Dumbbell Leg Exercises (An Ultimate Guide)

Building stronger and sturdy legs isn’t a piece of cake for anyone. It takes great effort, persistence, and dedication. Other than the machine and barbell, the dumbbell is also a great piece of equipment for leg exercises. You can do a plethora of dumbbell leg workouts at home as well as in the gym.

In this article, I’m going to share a list of the best dumbbell leg exercises that you can do at home. I’ve designed this list based on some research and studies. So, this will surely help you increase leg mass and build powerful legs.

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate, male or female, you can incorporate these dumbbell leg workouts in your overall dumbbell home workout routine.

The list includes dumbbell exercises for each leg muscle group such as; quad, hamstring, calves, and gluteus.

Related: Dumbell Exercises (A complete Tour)

Dumbbells are great for leg workouts because they stabilize the muscles that allow you to perform different movements and may be more efficient for overall power gains and muscle strength.

So, Whether you want to train your leg at home or the gym, you should work out with the dumbbells along with other exercises.


First of all, you need to have a basic understanding of the anatomy of leg muscles. Because hitting the right muscles with the right exercises in the right way will help you to achieve your desire result faster.

Also Read: 12 Week Dumbbell Workout Plan (With Free PDF)

Anatomy of Leg Muscles for bodybuilding

There are four major muscles where you need to work on quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Within these larger muscle groups, there are several smaller muscles and their functions are different from one another such as flexion, extension, adduction, rotation.

For example, the vast lateral, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris are all parts of the quadriceps.

DUMBBELL LEG WORKOUT: ANATOMY OF LEG MUSCLES FOR BODYBUILDING.
Leg Muscles Anatomy

Here we take a look at the functions of major muscles of the lower body so that you can better understand and train your leg muscles.

Hamstrings

The hamstring is the largest muscle of the lower body which includes three large muscles named semimembranosus, femoris, and semitendinosus, that formed the back of the thigh.

It is very important to target and work on the hamstring because it plays a major role in walking, jumping, and running.

You may have seen that sometimes athletes got out of the tournament or series because of a hamstring injury.

Quadriceps

This muscle includes vastus-lateralis, vastus-medialis, vastus-intermedius, and the rectus femoris.

It’s of utmost importance to target and build stronger quads because they help in walking, jumping, squatting, and running.

Glutes

The glutes include three parts namely gluteus maximus, gluteus maximus, and gluteus minimus.

The functions of these muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

The gluteus maximus also supports the extended knee through the iliotibial stretch.

Calves

The calf muscles are located on the back of the lower leg. It included the gastrocnemius (larger) and the soleus (smaller) muscles.

Its function is as a flexor of the foot at the ankle joint and the knee joint. The calf muscle stretches the heel up to allow forward movement during walking, running, or jumping.


Best dumbbell Leg Exercises For Home Workout

Okay, So here is the complete list of leg workouts that you can do at home using the dumbbells.

Forward Dumbbell Walking Lunges

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quadriceps

Dumbbell Walking Lunge

How to do a Dumbbell Walking Lunge

  1. Stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with arms fully extended.
  2. Take a big step forward with one of your legs and bend at 90 degrees while your opposite leg thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Step forward with your other leg to bring your both feet together. Hold the dumbbells close to your body.
  4. Repeat the movement with your opposite leg by moving forward.
  5. Keep your chest up, back straight and your core and glutes engaged during the movement.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Dumbbell Reverse Lunges

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hips, and Quadriceps

How to do a Dumbbell Walking Reverse Lunge

  1. Stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells in your hand at your sides with arms fully extended.
  2. Take a big step backward with your one leg by bending both knees at 90 degrees and your back thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Then push back through your heels and knees and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the movement with your opposite leg by moving forward.
  5. Keep your chest up, back straight and your core and glutes engaged during the movement.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of walking lunges

The walking lunges activate all muscles group of the lower body. It improves balance, functionality, hip flexibility, Core Stability, and tone of the gluteal muscles.

Both lunges have different functions and target different muscles. you must include walking lunges in your leg workout plan. It is one of the best dumbbell leg workouts you can do at home.


The Dumbbell Front Squat

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Quadriceps and Core

How to do a Dumbbell Front Squat

  1. Stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells on your shoulder with elbows high.
  2. Tighten your core, keep your back straight and chest up.
  3. Start lowering your body by pushing your hips back and knees while bending at the knees.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds at the bottom and then push back to the starting position.
  5. Do a total of 30 reps in three sets while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of Dumbbell Front Squat

The dumbbell squat targets the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thighs and the gluteus maximus in the buttocks.

This is a very effective exercise for overall leg muscle and it also improves body posture and enhances endurance level.


Dumbbell Stationary Lunges

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Quadriceps, and Hamstrings

Dumbbell Stationary Lunge

How to do a Stationary Lunge

  • First, stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with arms fully extended.
  • Take a big step backwards with one foot by bending both knees at 90 degrees and your front back is parallel to the floor.
  • Then push back your body to the starting position.
  • Your back knee should not touch the floor.
  • Keep your chest up, back straight and your core and glutes engaged during the movement.
  • Do the total of 30 reps in three sets while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of stationary lunge

The stationary lunges target the quadriceps, hamstring, and glutes. They enhance your balance and stability and tone your muscles.

This variation mainly works on those muscles which are skipped in other exercises. So, doing the stationary lunges along with the other exercises will help you build a strong lower body and improve performance.


Dumbbell Leg Extension

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Worked: Quadriceps

Best Dumbbell Leg Workouts
dumbbell leg exercises for mass

How to do Leg extension with a dumbbell

  1. Sit on a flat bench so your thighs are on the edge of it, clamp a dumbbell between your feet. And, hold the sides of the bench with your hands for support.
  2. Your knees should be bend so they can move up and down. That’s your starting position.
  3. Contracting your quads, extend your knees until your legs are straight. Pause for a moment and then return to the start. That’s your one rep.
  4. You can do three sets of 12 reps each.

Dumbbell Leg Curl

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Worked: Hamstrings

How to do leg curl with a dumbbell

  1. Lie on your stomach on a flat bench, knees are at the end of it, and grip the sides of the bench with your hands for support.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and keep your legs straight behind you. That’s your starting position.
  3. Engaging your hamstring muscles, curl your legs so the weight comes toward your buttock. Hold for a couple of seconds and then return to the start. That’s one repetition.
  4. Suggested sets: three and reps 12 each set.

Dumbbell Side Lunges

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Quads and Glutes

Dumbbell Side Lunge
Via: Giphy

How to do a Side Lunge

  1. First, stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with arms fully extended.
  2. Take a big step out to the side with one foot until it makes around 90-degree angle with your other leg.
  3. Hold for a second then return to starting position. That’s one rep.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each for both legs while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of Side lunges

The side lunges are a great way to activate side glutes and side hamstring which are important stabilizer muscles for the hip joint.

They provide strength to the lower body, enhance stability and improve body balance.


Stiff-Legged Dead Lift

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Worked: Hamstrings, Back, Shoulders and Core

dumbbell leg exercises for mass
Stiff-Legged Dead Lift
Pic Credit: Self / CC BY-SA

How to perform a Stiff-Legged Deadlift with a dumbbell

  1. Stand straight with your feet about hip-width apart; Holding your arms extended in front of your thighs. palms facing the body.
  2. Start lowering your body by pushing your hips back to lift the dumbbells with your hands and keep your back straight.
  3. Slowly lift the dumbbells as you stand straight up. Hold for a couple of seconds, then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. That’s one rep!
  4. Complete 10 reps of 3 sets with 2 minutes gap between every set.
  5. Thrust through the glutes and hamstrings until you’re standing straight.
  6. Try to keep the dumbbells close to the body during the movement.

Benefits of Stiff-Legged Dead lift

The Stiff-Legged Deadlift is a highly effective exercise that works on various muscle groups at one time.

It strengthens the upper and the lower back, deltoids, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also improves bad postures and enhances endurability.


Bulgarian Split Squat

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core, and Calves

How to perform Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and keep your arms straight at your sides. Palms are facing your body.
  2. Place the top of your rear foot on a bench behind you. That’s the start.
  3. Lower yourself toward the ground so your rear foot comes close to the ground, and your front thigh becomes parallel to the floor.
  4. Now, pushing through your front heel, return to the starting position. That’s one repetition.
  5. Do as many reps as possible.


Dumbbell Step-up

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hips, and Core

How to do Dumbbell Stepup

  1. Stand in front of a higher, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your arms are straight at your sides and palms facing each other.
  2. Place your right foot on the higher object and pressing downward, bring your left foot in the same position, so both feet are together on the object.
  3. Now reverse the movement and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell two-legged Calf raise/ Dumbbell toe raises

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Calves

Dumbbell two-legged Calf raise
Source: Vimeo

How to do a Dumbbell Toe Raise/Dumbbell Calf raise

  1. Stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides with arms fully extended.
  2. contract your calf muscles, hamstrings and glutes so that you raise on to your toes by lifting your heels as high as you can
  3. Keep your chest up, back straight and your core and glutes engaged during the movement.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of Calf raise

The Calf raise is a great way to target and build bigger calves and strong lower legs. It enhances ankle strength and stability and this movement also improves your muscle’s flexibility.


Dumbbell Goblet Squat

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quadriceps

dumbbell leg exercises for mass
Source: Vimeo

How to do a Dumbbell Goblet Squat

  1. Stand straight shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell with both hands close at your chest level so that your both palms facing up against the bottom of the upper end of the dumbbell.
  2. Brace your core and start lowering your body as low you can without shifting your weight forward onto the balls of your feet.
  3. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position by pushing through your heels.
  4. keep your chest up at all times to keep your centre of gravity over your feet.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of Goblet Squats

The Goblet squats work on different muscles at once such as quads, calves, glutes, and entire core.

Goblet squats deeply target leg muscles, improve your grip and strengthen your arms because you’re holding onto the weight.


Dumbbell Sumo Squat

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quadriceps

Most effective dumbbell leg workout
Dumbbell Sumo Squats
Dumbbell Sumo Squats
Pic Credit: Everkinetic / CC BY-SA (Edited)

How to do a Dumbbell Sumo Squat

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and turn your feet slightly out to sides.
  2. Externally rotating your hips and grab only one dumbbell with both hands.
  3. Push your butt back and squat down, keeping your back straight and tight core.
  4. Hold for a second or two and then return to the starting position by pushing yourself through your heels and engaging your inner thighs.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each while keeping 2 minutes gap between each set.

Benefits of Dumbbell sumo squats

The dumbbell squats strengthen and tone your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. They improve muscles and grip strength as well as best for overall lower body performances.


Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Hamstrings, Gluteus, ankles, and the Core

How to do a single-leg dumbbell deadlift

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your arms straight in front of your thighs with your palms are facing inward. That’s the start.
  2. Maintaining a slight bend in your right knee, hinge forward at your hips, and extend your left leg behind you until your torso became parallel to the floor. Lower the dumbbells toward the ground as you lower your upper body.
  3. Pause for a second and pushing through your right heel, return to the start and repeat for the desired number of times.

Dumbbell Glute Bridges

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscle Worked: Glutes, Hips, and Lower Back

How to do a dumbbell glute bridge

  1. Lie on your back on the mat with your knees are bent and feet flat on the ground. And hold the dumbbell on your lower abs. That’s the setup.
  2. Now, engaging your glutes, lift your hips off the floor as high as you can. Pause for a second or two and then lower to the start and repeat for the required number of repetitions.  

An Overview of Dumbbell Leg Exercises & Primary Muscles Worked

  1. Quadriceps: Dumbbell Leg Extension, Dumbbell Front Squat
  2. Hamstrings: Dumbbell Leg Curl, Dumbbell Reverse Lunge, Stiff-Legged Dead Lift
  3. Calves: Dumbbell Calf raises
  4. Gluteus: Dumbbell Glutes Bridges
  5. Multiple Leg Muscles Involved: Dumbbell Step-up, DB Walking Lunge, DB Side Lunges, DB Goblet Squat, Dumbbell Sumo Squat, Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Can you build leg mass with dumbbell Workouts?

Yes, dumbbell exercises strengthen legs and increase muscle mass. Stay consistent and do the best dumbbell leg exercises mentioned in this article as well as follow the below workout routine. And you’ll surely start noticing muscle improvement after a couple of months.

30-Days Dumbbell Leg Workout Home Routine


Day 1: 
Dumbbell Walking Lunges 10×3

Dumbbell Front Squat 10×3

Day 2:
Dumbbell Stationary Lunges 10×3

Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 10×3
Day 3: No Leg WorkoutDay 4: 
Dumbbell Sumo Squat 10×3

Dumbbell Calf Raise 10×3
Day 5:
Dumbbell Goblet Squats 10×3

Dumbbell Side Lunge 10×3
Day 6: NLWDay 7: NLWDay 8: 
Dumbbell Walking Lunges 10×3

Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 10×3
Day 9: 
Dumbbell Front Squat 10×3

Dumbbell Sumo Squat 10×3
Day 10: No Leg Workout
Day 11:

Dumbbell Goblet Squats 10×3

Dumbbell Side Lunge 10×3
Day 12: 

Dumbbell Calf Raise 10×3

Dumbbell Stationary Lunges 10×3
Day 13: No LegDay 14: 
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 10×3

Dumbbell Front Squat 10×3
Day 15: Repeat these for the next 15 days
Dumbbell Leg Exercises Routine

Final Words

Most people concentrate more on the upper body for a muscular figure. However, the lower body is as important as the upper body, your body posture won’t look good if your lower body structure is indisposed. So, you must equally work on both parts of the body.

Try to perform some part of these exercises every alternate day because as I’ve said earlier it is one of the most difficult workouts that will make you exhausted if you complete it in one day.

Dumbbell workouts are a great way to target and strengthen your specific muscles because the dumbbells allow a full range of motions.

You can include these dumbbell leg workouts along with barbells and machine exercises in your workout program.

The dumbbell leg exercises help you develop strength in your lower body and enhance endurance, build muscles, tone your leg muscles and strengthen the joints.

You can also perform these dumbbell leg exercises on your chest, leg, abs, or on your back day. A solid body with a chicken leg won’t suit anyone and I’m sure nobody wanted this ever. Best of Luck and never miss Leg Workout.

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