Five moves and two dumbbells are all you need to build stronger legs

Strengthen your legs and glutes at home while building a balanced body with this dumbbell workout

A woman performing a dumbbell lunge while completing a leg workout outside
(Image credit: Getty)

A busy gym can be tricky to navigate, with huge queues for equipment and an overflowing weights section. Luckily, we've found a great leg and glute workout that only uses two dumbbells, so you can pick up a pair, find a quiet corner and start squatting. 

Or, if you want to swerve the gym altogether, you can always save yourself a commute by doing it at home (just use a chair or other elevated surface in place of a weight bench for the split squat jumps). 

The session has been devised by Evolve You training app co-founder Krissy Cela (opens in new tab) to strengthen your lower body with just five muscle-building moves. Although you can do it with any fixed-weight dumbbells, we recommend keeping a set of adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab) handy so you can quickly change the load between exercises. 

To try it for yourself, complete the prescribed number of sets and repetitions for each movement (listed in Cela's caption below) before progressing to the next exercise. 

Watch her videos below to find out more about the five exercises she's selected, and pay close attention to Cela's form to help you learn the correct technique for each one. 

Watch Krissy Cela's dumbbell leg workout

A post shared by Krissy Cela (@krissycela) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

As this is a resistance training workout, with a focus on increasing the strength and size of your muscles, you should rest for 60-90 seconds between each set. 

If you're used to high-intensity HIIT workouts (opens in new tab), this may seem like a long time, but it will allow your muscles to recover slightly so you can continue to lift a weight you find challenging (an example of the progressive overload (opens in new tab) principle in action).

All of the movements included in Cela's session are compound exercises (opens in new tab), meaning they work more than one muscle at the same time. For example, the time under tension sumo squats will hit your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. This makes them a top tool for time-efficient training and comprehensive gains. 

She also uses many unilateral (or single-sided) movements, which are a great way to remedy any muscular imbalances your body may have by focusing on one side at a time. 

The day after completing this workout, you're going to want to allow your lower body to recover, so consider focusing on other muscle groups with this eight-move arm workout (opens in new tab) or a 20-minute upper-body session (opens in new tab).  

You can also forego the weights entirely in favor of a lower-intensity activity such as flowing between these anti-aging yoga moves (opens in new tab) or starting our Pilates plan for beginners (opens in new tab)

Harry Bullmore

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.

When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.

Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.