30 minutes, a set of dumbbells, and a lower body workout to build stronger legs

Use this high-intensity dumbbell routine to strengthen your legs and develop your lower body

Women doing dumbbell lunges
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You might hear someone joking about how they skipped leg day—a regular workout dedicated to their lower body. But you don't have to do endless lunges to build strength. Instead, you can use this 30-minute dumbbell routine to work your legs and lower body.

Whether you're training at the gym or exercising at home, all you need is a set of the best adjustable dumbbells. Compared to fixed-weight dumbbells, you can quickly change the load mid-workout to use your ideal weight for each exercise.

If you have access to fixed weights instead, you can use these beginner strength training tips to find the most effective load for your workout. Once you're set-up, it's time to start training with this high-intensity leg workout.

The varied routine, developed by fitness trainer Anna Engelschall (who goes by the handle growingannanas on YouTube), packs 30 exercises into 30 minutes, so you'll do each for 50 seconds and take a 10-second break before continuing with the next move.

There's also a three-minute, three-move finisher plus a cool-down at the end. There are no repetition targets, so the aim is to get through as many reps as you can in the time. Don't rush, though; focusing on your form is essential to avoid injury.

This training style, where you do as many reps as possible, is known as an AMRAP workout. It's a form of high-intensity training, similar to cardio-focused high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but usually based on strength training exercises.

Watch growingannana's 30-minute dumbbell workout

It's also an accessible way to train since you can take things at your own pace. Rather than rushing to hit the rep target, you do as much as possible in the time. Plus, this helps you track your progress since you'll be able to do more as you get stronger.

Engelschall's routine keeps things interesting with variations on staple lower body moves like lunges, squats, and bridges. You could do each of the exercises without weights, but adding dumbbells increases the resistance for a more effective muscle-building workout.

That's why taking on a dumbbells leg workout is a great way to develop strength in your lower body. Your legs—which can be tempting to skip in favor of your arms, shoulders, and chest—also play an important role in your upper body workouts.

Having a more robust lower half helps improve your stability and posture, giving you a more secure platform for other resistance training exercises. Plus, your legs have some of your largest muscles, so developing them can have other effects, like boosting your metabolism.

Your muscles need energy to move; the larger the muscle, the more energy they need. In turn, this can help promote fat loss as you're burning energy even while at rest. Relatedly, many lower body activities, like squats and lunges, also work other areas of your body.

These are known as compound exercises, which train several muscles simultaneously. This makes it a time-efficient way to work out and can further boost your muscle gains and achieve fat-burning results too.

If you enjoy using weights, consider using one of the best kettlebells to learn how to do kettlebell swings, a compound exercise that builds muscle, works your core, and burns fat. No kettlebell? You can get similar results using a dumbbell too.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.