When you think about dumbbell leg workouts, chances are you think of exercises to develop leg strength, like squats or bicep curls. For other leg workouts, however, the muscles you use to develop your legs may be overlooked. The muscles in your thighs and calves provide support for your lower back, so they should be included in your leg workouts. You might also think of your quadriceps, which are important for running and jumping. But if your goal is to develop your core muscles to ward off injury, focus on your hamstrings instead.
For a quality dumbbell leg workout, you want to use fewer reps than you do for your biceps and triceps. For this reason, deadlifts and squats will be less effective than leg extensions or hip flexes. You may also focus less on single-leg exercises since those are typically used for back pain. Instead, focus on compound exercises that work multiple joints at once, like deadlifts and bench presses. If possible, do single-leg exercises with a higher weight than what you usually use for back pain. Doing more reps with a heavier weight may help you overcome back pain.
Dumbbell Leg Workout
There are two different styles of dumbbell leg workouts: compound and single-leg. A compound exercise is one where you use more weight than you normally do for your reps. Compound exercises build muscle mass. This is what makes them “superior” over just working out just one muscle group. To get the most out of a compound leg workout, you’ll generally want to do between eight to twelve reps per exercise, depending on your goals.
A single-leg dumbbell leg workout focuses on isolating muscles by minimizing the number of reps you do and working the muscles one at a time. For example, instead of doing sets of twelve reps, you would do six to eight reps. However, you can only do these exercises for three to four minutes at a time, so be sure to keep that in mind when planning your workouts.
Another way to make a single-leg dumbbell leg workout is to add weight to each of your dumbbells. A heavy cable fly is a great way to add extra weight. Also, consider using stability balls or stability bars to increase the weight. These exercises will be easier on your joints. You should never ignore your knees, though.
Other exercises for your lower body that you can include in a dumbbell leg workout are gluteus pinch exercises. You can do this by kneeling into a lunge, then resting on a stability ball. Bring your knees up to your chest, then curl your pelvis up and outwards, lifting your butt off the floor. This will tighten your quadriceps. Squeezing these muscles will help you feel the tension in your legs and lower body, as well as tighten those calf muscles.
Other exercises you can use for your lower body include squat thrusts. With the dumbbells at your sides, squat down into a lunge. Squat straight up until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then lift your butt off the ground. Make the same squat motions with each leg.
With the dumbbells at your sides, simply move your right leg out in front while bringing your left knee up towards your left hand. Slowly raise your hips until your left knee is already touching the far left hip. Then lower your hips back down to the starting position. Toe raises are similar to leg curls. Just lift your toes up a bit so that your heels are almost touching the top of your shoes.