The Ultimate Dumbbell Leg Workout

Introduction | How it works | The Ultimate Dumbbell Leg Workout | Dumbbell leg exercise Frequently Asked Questions

A woman is preforming a dumbbell forward lunge as part of a dumbbell leg workout.

If you’re want to build stronger, leaner leg muscles, look no further than this complete dumbbell leg workout. All you need to tackle this scorcher is a bit of space, a training timer and a pair of dumbbells. That’s it!

This workout is ideal for those who have migrated from a commercial gym to a home gym set-up. After a 30-minute run, or 5k row, you could dust off those dumbbells you bought at the start of lockdown and work your way through the 5 functional leg exercises below.

As well as promoting muscle strength and improved tonality in the quadriceps, this leg workout will get your heart rate up. The explosive plyo element of the exercises will engage your cardio-respiratory system which in turn fires up the metabolism and burns fat.

In addition, training the big muscles of the legs – the gluteus maximus and medius, the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves (gastrocnemius) – has been shown to ‘flood’ the body with growth hormones. But this doesn’t just promote lower body growth. Training the legs can stimulate growth throughout your entire muscular system.

To train your legs effectively you need to pry yourself away from the squat rack. Because there are so many muscles in the leg it’s important to diversify you exercises. If you only perform standard ‘static’ leg exercises – such as squats (apparently the only leg exercise in existence) or, god forbid, seated quad extensions – you will of course reduce the number of muscles targeted. This could impede strength development while also constricting the functionality of your legs. After all, legs evolved the capability of doing more than merely exerting force through one plane - aka squatting.

This complete dumbbell leg workout will ensure that you hit every leg muscle while also improving your functional strength.

How it works

There’s two ways you can approach this dumbbell leg workout routine. This first is to apply the sets/reps method. For each of the five exercises compete the specified number of repetitions for the stipulated number of sets. In between each set take a 30-second rest.

The second method has a CrossFit flavour to it; making it much more intense. Comprised of five individual AMRAPs, you are to set a 5-minute countdown on your training timer. As soon as the timer starts you are to perform as many repetitions as possible inside the allotted time. Make a note of your score so that you have something to compete against next time you try this leg workout.