Forget the gym — you just need a pair of dumbbells and 6 exercises to build lower body muscle

a woman performing a lunge with dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Building strength and definition in your lower body can be done without using big gym equipment. That’s right, you can make some serious gains just with just a set of dumbbells and we’ve found a six-move workout to get you started.

A pair of standard dumbbells will do for this routine but if you want to incorporate progressive overload into your at-home workouts then it's worth picking up a set of the best adjustable dumbbells that can adapt as you get stronger.

This particular lower body workout was designed by fitness training duo Mr and Mrs Muscle and includes six different dumbbell exercises which target a range of lower body muscles including the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, inner thighs, calves, and muscles in your core. 

What is the workout? 

You will perform each exercise for 30 seconds, take 10 seconds of rest and then move onto the next one. The aim is to complete three to four rounds but you can decide for yourself how much you have left in the tank after your first round. 

Vivienne Ado, one half of Mr and Mrs Muscle, demonstrates each move in the video below. Be sure to take not of Ado's form in each exercise as proper form is crucial in strength workouts and ensures the targeted muscles are engaged to minimize the risk of injury. 

These lower body dumbbell exercises will also help to strengthen your muscles so that they perform better and minimize the risk of injury in other sports or activities such as running or hiking.

By incorporating compound movements like squats and lunges, you end up engaging multiple joints and muscle groups together, leading to more efficient muscle recruitment and greater overall calorie expenditure.

Regular lower-body resistance training is also a great way to enhance your core strength and increase your mobility. Plus, with the bonus flutter kicks at the end of this workout, you'll be blasting that core some more, particularly the lower abs, hip flexors, and lower back muscles.

Furthermore, the high-intensity nature of this routine will elevate your heart rate and help to better your cardiovascular fitness. When you combine strength and cardiovascular training in one workout, you benefit from using a more time-efficient approach to getting fitter and stronger. 

If you keep up with regular strength training and pair this with good nutrition and recovery, this lower body dumbbell routine can indeed contribute to building strength and muscle mass in the lower body.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.


Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.


She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.