Dumbbell Only Leg and Glute Workout

November 9, 2018

 

      Keeping a consistent workout routine is easy once it becomes a habitual part of your daily routine. However, that faithful routine can easily slip when you're thrown out of your regular routine, whether it be due to travel, time off, limited gym access, etc.  When access to equipment is limited, it's still possible to get a great workout in with just the use of dumbbells. Below is a full lower body workout that can be done with nothing other than dumbbells and a bench (or other elevated surface).

Exercise 1: Dumbbell Deadlift

 

Place a set of dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Squat down to grab the bar with your arms just on the outside of your knees. Drive through your heels to stand up with the bar, squeezing your glutes and lightly locking the knees at the top of the motion. Rather than using your back to pull the bar up, imagine pushing your feet into the floor and using your legs to bring the bar up. Keep a straight back, a neutral head and neck (chin slightly tucked) and engage the core. Make sure the dumbbells stay as close to your legs as possible throughout the entire range of motion. Lower the bar back to the ground with control, the same way you lifted it to complete one rep.

Perform 3-4 sets.

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise 2: Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

Stand with feet hip width apart and an optional dumbbell in each hand. Step the left foot back behind you about a legs length while coming into a lunge position with the front leg. Keep most of the weight on the front leg, and make sure that the front knee never comes past the toes. Drive into the front heel to rise back up to a standing position, stepping both feet together for one rep. Complete all of your reps on one leg before switching legs and repeating on the opposite leg.
Perform 3 sets on each leg.
 
 
 
Exercise 3: Bulgarian Split Squat
Come to a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. Facing away from the bench, place the left foot on the bench behind you and step the right foot forward about 2-3 feet. With the back leg elevated, come down into a lunge position, slightly leaning your torso forward over your front leg. Drive through the heel to come back up, keeping the back leg elevated to complete one repetition.
Perform 3 sets on each leg.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exercise 4: Step-Up
If you are a beginner or using a high step, stick to just body-weight here. Otherwise, hold a dumbbell in each hand and come to a bench, stepping the right foot up onto the bench. Push through your right heel to lift yourself up off the floor until your right leg is straight and you are standing on the bench with both feet. Sit the hips back and lower the same way you came up to complete one rep. Repeat 8-10 reps on one side before switching sides.
Perform 3 sets on each leg.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exercise 5: Dumbbell Hip Thrust
Lie on your back with your scapula elevated on a bench and feet planted on the floor. Keep your chin slightly tucked down toward you chest as you squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up to full extension without allowing the low back to arch. Allow the hips to hinge as you come back down. Throughout the exercise, try to keep your hips even. This exercise can be performed with just body-weight, or with a dumbbell in the lap for extra resistance (as shown).
Perform 3 sets on each side.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exercise 6: Dumbbell Sumo Squat
Grab a moderate to heavy dumbbell and stand with wide stance with each foot on a separate step or bench. Turn the toes slightly outward, and sit the hips back to squat down so that the thighs are at least parallel to the floor, and you are holding the dumbbell in between your legs. Aim to bring the dumbbell all the way down to the floor while keeping the back straight and chest up. Squeeze the glutes when you come back up. If available, I recommend standing on a low to moderate step or other elevated surface to enable greater range of motion.
Perform 3-4 sets.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exercise 7: Frog Pumps
Lay down on your back with the knees bent, as if setting up for a glute bridge. From there, let the knees fall open and bring the souls of the feet together. Drive through the edges of the feet and heels and squeeze the glutes as hard as you can to hyper extend the hips up toward the ceiling. Start with body-weight and progress to adding a dumbbell as necessary.
Perform 3 sets to failure (until your glutes aren't firing very hard anymore) for a burnout.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The rep range you choose should be dependent on the amount of weight used. In many cases, limited equipment gyms will only supply dumbbells that go up to a weight that is not sufficient to challenge many people in lower rep ranges. The solution to this is simple: do more reps per set. The goal should be to choose a rep range that challenges you (you shouldn't be able to easily do 5 more reps) with the given weight. There are many options in terms of rep ranges, but I would recommend starting anywhere in the 8-30 rep range, depending on how heavy you are able to lift.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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