Build bigger glutes and quads with this dumbbell leg workout

This minimal equipment routine will make your legs burn to build strength and muscle in your legs and butt

Two dumbbells sit in between a person's legs
(Image credit: Getty)

You can tell when someone works out their legs hard because it is easy to spot definition and muscle mass in those areas. But aesthetics aren't everything. Leg workouts are excellent for engaging major muscle groups in your body, helping to improve your athletic performance in other areas of fitness.

If you like to mix things up on leg day then it is worthwhile using the best leg workouts in your training. The majority of these moves are equipment-free, ideal to use in a leg-based routine, or can be used as a warm-up before adding weights into some resistance training.

This workout posted by Under Armour ambassador and celebrity personal trainer, Bradley Simmonds, adds dumbells to the seven-move leg routine. With four sets recommended for each exercise, you will be putting your glutes, hamstrings, and thighs to the test. 

Simmonds demonstrates each of the moves, showing the correct form for completing these dumbbell-based movements. 


He adjusts the weight sizes for different exercises and you should consider doing this as well. For example, some exercises (lunges and split squats) are primarily dependent on the muscles in one leg, for these instances you won't be able to lift as heavy a weight.

If you have access to more than one set of dumbbells then you are sorted, if not you should consider buying a pair of best adjustable dumbbells for your workouts. These allow you to move up or down weight from just one weight. They are also super space-efficient if you don't want to crowd your overcrowd your home-gym space.

Below are the exercises included in Simmonds leg routine.

7 dumbbell based leg exercises

  1. Deadlifts - 12 x4
  2. Goblet squats - 12 x 4
  3. Declined reverse lunges 20 x 4
  4. Declined Lateral lunges - 8 x 4 both sides
  5. Deep squats - 12 x 4
  6. Bulgarian split squats (both sides) - 10 x 4
  7. Hip Thrusts - 12 x 4

Simmonds wrote on his Instagram that you should aim to complete this workout three times per week for glute growth and improved muscular strength.

Not everyone has time to complete full resistance training sessions like this one, especially when work and social events fill up our schedules. But this doesn't mean you have to miss out on the benefits of strength training.

This 2021 study found that people can still carry out effective strength workouts by aiming to train with four weekly sets per muscle group using a 6-15 repetition maximum loading range and by prioritizing bilateral and multi-joint movements. 

Using these you can target all major muscle groups with as little as three moves (for example, leg press, dumbbell shoulder and seated rows). You can also limit your warm-up time to exercises which are only specific to the muscle groups you will be working within a session.

It is important to note that you don't need to use heavy weights to see results from resistance training. You can use just your bodyweight in callisthenic movements or train with the best resistance bands.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.