You might have seen people on social media using all kinds of pricey equipment in a bid to build muscle, but sometimes the old ways are the best. The humble dumbbell, for example, has been a fitness-building staple for many years, and for good reason.
Dumbbells allow you to perform a seemingly infinite array of exercises to engage every muscle in your body. Some of the best adjustable dumbbells even allow you to change their weight to suit your strength level, so you can enjoy all the benefits of a rack of weights in one compact package—nifty, right?
It's no surprise, then, that certified personal trainer and fitness influencer Alice Liveing has been able to create a workout that exclusively uses dumbbells to provide a comprehensive lower-body burn.
The session consists of just six moves and is designed to target your glutes, hamstrings and quads. By changing the way you hold the dumbbells, it will also challenge your core stability, which is always a welcome benefit.
To complete the workout, we recommend performing each exercise for three sets of 8-12 repetitions, with 60-second rest periods between each set. This should see you finish the session in well under an hour, leaving time for a comprehensive warm-up and cool down either side.
Watch Liveing's demonstrations of each exercise in her video below and try each one using just your bodyweight. This way, you can perfect your form before reaching for the dumbbells and launching into the workout.
Watch Alice Liveing's six-move lower-body strength workout
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If you're used to circuit sessions, the amount of rest in this workout (60 seconds between each set) may seem quite high. This is because it's a resistance training workout with the primary goal of building muscle and strength. The rest periods allow your muscles to recover slightly, so you can attack each set with renewed vigor and continue to lift weights heavy enough to stimulate growth.
Knowing which weight to use is key to successful resistance training, as your body requires sufficient mechanical tension and metabolic stress to grow. If you're looking for a general rule, the last three repetitions of each set should feel particularly challenging, and you should never sacrifice technique to move the weight.
It's also worth noting that, while muscle-building is the focus of a resistance training session, this exercise method will still raise your heart rate and burn plenty of calories. It's a clever all-rounder that can be followed up with a simple arm workout the following day, if you want to hit a wider range of muscle groups in your weekly workouts.
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Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.
Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.
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