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This 5-Move Dumbbell Leg Workout Targets Every Essential Muscle Group

BB Arrington, CPT
Personal trainer & holistic nutritionist By BB Arrington, CPT
Personal trainer & holistic nutritionist
BB Arrington is NASM-certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate.
pivot squat

Welcome to mbg moves! For the first installment of 2022, we're changing things up a bit with a strength-training-at-home series, from BB Arrington. Check out the full strength training at home guide here, which includes tips, advice, and insight for beginning the journey to a stronger you. Plus, tune in each week for a new at-home workout to include in your routine.

Strong legs are an important foundation for moving well and managing everyday activities. This includes standing up, sitting down, climbing stairs, and even running after your dog who got off his leash.

Because your legs can manage heavier loads, the stronger your legs, the stronger you are overall. When training your legs, it's important to remember to train the major muscle groups: quadriceps, hamstrings, and adductors.

This five-move workout covers all your bases to build a stronger lower body. All you need is a yoga mat and a single dumbbell (go for something heavier than you would for an upper-body workout) to get started!

Workout Summary

  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Equipment: Single dumbbell
  • Instructions: Complete three set of 8 to 12 reps of each exercise. Move from one exercise to the next with some rest in between.

Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat

Image by mbg creative

  1. Stand with feet just outside shoulder width, holding the dumbbell tightly to your chest.
  2. Keeping tension in your torso, lower your hips below the height of your knees, and return to standing.
  3. Note: Be sure to keep toes and heels planted into the floor the entire time. Think about spreading the floor with your feet as you squat down and stand up to make room for your hips to lower.

Reverse Nordic Drop

reverse nordic drop

Image by mbg creative

  1. Kneeling tall, firm your glutes, and brace your core to start.
  2. Hinge back, feeling a stretch on your quads.
  3. Pause for a quick moment before coming back to the start position.
  4. Note: As you grow more confident with this move, see how far back you can hinge. To help your core stay braced, you may keep your chin tucked to your chest throughout the movement.

Good Morning

good mornings

Image by mbg creative

  1. With dumbbells on your shoulders, step feet out about hip width.
  2. Soften your knees, brace your core, and hinge your hips backward feeling a stretch on your hamstrings and glutes.
  3. Return to standing.

Hamstring Curl

hamstring curl

Image by mbg creative

  1. Lying on your stomach, place a dumbbell between your feet.
  2. Hinging at the knees, lower your feet toward the floor and back up to the ceiling. 
  3. Note: For more intensity, find an extended pause when feet almost touch the floor before lifting back up to the ceiling.

Squat Pivot Split Squat

squat pivot split squat

Image by mbg creative

  1. Holding your weights, with feet just outside shoulder width, squat down.
  2. Staying low, pivot your body 90 degrees to staggered stance, split-squat position.
  3. Pivot back to the squat position and pivot 90 degrees over the other shoulder to the other side's staggered stance.

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