Here’s a dumbbell leg workout that you can do at home or at the gym! Keep in mind that with free weights, you can slow down your range of motion to increase the difficulty without having to go heavier on the weights. You can also utilise mid-rep pauses to get more out of each exercise. Watch your form, especially on the last 2-3 reps! You’ll need a couple of sets of dumbbells – one heavier and one lighter.
Key Factors when training with limited Equipment:
• Use your body as leverage – think about where your whole body is positioned, you can lean forward or backwards and place different emphasis on the muscles just by changing your weight distribution.
• Time under tension – this is the amount of time that it takes to perform each rep. You can think about exploding up out of a squat, but think about slowly controlling the negative part of the rep and using pause reps. These are going to be key if you are looking to shape or build muscle.
Here’s the workout – 4 sets of 10 reps for each exercise:
1. Goblet Squat
Keep the DB up to collar bone height. Use the palms of your hands to get underneath the weight.
• Use your lower arms to stabilize.
• Feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, don’t come up out of the squat all the way to keep constant tension on the glutes and the hamstrings.
2. Sumo Deadlift
Toes and Knees pointing out. Interlock your fingers underneath the dumbbell.
• Focus on keeping your upper body tall and engage your legs before anything else. The more you can get those toes and knees out, the more you are going to hit those abductors, medial glutes and gluteus minimus, that’s that shelf area or side glutes that a lot of women try to build. This is one of the best exercises for that.
• Hold constant tension, weight through heels, give a slight pause mid-rep and don’t into full extension at the top of the rep.
3. Dumbbell RDL
Keeping your back flat don’t let it round, feet narrow, turn toes out just slightly which is another great way to hit the glutes.
• Think about holding the dumbbells at the side and slightly behind the legs.
• Push weight through your heels and hinge at the hips.
• At the top tuck your pelvis forward a bit which helps to engage the glutes and hamstrings. Be mindful of each rep.
4. Heel Elevated Hack Squat
Use lighter dumbbells. Place your heels on weight plates – one under each foot. If you don’t have weight plates you can roll up a towel or a yoga mat and stand on that.
• Hold the dumbbells out in front for balance.
• Your knees will go over your toes for this exercise.
• Focus on constant tension.
• Slow on the way down and explode on the way up. This will develop beautiful strong quads and thighs.
5. Single-leg calf raise
Hold the dumbbell on the side of the leg that is working.
• Think about pushing your heel forward rather than going up onto your toe.
• Start with weaker leg. 4 sets of 10 each leg here!
6. Dumbbell Leg Curl
You can do this on a bench but if you are at home you can lay on the floor and do partial reps.
• Wedge the dumbbell in between your feet. Don’t point your toes.
• Focus on the negative part of the rep.
• Think about lengthening your legs. Take your time and control the dumbbell.