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 Downey

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. 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. She is a keen runner and is currently sweating her way through a 10k training plan. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen - which she loves sharing with others on her healthy living-inspired Instagram account, @jessrunshere. Despite her love for nutritious cooking, she stands by the saying ‘everything in moderation’ and is eagerly conquering the London food and drink scene!