Hey there fitness enthusiasts!
Welcome to another blog where you can discover something new on your way to creating a better version of yourself. We might have covered many aspects until now, and this one is just as important as the rest of them!
Today, you will learn all about leg workouts with dumbbells.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about leg day? It's probably a series of leg presses and more squats than you can count. But how about dumbbells?
They might not be the first thing that comes to mind, right?
That’s okay, especially for those of you who are beginners. However, if you want to build some muscle mass and make a stronger version of yourself, then this might be one of the best ways to do that. Dumbbell-only leg workouts can give you the versatility you need and help you achieve the level of strength you desire.
So, the next time you’re at the gym, instead of using them for your arms, consider using them for your legs as well!
Benefits of leg workouts with dumbbells
Did you know that working out your lower body comes with many benefits? While you work out, being aware of your goals is important.
The best leg workouts with dumbbells will help you do wonders with your body. Not only will they improve your strength, but they will also keep your health at optimal levels!
Before going deep into each particular exercise, have a look into what it means to work out your legs with free weights.
- Gives you more volume – using the dumbbells will help you increase your volume without ever putting the strain on your joints and spine. If you want to develop specific muscle groups, this is the best way to do that. Give them the extra volume they need!
- Freedom of movement – using the barbell can trap you into a single position without the possibility to move around much (or at all). While limiting your movements is excellent for targeting specific muscle groups, the dumbbells still allow you to do that – but in this case, you can move more! You can get different results depending on where you place them (on the outside or inside of your legs).
- Balance – for those of you who are only getting started or have suffered a leg injury, here is why dumbbells will work. Using a barbell can cause a significant muscle imbalance (if not used correctly). For example, while you strain one side, the other one doesn’t take over the weight. This ultimately leads to a loss of balance in strength and muscle mass. That said, you can avoid that by using dumbbells. If there are any imbalances in your body, the free weights will help you strengthen them.
- Learning curve made easier – if you want to try something new, doing leg exercises with dumbbells will serve as a nice refresh from your usual routine. It is much easier to do them, especially because many are performed in a squat position. You can use them in nearly every exercise, and they will help speed up the process of becoming stronger.
- Easy to use – if not the easiest! Dumbbells are generally easy to use and safe, too. Using them even makes more sense, especially as the end of your workout session is approaching. Do you feel low on energy but still have to focus on your legs? Grab the dumbbells and go!
The bottom line is that the dumbbells are very versatile and a safe choice for anyone who works out. As a beginner, remember that you can build a lot of muscle mass. And make no mistake, for advanced individuals, it can help target muscle groups for growth and volume.
How to hold the dumbbells?
Before we get into the specific workouts, here is what you need to know. There are specific ways to hold these free weights when you work out. As with most exercises, the most important aspect of a leg workout with dumbbells is your form. If it is not correct, then you might do your body more harm than good.
Let’s look at how you can hold and know dumbbells by heart.
1. At your sides – this way, you will get an easier grip. Keep two dumbbells at each side to give your body the proper stance, and use them to your advantage. You can do lunges, deadlifts, and squats this way.
2. In a goblet position – this position means engaging your core. Keep your dumbbells at the center of your chest and give yourself a range of motion, exercise selection, and freedom of movement.
3. Between your legs – for specific leg exercises with dumbbells, keeping free weights between your legs is best. This allows for an easier grip and gives you a heavier single dumbbell leg exercise.
4. Racked – this is one of the hardest positions to keep your dumbbells at. Even though it provides you with the freedom of motion you need, you still exercise your anterior shoulder while keeping your legs active, too.
5. In one hand – add some exercises with a unilateral grip when you work out. Hold one dumbbell at one side and coordinate your legs and your balance. This can help you focus on your balance.
The best leg workout with dumbbells
1. LATERAL LUNGES
This exercise can help you improve your balance and strengthen your thighs. It is specifically designed to help you move your body more efficiently from one side to the other.
Stand straight with a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Step with one foot to the side, bending your knee. Keep your chest up, toes, knees, and hips facing forward. Squeeze your glutes to get yourself back up again. Do a few reps on each side.
2. REVERSE LUNGES
Every fitness fanatic loves the reverse lunges, making them a favorite workout for legs with dumbbells! They target your glutes and legs at the same time, but bear in mind that they add a lot less pressure on your knees (opposite to the front lunges).
Keep your dumbbells to your sides, and stand straight with your feet slightly apart. Bend your knees and step back with one leg. As you do this, your back knee should almost touch the ground, and your front knee should be over your foot. Push back by squeezing your glutes. Repeat on the other side.
This is one of the best beginner-friendly exercises you can come across. Using dumbbells instead of barbells can minimize your risk of an injury.
Keep the weights in front of you so that you almost come to the goblet position when you lift them. Stand straight, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward while you keep your hips back, chest up, and back straight. Lower the dumbbells parallel to your shins as you go down. Keep your back neutral while your shoulder blades are above your weights when you are lowered. Hinge at the hips and bring yourself back up. Repeat.
4. HIP THRUSTS
Another one of those perfect leg workouts with dumbbells that require going into a “strange position”, such as the deadlifts are the hip thrusts. This is a great exercise for any level, be it a beginner or a seasoned gym rat. The movements here are very versatile, and you can adjust them as well as the amount of weight you work with. All you need here is a sturdy bench.
Place your back on a bench with your knees bent and feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Take one dumbbell and place it in your lap. Hold it with both hands. The closer your feet are to your glutes, the more you target them. Place the feet a little further from the glutes when your legs are your target. Lift the hips, push through your heels, keep your back straight, and squeeze your glutes. Pause and squeeze when your body is parallel to the floor. Come back down and repeat.
5. GOBLET SQUATS
This squat variation targets your legs and glutes. Take one dumbbell and hold it in a goblet position. As always, keep your form in mind, but try to go as low as possible. The reason for this is research has shown that doing squats with full depth leads to more developed muscles.
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your dumbbell close to your chest. Lower your body in a squat position. Keep your elbows pointing down. Push yourself back up with your glutes and feet to an upright position. Repeat.
6. CALF RAISE
You can do wonders with exercises where you keep your bells to your sides. This particular dumbbell-only leg workout will increase the stability of your ankles and prevent injuries.
Hold the dumbbells to your sides, keep your knees straight, and stand up straight with the feet shoulder-width apart. Raise yourself on your toes. Slowly lower your feet back on the floor. Repeat.
Time to work!
These are only a handful of the best exercises for those who want to do leg workouts with dumbbells. They are perfect for a beginner and an advanced fitness individual. We will be happy if you try at least one of these exercises and start working on a stronger and healthier you! Also, we will keep delivering useful and educational content such as this one, so keep on reading our blogs!
Read our top-read blogs:
- Cable Lateral Raise: Benefits, Forms & Alternatives
- The Ultimate Guide to Rack Pull Exercises
- Proper Deadlift Form: Body Threatening Mistakes to Avoid
- The Best Full-Body Workout Ever