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A Dumbbell Leg Workout to Ignite New Growth 

Have You Tried This Muscle Building Home Workout?

This dumbbell leg workout is sure to kick your ass and ignite new growth in all of the right areas. Give everything and leave nothing.

Tired of your current dumbbell leg workout not giving you the results and development you crave? If so, don’t fear, Psymon H. is here to change all of that.

 I haven’t got a magic pill you can take or a magic wand I can wave over your legs to make them grow. What I do have is 40 years muscle building experience and a deep bag full of muscle building exercises, tips and tricks you can use to get your lower body firing.  All I ask in return is that you don’t crave comfort over progress which means that you are willing to give everything and leave nothing.

The dumbbell leg workout I’m going to share with you today will fit nicely into a full body workout session or as part of a lower body split. It will consist of one Quad, one Hamstring and one Calf movement. If you are using the exercises as part of a lower body split and you would like more exercises to add to your workout, (take a look at my lower body dumbbell workout article for more ideas.)

Like with every muscle building endeavor, regardless of you using dumbbells, barbells, bands or machines, form and execution are two of the most crucial components. But before we can talk about exercises, form and execution, it’s important you understand some general guidelines to training Quads, Hamstrings and Calves. Adapting your training in this manner is the single best thing your could do to any dumbbell leg workout; so let’s start by setting out a valuable foundation for each muscle group before we move onto the three exercises, intensity techniques, sets, reps and reps in reserve.

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Quads are Knee Extensors; hence “Flexion” and “Extension” of your knee should be your prime concern, because when implemented properly, good flexion and extension will place superior loads on the Quads instead of the Spine and surrounding muscles. The way you do this is by not traveling outside of your active range of motion.

What is your active range of motion?

Take this quick test.

Stand up tall with your chest high and butt back. Now pull your knee up to your chest or as high as you can go without rounding your spine or dipping down. However high you go while maintaining good form is where your active range of motion ends. As everyone is different, active ranges of motion will differ from person to person.

If you are someone who has a low active range of motion (in other words you cannot raise your knee very high), you can do take wider stances in your Squats and Lunges to compensate or slightly change the angle of your feet.

On your next dumbbell leg workout, imagine yourself with a pair of heavy dumbbells in hand. Anytime you have to round your back to complete a repetition, you are working outside of your active range of motion and robbing your Quads of most of the work.


Hamstrings flex the knee and extend the hip.

Mission Jacked Tip 1: It’s imperative when training Hamstrings to generate as much force against the floor as possible. When you push into the ground you’ll feel everything from your Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves contract.

Mission Jacked Tip 2: Continuously engage and challenge the Hamstrings to maintain tension on the muscle instead of racing through each repetition.


Mission Jacked Tip: When training Calves, execution is central. The Calf is an ankle extensor, and for this reason you should aim to get up as high as you can on your big toe as opposed to rolling on the outside of your foot when performing any Calf raise.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the business of introducing you to three rather rare but exceptional exercises; one for each lower body muscle group.

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Dumbbell Leg Workout Exercise One:
The Spring-Loaded Lunge

Spring-Loaded Lunge
Spring-Loaded Lunge

Target Muscle Groups: (Primary Muscle) Quads, (secondary muscle groups) Glutes, and Hamstrings.

Imagine taking a standard dumbbell lunge and adding an additional force vector to the exercise movement; now you have one of the best dumbbell leg exercises at your disposal. While this movement stimulates growth in the Quads, it also batters the hell out of the Hamstrings and Glute muscles. While the focus is on the use of dumbbells, don’t be put off by the fact that you will also need two heavy resistance bands, a sturdy upright anchor and Velcro or a wrist strap (optional). Adding these extra items will take your dumbbell leg workout to a whole new level.

Loop the first band to an upright anchor at hip height and use a wrist strap or Velcro to attach the second band. This exercise does come with a warning – Please make sure the upright anchor is secure and the Velcro strap can take the pressure of the two bands under tension.  If you don't have Velcro or a heavy wrist strap, you can loop the second band around the first band to create a knot, but this can be a bitch to undo once you’re done.

Cue 1: With the first band attached to the anchor, step inside the second band and have it resting around your Hips. Grab both dumbbells and step back until there is a good amount of tension in both bands. At this moment, you should feel as if you would be catapulted across the other side of the room if you were to lift both feet off the ground.

Cue 2: (The Start of The Movement) Take a step forward into a front lunge with your front leg at a 90 degree angle, making sure to take your time with foot placement as not to lose your balance. Maintain a straight/upright Back while concentrating on the contraction of your front Quad and your rear Glute.

Cue 3: Once you are in the down position, push back against the band as you begin to bring your front foot back to the standing position.

You can concentrate on doing one leg at a time and once you master the movement, you can alternate legs during a set.

While the dumbbells offer the usual stress on your Quad muscles, the bands give serious tension to both ends of the movement. When you step forward into the lunge, you feel the band accelerate, and as you step back into the standing position, you can feel yourself fighting the band tension as well as the gravity from the dumbbells which make the whole affair one hell of a dumbbell workout.

Your speed of repetition matters from start to finish. Make sure you slow the movement down to maintain control as this can become dangerous if you go too fast. When it comes to a kick-ass dumbbell leg workout to initiate growth, the Spring-Loaded Lunge is one of my favorite movements.

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Dumbbell Leg Workout Exercise Two:
The Contralateral Bulgarian Squat

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The Contralateral Bulgarian Squat

Target Muscle Groups: (Primary Muscles) Hamstrings and Glutes (Secondary Muscle) Quads

Items Needed: One dumbbell and a bench or bar on a rack.

Moving from the traditional Bulgarian Squat to the Contralateral Bulgarian Squat in your dumbbell leg workout is like trading in an old car for the latest model; you’re going to feel the difference in performance.

In case you’re unsure of the meaning, the word “Contralateral” means occurring on or acting in conjunction with a part on the opposite side of the body. In Bulgarian Squat terms, we can hold one dumbbell in the left hand and work the right leg and vice-versa.

When it comes to hitting the all-around Hamstring area, the Contralateral Bulgarian Squat is a very reliable option. As well as stimulating strength and growth in the Hamstrings and surrounding muscles, the Contralateral Bulgarian Squat will challenge you to stabilize your core and remain upright.

Cue 1: With one dumbbell on your right side, rest the topside of your right foot on a bench or a bar off a rack behind you and step forward with your left foot until it’s a good stride in front of the resting leg.

Cue 2: Keep as upright as possible while slowly lowering your front leg until your front knee is at a 90 degree angle.

Cue 3: Briefly pause in the bottom position before smoothly making your way back to the top of the movement.

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Dumbbell Leg Workout Exercise Three:
Single Leg Calf Push-ups

When it comes to the Calves, from the exterior, the most visible area is the Gastrocnemius. This forms the nice “V” shape and definition of the Calf. Underneath that, is the large muscle called the Soleus which provides much of the volume of the Calf muscle.

For this underground movement, we’re going to focus on the Soleus area which is best worked when the knee is in a flex position. If you’re looking for something a little different than the Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise to add to your dumbbell leg workout, look no further than the Single Leg Calf Push-up. This exercise may feel very cramp-like, but it works an absolute charm when it comes to hitting the Soleus area with full force.

Items Needed: One dumbbell and a flat bench.

Cue 1: Place the dumbbell on the knee of your working leg and begin by sitting on the very edge of a flat bench. Use the hand on the operating side to support the dumbbell and keep it in place. At this point, your knee should be at a right angle to your ankle.

Cue 2: Keeping your working leg in place, slide yourself off the bench so that you are in a hip thrust position. Use the elbow on your non-working side to support you before stretching out your non-working leg and lifting it off the floor.

Cue 3: Start by having the foot of your working leg flat on the floor, and then begin to lift your heel up as far as you can. Briefly hold at the top of the movement before lowering your foot all the way to the floor, so it is flat. Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions before swapping legs.

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Dumbbell Leg Workout Reps, Sets, and Reps in Reserve:

If you are performing a full body workout, all three exercises can be completed in one workout once per week.

For reps and reps in reserve (RIR), you could use anything from 8 – 20 repetitions per set, leaving 2 repetitions in reserve on all working sets. This will ensure that you are achieving maximum motor unit recruitment. Over a four week muscle building cycle, you could change the reps performed…Example, on week one you could use 8 repetitions per set, week 2 = 10 reps, week 3 = 12 reps and week 4 = 15 reps per set.

Sets will depend on your training structure, recovery, and fatigue levels, but 3 – 4 sets per exercise should be a good starting point.

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Advanced Dumbbell Leg Workout Intensity Technique 

If you want to up the training ante and increase the intensity, try Rep Targeting on your next workout. For this muscle-building technique, you simply set a rep target and obtain that repetition goal no matter how many sets it takes to achieve. Remember, with the above exercises, you’ll repeat the movement on both sides.


• Our target is 50 repetitions with a weight that may allow you 15 reps to failure. On set one, you achieved 15 reps.

• Rest up to 30 seconds

• You perform 10 more reps to failure

• Rest up to 30 seconds

• Achieve 8 reps to failure

• Rest up to 30 seconds

• Complete 7 reps to failure

• Rest up 30 seconds

• Perform 5 repetitions to failure

• Rest 30 seconds

• Perform 5 reps to failure

• Complete!

Don’t just read this article, put thought into action and attempt the above exercises on your next Dumbbell Leg Workout. Try not to swap exercises around but instead use these three exercises once per week for four weeks and see how your legs react to the stimulus.

Remember that battles are won within – so give everything and leave nothing.

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