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5 Dumbbell Exercises To Build Monster Legs

If you want to build an awesome pair of legs, this dumbbell leg workout will put you well in the right direction!Legs are often neglected in the gym because of the effort you’ve got to put into training them

But it’s so important that you do train legs – no matter whether your goals are to build muscle, lose fat and tone up or strengthen your muscles

Goblet Squat

The goblet squat can be a great alternative to squatting with a bar on your back, especially for beginners to learn squat technique properly

Having the weight distributed in front of you causes a different challenge, and will also give your abs a blasting


Hold the dumbbell with your palms facing up (hence the ‘goblet’ part of the name), with your feet around shoulder-width apart and your chest forwards, shoulders back

Keeping a straight back, bend your knees and move your butt back and down, so your weight is through your heels. Aim to get your butt as close to the ground as possible

Keep your chest facing forward

Tense your abs and push back up through your heels to your starting position

Sets: 3 – Reps: 8

Dumbbell Deadlift

There are so many different variations of the deadlift, but they all have one thing in common – they’re all more than just a leg exercise

They’ll fry your hamstrings and glutes, as well as your core and upper back. Talk about effective


Place a dumbbell on its’ end and stand with your feet either side of it, about shoulder-width apart

Bend your knees and this time push your butt back to the wall behind you, instead of down (as in the squat). You should feel a slight pull in your hamstrings (on the back of your leg

Keeping a straight back, with your chest forwards, and shoulders back, reach for the dumbbell with straight arms

With the dumbbell in your hands, tense your abs and stand up straight, by driving your hips forwards and squeeze your glutes

Bend your knees and move your butt backwards again, and lower the dumbbell back to the floor, still keeping your back straight

Sets: 3 – Reps: 8

Bulgarian Split Squat

Don’t worry too much about what this exercise has got to do with Bulgaria – believe me, you’ll be too focused on the burn in your quads and glutes to do that

Single-leg exercises can arguably be tougher than two-legged exercises if you do them right. Balance can be an issue initially, but you’ll perfect it with practice


Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your back to a bench. Place your back foot on the bench. Depending on your ankle mobility, you might prefer to have your toe in contact with the bench, instead of your ankle – find what works best for you

Alternatively, you can hold one heavier dumbbell in the opposite hand to your front leg (i.e. if your left foot is forward, hold the dumbbell in your right hand, and vice versa)

Lean forward at a 45 degree angle (this forward lean increases how hard your glutes work, in comparison to standing upright), and put all of your weight on the heel of your front foo

Bend your front knee and lower yourself down to the ground – under control – using the front leg as a brake against gravity

Push back up through your heel to the starting position

Make sure all of the work is being done by your front leg, and that you’re not using your back leg to help

Sets: 3 – Reps: 10-12 per leg

One Leg RDL Romanian/Stiff-Legged Deadlift

Similar to the dumbbell deadlift we’ve just gone through, this single-leg deadlift variation will really grow and strengthen your hamstrings and glutes, with the added challenge of one leg doing all of the hard work


Stand on one leg (starting on your weaker leg), and hold one relatively heavy dumbbell in the opposite hand to your standing leg

Alternatively, you can hold one lighter dumbbell in each hand

Bend the knee of your standing leg slightly, and lean forward (you’ll feel a slight pull in your hamstrings, on the back of your standing leg). Lean forward until your body is parallel with the floor, and bring your non-standing leg up behind you

Stand back upright, pushing through the heel of your standing leg, driving your hips forward

Sets: 3 – Reps: 10-15 per leg

Walking Lunges

By now your legs should be feeling like they’ve done plenty, and to finish them off we’ll do high-rep walking lunges to get a deep burn in your quads and glutes

We’ll hit some different muscle fibres (type 1) than you hit earlier in the workout with the heavier, lower rep exercises (type 2) for a complete leg workout


Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step forward and bend the knee of your front leg, placing all of your weight through your front heel, and dropping your back knee towards the ground under control

If you didn’t step far enough forward, your weight will be through the ball of your foot, not your heel. If you stepped too far, you’ll find yourself using your back leg to help. Find the middle ground for you

Push back up through your front heel, leaning forwards at 45 degrees (as before with the Bulgarian Split Squat), and bring your back foot forward to meet your front foot. Swap legs

ADVANCED: Push back up through your front heel, and with your back leg, step straight into another lunge

Sets: 3 – Reps: 15-20 per leg