Strengthen your core and build leg muscle without the gym using this five-move dumbbell workout

This short leg session will help you build a strong lower body while working your core and improving your stability

Woman doing a dumbbell lunge outdoors.
(Image credit: Getty)

If you do most of your workouts from home, you might find yourself returning to the same old exercises over and over again. But it’s important to switch up your fitness routine to keep your sessions feeling fresh and target different muscles.

You don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to do this either; there are hundreds of exercises you can do with just a trusty dumbbell or two. The best adjustable dumbbells are more versatile still, allowing you to switch their weight to suit different moves (a trait that makes them great for at-home training).

This lower-body workout from fitness trainer Alex Rice proves just how handy a dumbbell can be. With five moves to strengthen your legs, as well as build core strength, the only other piece of equipment you’ll need is a bench or a chair.

Complete each of the five exercises for the number of sets and repetitions prescribed in Rice's caption below, resting for 60-120 seconds between each set. 

The third and fourth exercises (assisted step-ups and kickstand Romanian deadlifts) are to be performed as a superset. This means you'll do them back to back with no rest in between for an extra test of your muscle's endurance. 

Watch Rice's video below for a demonstration of each exercise, then grab your dumbbells and get to work. 

Watch Alex Rice’s five-move dumbbell leg workout

The rest periods in this workout might seem quite high if you're used to HIIT workouts for fat loss or high-intensity resistance training. That's because this is a traditional resistance training session, focused on building strength and muscle.

By taking longer rest times, your muscles are able to recover slightly between sets, allowing you to lift heavier weights throughout the workout and place your muscles under more tension (a key contributor to growth).

Several of the moves in this workout are also unilateral (or single-leg) exercises. These are great for ridding your lower body of any muscle imbalances by focusing on one side of your body at a time, as well as challenging your core to stabilize your spine as you balance on one leg.

Make sure to perform these exercises on both sides of your body equally for a balanced workout. If you're looking for a more targeted core workout, try adding these deep core exercises to the end of this session.

Or, try if it's a recovery day workout you're after, this less-intense 20-minute Pilates session will build core strength and stability at the same time.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

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.