG DUMBBELL STRAIGHT-LEG DEADLIFT) How To Do Single Leg Deadlift with Dumbbell

The single-leg dumbbell straight-leg deadlift is a full body, multi-joint movement that helps increases total body strength, more specifically in the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and shoulders. Performing the exercise on one leg also ensures improving muscular balance on both sides of the body while actively engaging the core.

Method:

(i) Hold dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Let them hang at arm’s length in front of upper thighs with arms straight and palms facing your thighs. Stand with feet together. Lift left leg slightly so foot is just a few inches off floor behind you while keeping a slight bend in your supporting leg. This is your starting position.

(ii) Lean forward at your hips while simultaneously lowering dumbbells straight down towards floor and raising your lifted leg backwards. Keeping the dumbbells close to your shins, lower the weights until your back and free leg become almost parallel with the ground. All the while keep your lower back naturally arched and knee of the supporting leg slightly bend. Once stretch is felt or dumbbells contacts floor, pause and then reverse the movement back to the starting position without letting the toes of your left foot touch the floor. That’s 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps. and then repeat same number of reps with the other side.

 

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