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5 Toning Exercises Every Dumbbell Leg Workout Needs!

Written by Liz Brown

If you’re looking to get lean, toned legs with a perky butt, including these 5 exercises in your next dumbbell leg workout are crucial! You can do this workout at home or at the gym, all you need is a set of weights!

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If you’re looking to get lean, toned legs with a perky butt, including these 5 exercises in your next dumbbell leg workout are crucial! You can do this workout at home or at the gym, all you need is a set of weights!

Working out with weights can feel intimidating if it isn’t something you do on a regular basis. I mean, there are sooooo many different exercises and so much equipment out there, the sheer thought of trying to figure out which exercises are best can make anyone’s head spin!

If you’re looking to get lean, toned legs with a perky butt, incorporating weights into your leg days on a regular basis is a MUST. So, what are the best leg exercises at home (or anywhere for that matter) that you can do with weights? All you need to do is incorporate these five exercises into your next dumbbell leg workout and you’ll have Carrie Underwood legs in no time!

Why Is A Leg Workout Circuit Important For Leg Day?

Variety is the key to achieving the absolute best results when it comes to a dumbbell leg workout, and a leg circuit gets the job done, fast!


Together, your legs and glutes contain 13 primary muscles that are involved in shaping your physique and controlling major movements like walking, sitting, standing, stepping, squatting, lunging, twerking… oops, did I say twerking? I meant twisting 🤪(hehe).

Anyways, the point I’m trying to make here is that because there are so many muscles at play, including a variety of exercises in your leg workout circuit increases the likelihood that you’ll hit all the muscle groups and achieve your desired aesthetic in a shorter amount of time.

Similarly, a leg workout circuit can burn more calories than most types of weight training because the muscles in the legs and glutes are larger and require more effort to complete.

The Most Effective Exercises For A Dumbbell Leg Workout

The five most crucial exercises for a dumbbell leg workout include all the primary movements in all three planes of motion—frontal (forward movements), sagittal (sideways movements), and transverse (rotational movements).

  • Deadlifts—the primary muscles used in a traditional deadlift, like hamstrings, calves, quads, glutes, lower back, inner thighs, and even muscles in your neck, trigger a bunch of additional muscles in the posterior chain that make this a crucial exercise in a great dumbbell leg workout
  • Curtsey Lunge—a curtsey lunge gets its name because it mimics the movement of… you guessed it… a formal curtsey! Although you won’t be formally greeting any dignified leaders during this exercise, you can certainly expect to firm up your glutes and thighs when you incorporate dumbbells. This is one of the best leg exercises at home!
  • Walking Lunges With Kickback—this dynamic exercise is a combination of two important exercises, a traditional lunge, and a glute kickback. The primary muscles used here are your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and core!
  • Sumo Squat With Heel Lift—similar to a curtsey lunge, this exercise gets its name from a more common association, a sumo wrestler! It differs from a traditional squat in a few ways—your feet stand much wider, your toes are pointed in an outward position, and the weight is typically held between the legs. This activates your inner thighs, quads, and glutes, and the heel lift activates the calf muscles.
  • Single Leg Booty Bridge—finally an exercise that lets you lay down! Although this exercise doesn’t involve as many muscles as the others, it’s still important to include in your dumbbell leg workout because it isolates the muscles in the glutes. You can perform this exercise without weights, but if you want more of a challenge, simply rest the weights on your hips!

How To Maximize The Results Of A Dumbbell Leg Workout

Optimal recovery is one of the most important aspects of building lean muscle. When you lift weights, you are basically adding the good type of stress to your muscles and causing your muscles to “tear”. But don’t worry! This is totally normal! In fact, these “micro-tears” in your muscles are necessary for muscle growth.

You see, when you lift weights that cause micro-tears, your body actually repairs and adapts to the damage to better handle the stimulus that caused the damage in the first place. This is how your muscles grow (and why you feel sore after a good workout)!

You can actually help your body recover faster by drinking branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) directly after a good weight training workout, including this dumbbell leg workout! SkinnyFit Repair and Recover contains the necessary amino acid blend to heal your body, accelerate the recovery process, and help build stronger muscles!

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About The Author

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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