If you want to build an awesome pair of legs, this dumbbell leg workout will put you well in the right direction!Legs are often neglected in the gym because of the effort you’ve got to put into training them.
But it’s so important that you do train legs – no matter whether your goals are to build muscle, lose fat and tone up or strengthen your muscles!
Exercise #1: Goblet Squat
The goblet squat can be a great alternative to squatting with a bar on your back, especially for beginners to learn squat technique properly.
Having the weight distributed in front of you causes a different challenge, and will also give your abs a blasting.
a) Hold the dumbbell with your palms facing up (hence the ‘goblet’ part of the name), with your feet around shoulder-width apart and your chest forwards, shoulders back.
b) Keeping a straight back, bend your knees and move your butt back and down, so your weight is through your heels. Aim to get your butt as close to the ground as possible.
Keep your chest facing forward.
c) Tense your abs and push back up through your heels to your starting position.
Sets: 3 – Reps: 8
Exercise #2: Dumbbell Deadlift
There are so many different variations of the deadlift, but they all have one thing in common – they’re all more than just a leg exercise.
They’ll fry your hamstrings and glutes, as well as your core and upper back. Talk about effective!
a) Place a dumbbell on its’ end and stand with your feet either side of it, about shoulder-width apart.
b) Bend your knees and this time push your butt back to the wall behind you, instead of down (as in the squat). You should feel a slight pull in your hamstrings (on the back of your leg).
c) Keeping a straight back, with your chest forwards, and shoulders back, reach for the dumbbell with straight arms.
d) With the dumbbell in your hands, tense your abs and stand up straight, by driving your hips forwards and squeeze your glutes.
e) Bend your knees and move your butt backwards again, and lower the dumbbell back to the floor, still keeping your back straight.
Sets: 3 – Reps: 8
Exercise #3: Bulgarian Split Squat
Don’t worry too much about what this exercise has got to do with Bulgaria – believe me, you’ll be too focused on the burn in your quads and glutes to do that!
Single-leg exercises can arguably be tougher than two-legged exercises if you do them right. Balance can be an issue initially, but you’ll perfect it with practice.
a) Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your back to a bench. Place your back foot on the bench. Depending on your ankle mobility, you might prefer to have your toe in contact with the bench, instead of your ankle – find what works best for you.
Alternatively, you can hold one heavier dumbbell in the opposite hand to your front leg (i.e. if your left foot is forward, hold the dumbbell in your right hand, and vice versa).
b) Lean forward at a 45 degree angle (this forward lean increases how hard your glutes work, in comparison to standing upright), and put all of your weight on the heel of your front foot.
c) Bend your front knee and lower yourself down to the ground – under control – using the front leg as a brake against gravity.
d) Push back up through your heel to the starting position.
Make sure all of the work is being done by your front leg, and that you’re not using your back leg to help.
Sets: 3 – Reps: 10-12 per leg