Below are the 10 best dumbbell leg exercises compiled according to science.
They’re considered to not only help you build three-dimensional muscle but also hone grip strength, improve balance, and work your core. In the long run, it pays dividends!
Attention: These dumbbell leg exercises expect to make you feel sore tomorrow.
Let’s dive right in!
Dumbbell Hip Thrust
Keep both feet flat on the floor, bend your knees then place your shoulder blades and upper back against a bench.
Hold a dumbbell (the weight choice depending on your strength and goal) on your hips.
Push through your heels and lift hips up to form your body a straight line from knees to shoulders. Pause for 2 seconds, then lower.
That’s one rep. Depending on your goal, practice low reps (5 or less), moderate reps (8-12), or high reps (15+).
This is considered as the most effective method to strengthen the backside.
Start with standing firmly with feet shoulder-width apart. To keep balance better, try slightly turning toes out. Hold a dumbbell at shoulder level.
Bend knees slowly as if you intend to sit in a chair, focusing all the weight on heels, not your lower back. Don’t let the knees roll-in/out and remember to let them firm, not move beyond the toes.
Squat down as low as possible, keeping shoulders relaxed, spine long, and head and chest lifted without losing the arch in your lower back.
While keeping the spin neutral without round your back, push through the heels and straighten slowly your legs to stand up.
That’s one rep. Repeat it in three sets of 10 reps.
Hold a dumbbell by both hands. Stand straight with feet hip-width apart and toes slightly pointed out.
Slightly bend knees, lower your body between legs with shoulder blades sliding down your back, chest kept opening, and forearms pressing against the inner thighs. Remember to push your hips back and keep the spine long.
Straighten the legs, thrust the dumbbell forward by driving your heels down and squeeze forcefully the glutes.
Your arms will naturally swing forward to above the head or around chest height.
When the dumbbell falls down. Let it fall between your legs while bending your knees. That’s one rep. Do 10.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Stand with knees bent slightly and feet shoulder-width apart. Brace your core. Hold a dumbbell at the hips.
Now, lower your torso, push your butt back and hinge at the hips. Lower until your hamstrings are a bit stretched then pause for 2 seconds.
Squeeze your glutes and stand back up.
That’s one rep. Do 10.
Lift your right foot a bit off the ground. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. This is the starting position.
Lean the whole torso, keep your back neutral while lifting the right leg as long as it stays in line with your body and your right shoulder blade is kept pulling down your back. The dumbbell will lower toward the floor.
Focus all the weight to your feet, raise the body up to the starting position (remember to keep your back straight).
That’s one set.
Bodyweight Calf Raise
This exercise helps to strengthen your calves and make them bigger. Ideal for men!
Start with standing with tows on a block. You should hold onto something solid to keep balance (like a chair, pole, or wall) while the other hand holds a dumbbell.
Raise heels to come up on your feet’ balls, pause for a second, then lower them until your calves are slightly stretched.
Seated One Legged Toe Raise
Sit on a chair. Hold a dumbbell with both hands on top of the thighs of your right foot and put the front foot on top of the step.
Stand on your right toes and raise the weight, pause for a second, then lower them back down slowly. Repeat on the other foot.
That’s one set. Do 15.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This exercise is not only strength but also gives your back leg a good stretch to be stronger.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand lunge-length in front of a box/bench with your right foot on placed on the bench, behind you while the left one should be straight. This is the starting position.
Bend the left knee and lower your body to let this knee almost touch the ground. The right knee is bent, too but keep it parallel to the ground.
Stand up to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 10 on each leg.
Dumbbell Depth Sumo Squat
Hold a dumbbell with both hands, arms hanging naturally.
Stand on two high boxes that are placed wider than hip-width. This is the starting position.
Now, keep your abs and glutes tight, bend at the hips and knees and lower your body slowly until the thighs are parallel to the ground.
Put all the weight to your feet, raise up the body and stand back to the starting position.
That’s one rep. Do three sets of 10, resting 60 seconds between each.
Hold one dumbbell on each hand against your body sides with palms faced together.
Stand straight. This is the starting position.
Step your right foot sideways (take a wide step), lower your body while keeping the spine long until the right knee forms a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Pause for a second, then bring yourself back up slowly.
That’s one rep. Do 10 on each side.
Above are 10 best dumbbell leg exercises advised by many fitness trainers. Choose a handful of moves to make your own routine to strengthen the lower body parts.
Notice that the number of reps for each move can be changed to fit your goal and current physical health. Start from low reps and then level up once you feel ready.