If you want to strengthen your quads and build sturdy legs without machines and barbells, you can incorporate dumbbell exercises in your home workout routine. The dumbbell exercises will help you specifically target your quad muscles and increase mass.
The quadriceps are one of the largest muscles of the lower body. They are located in front of the thighs and have four different muscles: the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris. 1Anatomy, Bony Pelvis, and Lower Limb, Thigh Quadriceps Muscle – NCBI Journal
They are responsible for flexing and extending knees, walking, jogging, running, sprinting, cycling, squatting, and jumping.
Strengthing quadriceps will enhance overall performance and reduce the risk of knee injuries.
You can do myriad exercises to increase your quad strength with the barbell, machine, dumbbell, and kettlebell.
However, if you’re one of the fitness enthusiasts who don’t have access to fancy gym equipment, all you have are some dumbbells and a workout bench at your home, then this article is especially for you.
Related: The Best Kettlebell Hamstring Exercises
Benefits of Doing Quad Exercises with Dumbbells
Dumbbells allow a complete range of motion so you can effectively target the various muscles of quads.
Moreover, they allow you to work on one leg at a time, so if the right side quad is stronger than the left, you can balance your strength with dumbbell workouts.
Working out with dumbbells doesn’t require much space, and you can do various quad exercises with dumbbells at home in a tiny area.
Best Dumbbell Exercises For Quads
- DB Front Squat
- Dumbbell Leg Extension
- Dumbbell Lunges
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Goblet Squat
- Dumbbell Deadlift
Let’s see how to do the above quad workouts with dumbbells.
1. Dumbbell Front Squat
The dumbbell front squat is a primary workout for the quad muscles. You can do it to increase strength and mass.
It is also helpful for people with knee problems such as meniscus tears2Bhan K. (2020). Meniscal Tears: Current Understanding, Diagnosis, and Management. Cureus, 12(6), e8590 and advantageous for long-term joint health – concluded in a study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 3Gullett JC, Tillman MD, Gutierrez GM, Chow JW. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):284-92
How to do a dumbbell front squat:
- Hold a dumbbell with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your arms bent in front of your chest.
- Keep your core tight, inhale, and slightly push your hips back and bend knees to lower down into squat position (lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor).
- Hold for a second, and then push your feet into the floor to get back to the standing position!
- Do as many reps as possible but aim for a total 30 to 40 repetitions.
You can do various squat exercises to solidify your lower body.
2. Dumbbell leg Extension For Quad
The dumbbell leg extension is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your quad.
It is suitable for all fitness levels. So whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you can do leg extension to develop stronger quads at home.
You can also do it as an alternative to a machine leg extension in the gym.
- Sit on the edge of a bench and clamp a dumbbell between your feet.
- Grip the sides of the bench firmly with your hands for support.
- Slightly lean backward, brace your core and maintain a neutral spine position. That’s the start.
- Lift your feet off the floor and extend your legs until your knees are fully straight so you can feel the contraction in your quads.
- Hold there for a couple of seconds, and then bring the weight to the start.
- Do three to four sets of ten to 12 reps with one-two minute rest between sets.
3. Dumbbell Lunges
The lunges are super-effective lower body workouts. They activate and engage each lower body muscle, such as glutes, hamstrings, calves, and especially the quads.
You can do two types of lunges; forward luges and reverse lunges. Both are important for improving hip mobility and strengthening the overall lower body.
a) Dumbbell Stationary Forward Lunges
- Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. And hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing the body.
- Take one long step forward with your right feet and bend your left knee at 90 degrees, so that your both knees are bent.
- Press into the floor with your leading foot until your knees are straight.
- Shoot for two sets of 10 reps (each side) with 2 minutes rest between sets.
- Make sure you hold the dumbbells at your sides throughout the movement.
b) Dumbbell Reverse Lunges
- Holding one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, stand tall in the hip-width stance.
- Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing in.
- Take one large step backward with your right foot and bend your knees simultaneously until they touch the floor.
- Wait for a couple of seconds in that position, and then slowly return to the standing point.
- Do twenty reps each side in a couple of sets.
4. Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat
The DB Bulgarian squat works on multiple muscles at once and allows you to reinforce your quads at a different angle.
Moreover, it put less stress on the lower back and improves core strength simultaneously.
How to do it:
- Grab one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and stand upright against a bench.
- Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms straight, and mainain nuetral spine position.
- Place your right foot on a bench with your heel facing against you. And make sure your feet are roughly three feet apart. That’s the starting position.
- Lower your hips toward the ground until your right knee is close to the floor.
- Using the strength of your front foot, extend your knees to return to the starting position.
- Aim for two sets of 10 reps (each side) with 2 minutes rest between sets.
5. Dumbbell Goblet Squat
The dumbbell goblet squat is another crucial workout that helps you target your quads differently. It mainly develops the side muscles of the thighs and creates more definition to your leg muscles. 4Collins, Kyle S et al. “Differences in Muscle Activity and Kinetics Between the Goblet Squat and Landmine Squat in Men and Women.” Journal of strength and conditioning research vol. 35,10 (2021): 2661-2668. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000004094
How to perform Dumbbell Goblet Squat
- Hold a dumbbell with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out, and keep your arms bent in front of your chest.
- Keeping your back straight and core tight squat down until your thighs and glutes are parallel to the floor.
- Hold for a second at the bottom, and then drive through your heels to return to the standing position. That’s one rep!
- Do as many reps as possible.
6. Dumbbell Deadlift
The deadlifts are known as the king of workouts because they target various muscles simultaneously, including quads.
They have several benefits. For example, the deadlifts promote muscle growth, burn more calories than traditional weight training, enhance endurance, strength, and power.
How to do dumbbell deadlift
- Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor in front of you and stand straight in the shoulder-width stance.
- Keeping your back straight and core tight, slightly bend your knees and push your hips back to lower down to lift the weights.
- Keeping your back straight, lift the weights off the floor until you return to the standing position.
- To perform the next rep, repeat the same steps without leaving the dumbbells on the ground.
- Do as many repetitions as you like but try to complete a minimum of 20 repetitions in three sets with 2 minutes rest between them.
Maintain your back flat during the movement.
Related: The Six Deadlift Variations
7. Dumbbell Step-up
The dumbbell step-up is one of the crucial exercises that increases quad and glute strength at once without putting stress on your lower back.
Moreover, it improves hip mobility, balance and burns more calories, so you can include it in dumbbell weight loss workouts if you like.
How to perform Dumbbell Step-Up
- Grab one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and stand straight in the hip-width stance in front of the step-up box or something where you can do step-up.
- Hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing your body.
- Now take one step up with your right leg on the box and push through your right foot to raise your body stand straight on the box. Then reverse the movement to complete one rep.
- Do as many repetitions as you like but try to complete a minimum of twenty reps in three sets with 2 minutes rest between them.
The Importance of quad Strengtheing Exercises
- The quad muscles are important for knee and hip flexion-extension that’s why it’s important to strengthen your quad muscles because robust quads prevent knees injuries, strains, and tears.
- Strengthening the quad muscles will help you enhance your jumping, squatting, and deadlifting.
- If you’re an athlete, especially a sprinter, strong quads improve running speed, reduce the risk of injuries and stretching quads keep them loose and flexible for your runs.
Dumbbell Quad Workout Routine
If you work out your quads specifically, you can follow this dumbbell workout routine that will help you forge legs at home.
|Dumbbell Front Squat||15 x 2||1-2 min|
|Dumbbell Leg Extension||10 x 2||1-2 min|
|Dumbell Forward Lunges||10 x 2||1-2 min|
|Goblet Squat||10 x 2||2-3 min|
|Dumbbell Deadlift||6 x 3||2-3 min|
|Step-up||8 x 2||2-3 min|
You can also combine these quad exercises with other dumbbell leg workouts to create a super-effective plan.
Here’s a sample for you. Based on your fitness levels, you can follow the same or make a new routine for yourself.
|Front Squat||15 x 2||Quad||1-2 min|
|Forward Lunges||10 x 2||Quad||1-2 min|
|Step-up||10 x 2||Quad||2-3 min|
|Deadlift||6 x 3||Legs||2-3 min|
|Dumbbell RDL||8 x 2||Hams||2-3 min|
|Leg Curl||10 x 2||Hams||1-2 min|
|DB Glute Bridge||10 x 2||Glute||1-2 min|
|DB Calf Raises||10 x 2||Calves||1-2 min|
You can check out a guide to the dumbbell leg exercises that will help you design a routine for yourself.
Machine and barbell workouts are essential for quads. However, the dumbbells work best for you without that equipment.
The dumbbell exercises you’ve seen in this article are different from each other and help you target the muscles of the quad from every angle so that you can develop muscular legs.
Moreover, you can incorporate these quad exercises into your overall dumbbell workout regime.
- 2Bhan K. (2020). Meniscal Tears: Current Understanding, Diagnosis, and Management. Cureus, 12(6), e8590
- 3Gullett JC, Tillman MD, Gutierrez GM, Chow JW. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):284-92
- 4Collins, Kyle S et al. “Differences in Muscle Activity and Kinetics Between the Goblet Squat and Landmine Squat in Men and Women.” Journal of strength and conditioning research vol. 35,10 (2021): 2661-2668. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000004094