Dumbbell leg workouts should revolve around 3–4 movements, using 3–5 sets per movement, and performing 8–12 reps per set.
Rest for 1–2 minutes between sets and 2–3 minutes between each exercise. You should begin your session with a 5–10-minute aerobic warmup, such as walking or jogging.
Aim for a total of 80–120 reps on each leg per workout. For double-leg movements, a single repetition counts as one for each leg, while single-leg movements must be performed on each side to count as one repetition per leg.
Ideally, you should pick at least one lunge, squat, and hip-hinge movement in each workout. For simplification purposes, the stepup will be considered a lunge, while the sumo squat can act as your squat or hip hinge movement.
For example, the following workout would be a comprehensive dumbbell leg training session:
- 5–10 minutes of brisk walking
- Goblet squats — 4 sets of 10 reps using medium weight dumbbells
- Stepups — 3 sets of 10 reps per leg with medium weight dumbbells
- Romanian deadlifts — 4 sets of 10 reps using medium weight dumbbells
When it comes to selecting weights, you should start with a weight of 10–20 pounds (roughly 5–10 kg) or lighter depending on your current strength.
Perform the workout with the same weight twice per week for 1 week, and then increase the weight by 5 pounds (roughly 2 kg) the following week.
The weight should ideally be heavy enough that you have 2 reps or less “in the tank” by the time you reach your target reps of each set.
You’ll ultimately be limited in maximum weight by your ability to hold the weight itself, and most dumbbell leg exercises have a practical maximum limitation that’s lower than your theoretical maximum weight due to the grip strength required to hold the dumbbells.
Nevertheless, you can always increase the number of repetitions if you find yourself unable to use heavier dumbbells.
Every 4 weeks, swap out 1–2 exercises for another exercise in the same category.
These dumbbell workouts will be most effective if you perform 2 workouts per week in conjunction with upper body training on separate days.
Dumbbell leg workouts should include 1–2 exercises for each movement pattern for a total of 80–120 reps twice per week. You’ll ultimately be limited in the maximum useable weight due to grip-strength requirements.
Training legs with dumbbells is a straightforward and effective way to strengthen and grow your major lower body musculature.
You can combine a variety of exercises to train your various lower body muscles effectively and efficiently.
Performing dumbbell leg routines twice per week is more than enough training to see substantial improvements in lower body strength and muscle mass, particularly if you’ve recently started an exercise routine.