Four moves, two dumbbells, and this lower body workout to build stronger legs
Add this resistance workout to your routine for maximum gains
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter
Whether you’re training at home or at the gym, there are a few go-to movements guaranteed to strengthen your legs, while improving mobility and balance too.
Certified personal trainer Julie Cap (better known as juliexfit (opens in new tab)) has included four of these exercises in a workout that will challenge your entire lower-body, and you only need a couple of dumbbells to try it for yourself.
It starts with an active warm-up of dynamic stretches and a short session on the treadmill. Then, you're tasked with completing high-rep sets of resistance training movements designed to test your muscles' endurance as well as their strength.
You'll need a heavier dumbbell and a lighter dumbbell for a more challenging set on the second exercise: dumbbell squats. Here, you'll perform 10 repetitions with the heavier dumbbell, then switch to the lighter weight for another 10.
This can be a fun way to mix up your workouts and challenge your muscles to make them grow. If you don’t have a range of dumbbells at home, we’d recommend investing in a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab) so you can experiment with different weights, even if you have minimal storage space.
It's important to get the technique right if you want to get the most from your session. So, watch Cap take you through each of the exercises in her Instagram post below and take note of her form to ensure you’re engaging the correct muscles.
Watch JulieXFit's dumbbell leg workout
A post shared by Julie | Online Fitness Coach (@juliexfit) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
You might think you need to lift heavy weights to build muscle, but lifting lighter weights for a higher number of repetitions can still place plenty of stress on your muscles (one of the key components of growth).
If you’re a beginner, working with lighter weights can hold additional benefits too. By lifting a load you can move comfortably for the first few reps, you can practice your technique and gain confidence with common resistance training movements.
This will also mean you're less likely to pick up an injury than if you used poor form when trying to lift a weight that is too heavy. (If you're wondering, "What dumbbell weights should I use? (opens in new tab)", our handy feature should help you make the right choice.)
However, while Cap’s workout has plenty to offer beginners, it's suitable for all strength and fitness levels. It incorporates compound exercises (opens in new tab) like split squats and Romanian deadlifts, which engage multiple muscle groups at once.
For example, split squats will hit your hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps and glutes. This makes them a time-efficient training tool, with Cap saying she was able to finish her session (warm-up and cool-down included) in just 50 minutes.
After finishing this tough leg workout, you're going to want to give your lower-body at least 24 hours away from weight training to allow them to recover and grow.
If you're on the lookout for a way to stay active the following day, why not try an upper-body session like this chest and back workout (opens in new tab), or work on your mobility with these anti-aging yoga moves (opens in new tab).
Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.
Build a stronger core in just 12 minutes without weights—here's how
Workout You don't need weights to strengthen your core, just try this 12-minute, no-equipment routine instead
By Lois Mackenzie • Published
Use these 10 yoga stretches for beginners to boost your flexibility
Fitness You don't need any equipment for this this beginner-friendly 10-move routine from a certified yoga instructor
By Annabel Lee • Published