Strengthen your legs at home in 20 minutes with this lower-body dumbbell workout

This short session combines strength training with Pilates for an effective lower body dumbbell routine

A woman performing a donkey kick as part of a lower-body workout
(Image credit: Getty)

Lifting heavy weights and using expensive exercise machines is one way to grow strong legs, but it isn't the only way. Many muscle-building movements can be done at home with just a couple of free weights or your body for resistance, so you don’t even have to step foot in a gym.

For example, this workout created by online coach and trainer Mikala Czubak (better known as FitByMik) offers an effective lower-body burn with just a couple of dumbbells. Czubak uses two 12lb (5kg) dumbbells, but you can use lighter or heavier weights depending on your strength and how confident you are with the movements. 

We like using the best adjustable dumbbells for home workouts because they allow you to increase their weight as you grow stronger (an example of the progressive overload principle in action). But, if you don't have a pair handy, a fixed weight dumbbell or kettlebell will also work for this workout. 

And Czubak says you can also make the session more challenging by adding a pair of ankle weights or a short resistance band to increase the load.

Follow-along with her YouTube video below to try the workout for yourself, and focus on matching her form to make sure you're using the right technique for each exercise. 

Watch FitByMik's lower-body workout

This workout uses an interval-style format, with 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest. This energy-intensive approach will raise your heart rate, burning calories and boosting your metabolism. 

It also combines multi-muscle compound exercises like lunges and dumbbell Romanian deadlifts with Pilates-style movements, targeting specific muscles in the legs. Combined, these exercises help work your lower body, improve your mobility, and protect against injury. 

It's important to warm up before lifting weights to increase your range of motion and muscle elasticity, allowing you to move better and (again) preventing possible injuries.

Try this 15-minute daily stretching routine before your workout, or invest in one of the best foam rollers if you’re looking to upgrade your warm-up and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. 

If you have the time and want to upgrade your workout to a full-body session, we suggest combining this lower-body blast with this 20-minute dumbbell upper-body workout.

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.