10 Best Dumbbell Leg Exercises For Lower Body and Full Body Workouts

Dumbbell leg work should be a large part of most lower body strength and conditioning programme. With this list of exercises you’ll be able to create a diverse lower body workout routine that used all the key movement patterns available to the lower body within strength training.

4 min read
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Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
07/07/22
Last updated
15/07/22
In This Resource
  • Benefits Of Leg Training With Dumbbells
  • Unilateral Training
  • Easy Skill Acquisition
  • Less Overall Fatigue, More Local Muscle Fatigue
  • Huge Variety of Exercises
  • Movement Patterns For Training Legs
  • Hinge Exercises
  • Squat Exercises
  • Hip Dominant Exercises
  • Training Consideration
  • Sets and Reps
  • Handling Positions
  • Side or Suitcase
  • Goblet

No they are not used as the primary lifts most of the time as they cannot overload a movement pattern as effectively as the barbell or landmine can. That being said they are on of the most effective tools for building muscle and strength in the lower body due to the volume that can be created.

Benefits Of Leg Training With Dumbbells

Unilateral Training

Dumbbells are an excellent way to add unilateral training into your workouts. Unilateral training is great for both leg strength and stability, with exercises like Bulgarian split squats and dumbbell walking lunges being some of the most effective lower body unilateral variations.

Easy Skill Acquisition

Dumbbell reverse lunges, walking lunges and goblet squats all require low skill sets and can be done by the vast majority of individuals. This should make them a go to variation for beginners who want to overload the leg muscles without having to worry about too much technical development.

Less Overall Fatigue, More Local Muscle Fatigue

As dumbbells don’t load the spine like some of the barbell exercises that have very similar movement paths, dumbbell variations create a lot less central nervous fatigue. However they are very effective at generating high levels of local muscle fatigue, making them excellent at creating adaptations in the leg muscles.

Huge Variety of Exercises

Consistent training often comes from enjoying the training experience. A lot of people enjoy varied workouts and dumbbells offer a large amount of movement variety. This makes them a very valuable tool in your tool kit when designing your training plans.

Movement Patterns For Training Legs

Let’s break down the different types of movements that can be used when using dumbbells to grow the glutes.

Hinge Exercises

These will be used to build and strengthen the hamstring muscles in the legs.

Squat Exercises

Squats are probably the most well rounded lower body exercises in the sense that adaptation occurs in all muscle groups.

Hip Dominant Exercises

These exercises work predominantly the glute muscles and do not have that many variations that can be done with them. That being said the exercises that are available are very beneficial within an all dumbbell training regime.

Training Consideration

Sets and Reps

The process of building strong and muscular legs is all about getting a large amount of volume through the movement patterns above. If you can consistently train each movement pattern for between 6-12 sets per week, you will build strong and muscular legs.

Handling Positions

Two different handling positions are predominately used for dumbbell strength exercises.

Side or Suitcase

Goblet

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