These five compound moves will help you develop stronger legs and boost your metabolism

Target the lower-body with these dumbbell and kettlebell exercises

Woman doing a squat with a kettlebell held at her chest
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you strength train multiple times a week, you might want to consider doing a workout split. This means dividing your sessions into upper- and lower-body routines, which will ensure that you're working out as intensely and efficiently as possible. 

This leg routine, created by personal trainer Berenice Salazar, is made up of just five exercises, but it will help you strengthen the glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings.

All you need is some dumbbells and a kettlebell to do it. Salazar uses dumbbells of varying weights throughout the workout, so it might be worth doing the routine at your gym so you have access to everything you need.

Alternatively, you could invest in a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells, so you can do the workout at home. 

Flybird single adjustable dumbbell: was $256.97, now $179.88 at Flybird

Flybird single adjustable dumbbell: was $256.97, now $179.88 at Flybird

Save $77.09 Good adjustable dumbbells don't come cheap, so this is a welcome discount on the Flybird adjustable dumbbell. We found the model easy to use, with a twisting handle mechanism that allows you to change weight quickly. Picking up one (or two) of these dumbbells will mean that you have access to a range of weights for at-home workouts. 

Watch Berenice Salazar's lower-body workout

There are five moves in this routine: straddle squats, forward lunges, Romanian deadlifts, lateral lunges and kettlebell swings. The workout follows a circuit format, so complete the repetitions for each movement—which are listed in the video—then repeat the sequence four more times to finish. 

Whatever weight you're using, make sure it's not so heavy that it has a negative impact on your form. Particularly with exercises like squats and deadlifts, it's very important that the weights you're lifting are manageable and your technique is correct in order to avoid injury.

Try to mirror Salazar's form and remember to keep your chest upright when squatting and avoid arching or curving your back during the deadlifts. Take a look at our guides on how to deadlift with dumbbells and how to do squats for more tips.

Benefits of a leg workout

Why bother strengthening your legs? Well, certain lower-body muscles—particularly the glutes—help with things like spinal and pelvic stabilization, so strengthening these areas could improve your natural posture and fend off back ache.

Plus, building muscle will actually boost your metabolism. That's because muscle requires calories to maintain, so you will burn more calories (even when you're resting) if you're able to boost your muscle mass. 

And as some of the biggest muscles in the body are found in your legs, a lower-body strength workout is one of the best ways to boost your brawn. 

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.