Workout Routines

The Ultimate Dumbbell-only Lower-body Workout for Massive Legs

Grab some DBs and size up your stems with this legs-thrashing routine.

Bodybuilder performing dumbbell lunge
MRBIG_PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty
MRBIG_PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty
Duration 30 min
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

There is little doubt that legs day is the toughest and most grueling workout session of the week. That is if you're bold enough to treat the muscles of your lower body as seriously as those above the waist. If you do your training at a commercial gym it's likely that you hit quads with such movements as leg extensions, barbell squats, Smith or Hack squats, and some form of the leg press, while the hamstrings are most often treated to lying leg curls, seated leg curls, and perhaps stiff-legged deadlifts.

When it comes to smashing calves you will probably visit the seated and standing calf machine, and maybe even throw in some calf presses. That definitely sounds like a solid plan, and if each exercise is performed with focus and intensity, you should leave the gym feeling satisfied that you put in a good workout.

That said, for your next legs-training day I am going to challenge you to leave the barbells alone and shy away from all of those fancy machines. So how will you go about destroying your lower body without those “essential” pieces of equipment? How about an all-dumbbell session for the quads, hams, and calves. Might sound a little crazy, and maybe even a little bit limiting, but I assure you that once you're done, you'll no longer doubt the power of the dumbbell.

Dumbbell-Only Lower Body Workout Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves

Exercise 1.

Walking Dumbbell Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Walking Dumbbell Lunge thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 strides reps
As needed rest
Make sure to take long strides on every rep to fully engage the quads, hams and glutes.

Exercise 2.

Dumbbell Squat You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Squat thumbnail
3 sets
12-15 reps
As needed rest
Use wrist wraps to secure your grip so that you can better focus on your thighs throughout the set.

Exercise 3A.

Dumbbell Step-Up You'll need: Bench, Box, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Step-Up thumbnail
2 sets
13-15 per leg reps
0 sec rest

Exercise 3B.

Dumbbell Crossover Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Crossover Lunge thumbnail
2 sets
7-9 per leg reps
0 sec rest

Exercise 4.

Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift How to
Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 reps
As needed rest
Try this movement with the DB’s held either out in front of you (as you would a BB) and at your sides to determine which feels more productive for you.

Exercise 5.

Standing Calf Raise You'll need: Box How to
Standing Calf Raise thumbnail
3 sets
16-20 reps
As needed rest
Hold dumbbell at sides. On each of the three sets change the angle of your feet (one set straight; one set turned slightly inward; one set turned slightly outward).
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