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Best Leg Exercises at Home using Dumbbells

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02nd Jul 2022
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Table of Content



Introduction

An individual cannot be described as physically fit if they just have low body fat and visible abs. When it comes to fitness, it is a whole-body thing, from nutrition to muscle. And when we say muscle, we mean upper-body, middle, and importantly the lower-body.

There is a famous saying in the Gym lingo: “Never skip leg day”. This saying has been famous for a reason. Most people, especially men primarily and excessively focus on their upper body region. They desire to have huge shoulders and traps and work out to have stronger and bigger arms as they believe it makes them look more masculine. During this course, they fail to take care of the lower body and later have bad knees and weak legs. 

Why is training your legs more important than you realize?

The excuse many people give while skipping leg days is that their fitness goal is either to lose belly fat or to beef up and they would rather lift heavy weights than do more flexible exercises. But this is dangerously wrong. Training your legs can increase your chance of building muscles and losing fat.

You can’t be fit if you completely neglect your lower body. If you don’t train your legs, they get weaker and it affects your balance.

Along with muscle mass, it is necessary to have good bone strength to stay stronger. Resistance training overall increases your bone strength and if you train your legs with some extra weights, you are doing your bones a great favor.

Training your legs can burn more calories than actually performing bicep curls till your arms get sore. The lower region of your body includes some of the heavy muscle groups and training them requires extra energy, thus burning more fat.

Now if you have your home gym, you might not have machines like the leg press. So you might not now feel fun just training your leg muscles without any resistance. But any form of weight can be considered as resistance. You can even use your dumbbells to train your legs efficiently.

Whether you are one of those people who skip leg day, we will show you some great leg exercises that you can use just using dumbbells that give you stronger and more muscular legs.

Strong and flexible legs also improve your overall athleticism. You get faster and your endurance gets higher.

If you include some great leg exercises in your workout every day, it increases your metabolism and the muscle built has chances of boosting testosterone in the body.

Prerequisites

For leg exercises using dumbbells at your home, the prerequisites are minimum. It saves you space and budget. You don’t necessarily need to have dumbbells. All you need is some resistance and weight. You can also use kettlebells or barbells or anything other weight equipment you have access to.

Along with weights, it would be great if you have some sort of elevated platform. Some exercises would require you to step up and stretch your leg muscles more. So it is recommended to find some platform you can step up to like a chair or a bench

Top-10 Leg Exercises at Home using Dumbbells

 

1. Weighted Squats

Perhaps the most popular leg exercise of all time, Weighted Squats help you make your lower body stronger very quickly. Squats are THE overall lower body exercise, i.e, a proper squat performed properly benefits almost all the muscles in the lower body.

Squats benefit the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductor, hip flexors, and finally calves. They also increase your cardiovascular activity.

Weighted-Squats using dumbbells:

Steps to perform Weighted-Squats using dumbbells:

Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart

Hold the dumbbells in your hands. In case you have or choose to use a single dumbbell, cup the dumbbells in your palms and bring your wrist closer to your chest

Keep your lower back straight throughout and slowly bend your knees. You should feel the force while going down. Remember to exhale as you go down

Exert pressure on your lower body and rise to the starting position as you inhale

 

2. Side Lunge

Side Lunges with Dumbbells are another great exercise for your legs that improve your flexibility.  This exercise mainly targets your outer and inner thighs, which are great for athletic performances as it contributes to the functional strength of your legs.

Side Lunge

Steps to perform Side Lunges using a pair of dumbbells:

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart

Properly hold the dumbbells in your arm. The recommended position is to hold them firmly and bring your wrists closer to your chest as it helps to bend easily

Keep one leg firmly on the ground and raise the other leg a few inches and stretch towards the raised leg after placing it on the ground with your knees bent,  and keep the other leg straight

Balance yourself properly and get back to the starting position. Continue the same routine with the other leg

 

3. Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian Split Squats are the preferred alternative to weighted squats. They are improved versions of the traditional weighted squats. They engage more selective muscles one at a time and help you build a strong lower body.

Just like the squats, Bulgarian split squats primarily target the quads, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and calves.

Bulgarian Split Squats

Steps to perform Bulgarian Split Squats:

Find an elevated area like a bench or chair

Stand still and hold the dumbbell(s) in your hands

Lift one left such that your ankle is closer to your buttocks

Now place your raised feet on the elevated area and make sure the distance between your other leg is enough

Carefully bend the front leg. You should feel your glutes engaged

Rise and do the same with the other leg

 

4. Sumo Squats

Sumo Squats is another derivative of traditional squats. Unlike normal squats, Sumo Squats focus mainly on the inner thighs. But it also benefits the glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

When performed using dumbbells, it adds more resistance and gives quicker results.

Steps to perform the Sumo Squats using dumbbells

Steps to perform the Sumo Squats using dumbbells.

Hold the dumbbell(s) in your hands and keep your feet apart a little more than your shoulder width.

Make sure you point your toes to either side.

Now bend your knees while keeping your back straight as if you are performing a normal squat. Make sure your knees are extended in the same direction as your toes.

Use your strength, and come back to the starting position.

 

5. Dumbbell Swings

Dumbbell Swings are another exercise that collectively benefits your legs and increases your cardiovascular activity. Another great thing about this exercise is that it is a total body workout, i.e, along with your leg muscles, multiple muscles throughout your body are benefitted and it helps to burn fat.

In the lower body, your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings are mainly developed. But it also engages your core and with variations, also builds your shoulders and lats.

performing Dumbbells Swings

Steps to perform Dumbbells Swings:

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart

Hold the dumbbell in your hands firmly

Push your glutes outwards as you bend your knees. Remember to keep your back straight and open up your chest

Once the dumbbell passes your calves, try to lift the dumbbell back

Use the momentum to rise and keep the dumbbell straight in front of you by extending your arms

Continue to do this and increase your speed once you are comfortable with the weight

 

6. Dumbbell Step-up

Another great leg exercise that is popular is the Dumbbell Step-up. This is also a total leg exercise and deals with a lot of lower body muscles. This exercise increases your lower body strength and also builds endurance.

The quads are the muscles that are primarily targeted. During exercises like running or jumping, the quads are minimally used so it is good to perform an exercise that specifically targets the front thigh.

Steps to perform Dumbbell Step-ups

Steps to perform Dumbbell Step-ups:

Have an elevated platform like a bench, chair, or bed in front of you

Stand straight and hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands

Lift one leg and place it on the elevated platform. Once firmly placed, step up and stand on the platform for a few seconds.

Come down and repeat the exercise with the other leg

 

7. Dumbbell Jumping Squats

Dumbbell Jumping Squats are one of the toughest lower body exercises and are not recommended for beginners. Even though it seems hard to perform this exercise, it has great benefits and helps burn your calories faster.

Steps to perform Dumbbell Jumping Squats

Steps to perform Dumbbell Jumping Squats:

Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart

Hold the dumbbells in your hands. In case you have or choose to use a single dumbbell, cup the dumbbells in your palms and bring your wrist closer to your chest

Keep your lower back straight throughout and slowly bend your knees. You should feel the force while going down

Now while returning to the starting position, use your explosive strength to first jump and then land on your feet

 

8. Dumbbell Backward Lunges

Dumbbell Backward Lunges are another variation of traditional lunges that primarily targets your core, glutes, and hamstring. This exercise also improves your posture and increases flexibility.

perform Dumbbell Backward Lunges

Steps to perform Dumbbell Backward Lunges:

Stand straight with dumbbell(s) in your arms

Place one leg behind the other and bend the front knee. Take the leg as much back as you can

Straighten your knee and bring the leg to the starting position

Repeat the exercise with the other leg

 

9. Flutter Kicks

Flutter Kicks are a great intermediate-level exercise that not only targets your legs but also your abdominal muscles. Performing flutter kicks for a certain duration helps you burn fat also. You can make it more challenging by holding a dumbbell in your arms as you alternatively raise your legs.

performing Flutter Kicks using Dumbbells

Steps to perform Flutter Kicks using Dumbbells:

Lie back on your back. We recommend you do this on a mat

Hold dumbbells in your hands and raise them as if you are performing Shoulder Raises

Relax your neck and engage your abdominal muscles as you raise both your legs a few inches above the ground

Tighten your glutes and raise one leg over the other continually. You should feel your legs and stomach burning

Breathe normally

 

10. Calf Raises

Calf Raises are a perfect way to end your intense leg workout. They specifically target your calves and strengthen them. Especially if you increase the weight to add resistance, it becomes more challenging.

Calf Raises using Dumbbells

Steps to perform Calf Raises using Dumbbells:

If possible, try to find an elevated object. (Even a weight disc will do.)

Hold the dumbbells in each arm and standstill. If you have an elevated object, stand still in such a way that the front half of your feet are placed over the object.

Now, raise your ankles and stay in the position for a few seconds. Try to balance yourself as you place your ankles back on the ground.

Continue doing this and make sure you feel your calves are engaged