The 6 Best Exercises for an at Home Leg Workout
Recently, we wrote about the 5 best exercises for an at home chest workout. The chest workout was based around using nothing more than a set of dumbbells and a bench. Today, we’re going to do the same for the lower body and tackle the 6 best exercises for an at home leg workout. The lower body consists of four main muscle groups: the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and glutes. This guide will cover the best exercises for a complete lower body workout.
- The Dumbbell Squat
The dumbbell squat is an essential workout for any lower body workout. This is where it all begins. The traditional dumbbell squat involves holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your hands extended on each side with your palms facing inwards toward your legs. Then, slowly bend your knees while keeping your head up and pointed forward. Also, make sure you keep your torso as straight as possible. Bend your knees so that your knees remain above and in line with your toes. Squat until your legs become parallel with the floor. Return to the starting position by pushing your heals against the floor.
The dumbbell squat works the quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Previously, we’ve taken a look at other variations of the dumbbell squat which include the goblet squat, the overhead squat, and the front dumbbell squat. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
- The Dumbbell Step-Up
The dumbbell step-up also uses a set of dumbbells. Stand facing a flat bench with your knees slightly bent. Again, start by holding one dumbbell on your side in each hand with your palms facing inwards toward your legs.
Begin by lifting one foot and placing it on the bench. Then, push your weight up with the heal of that foot and place your opposite foot on the bench. Briefly pause at the top of the bench and step back to the floor with your opposite foot first. Repeat with the first foot for your desired number of reps, then do the same number of reps with your opposite foot.
Remember to keep your back straight and your head facing forward throughout the exercise. Bending your back could cause injury. Increasing the weight of the dumbbells you use, or the height of the bench that you use, will make this exercise more difficult.
The dumbbell step ups primarily targets the quads. It also works out the calves, glutes and hamstrings. Aim for 3-4 sets of 16-20 reps.
- Dumbbell Calf Raises
Dumbbell calf raises are great but simply way to isolate the calf muscles and work them out independently. To start, hold a dumbbell in each hand along your sides with your palms facing your legs. Push up with your toes so that your heals raise off of the floor. Slowly bring your heals back to the floor but stop before your heals touch the floor. Then repeat for the desired number of reps. Remember, extend on your toes as high as you can to put the maximum strain on your calves.
In order to get the most out of this calf raise exercise, use a platform that is 3 to 6 inches off of the ground. Repeat the steps of the exercise as described above. However, using a platform will allow you a better range of motion and allow your heal to move past 180 degrees. Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-16 reps.
- Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell lunges also require the use of dumbbells. Stand up straight but while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand along your side with your palms facing inward towards your legs. Step forward with one leg and bend your knee to squat down through the hips. Bend your knee so that it is parallel to your toes, but do not extend past the toes. Keep your head up and facing forward and your torso straight. Return back to the starting position by pushing your heal into the ground. Then alternate to your other leg.
This exercise primarily works the quads. It also works the calves, hamstrings and glutes. Aim for 3-4 sets of 16-20 reps.
- Dumbbell Hamstring Curls
Set this exercise up by placing one appropriately weighted dumbbell at the end of a flat bench. Lay flat with your stomach on the bench with your knees at the edge of the bench. Pick the dumbbell up and secure it between your feet. Grip the bench with your hands for stability.
To start the exercise, bend your knees upwards toward your back. Raise the dumbbell as far back as you comfortably can. Then lower the dumbbell to the starting position and repeat. Remember to keep the dumbbell controlled and stabilized throughout the entire exercise.
This exercise isolates the hamstrings. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
- Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift
Hold a dumbbell in each hand along your side. Keep your hands pointed inwards toward your legs. Stand straight but keep a slight bend in your knees. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart.
While keeping your back straight, bend over at the waist on one foot and lower the dumbbells toward the top of your feet. Your other foot should raise behind you. Keep a slight bend in your knees throughout the exercise. Lower the dumbbells as far as you comfortably can as you feel your hamstrings stretching. Raise the dumbbells back to the starting position while keeping your back and shoulders straight. Try not to round your back.
The dumbbell stiff leg deadlift targets your hamstrings. It also works your lower back and your glutes. Aim for 8 to 12 reps.
These six exercises are great for a complete at home leg workout. Performing each of these will work out your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. It will also work out the lower back for a well-rounded workout. Aim to complete this workout twice per week with at least 48 hours between workouts to ensure your muscles have the time they need to recover and grow.
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