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Workout With Alex Beattie | Dumbbell Only Leg Day

Whether you’re back at the gym or still working out at home there is always a way to train legs — it’s a sin if you even think about skipping a leg day. You might think that you can’t properly train legs at home. However, all you really need is a pair of dumbbells — even if they are ‘too light’.  

Alex Beattie has gifted us with this amazing workout for those looking to build impressive and defined leg muscles. It requires very little space and hardly any equipment whilst focusing on the core components of leg training — making it hurt. 

Alex’s Workout 

Forward lunges 

The forward lunge is the perfect leg exercise working the quads, calves and hamstrings all in one. Additionally, the forward lunge will incorporate the glutes as well. What’s not to like? 

How to: 

  1. Stand upright with dumbbells in each hand and your feet around hip-width apart. 
  2. Brace your core and take a step forward with your left foot. 
  3. Lower your body, keeping your chest proud, until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. 
  4. Pause in this position for a second. 
  5. Push back up off your front leg, driving through the heels and return to the starting position. This is one rep. 
  6. Repeat for the other leg. 

Recommended reps: 

4 sets of 10 reps on each leg. 

Front Rack Squat 

It’s impossible to have a leg day without a squat. Now the front rack position really helps creates a more stable base for lifting bigger weights in a regular back squat.  

How to: 

  1. Stand upright with the feet just wider than hip-width and hold the dumbbells by your side. 
  2. Curl the dumbbells up till they are resting on your shoulders. 
  3. Brace your core and start to lower your body by bending at the knees keeping the back straight. 
  4. Once you reach parallel to the ground pause for a second. 
  5. Drive back up through the heels until you return to the starting position. 

Recommended reps: 

5 sets of 8 reps, if you have heavier dumbbells. If you have lighter dumbbells aim for 4 sets of 12 reps. 

Dumbbell RDL 

This exercise is great for the posterior chain and because you are using dumbbells there can be more emphasis on hamstring development. 

How to: 

  1. Place your feet hip-width apart and have a slight bend in the knees. 
  2. Hold the dumbbells out in front of you with your palms facing you. 
  3. Keep your spine neutral (straight) and squeeze your shoulder blades together. 
  4. Start to lower your body, hinging at the hip, keeping the dumbbells in contact with your legs. 
  5. Keep going until you are in the middle of your shins.
  6. Keeping the spine neutral drive up through the heels to full extension and squeeze the glutes. 

Recommended reps: 

3 sets of 12 reps. 

Single leg glute bridge 

Focussing on the posterior chain and specifically the glutes which men tend to ignore for some unknown reason. However, having strong glutes can be essential in locking out a deadlift so get training them. 

How to: 

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent — sort of like a sit-up position 
  2. Place one leg out straight and lie the dumbbell across your pelvis. 
  3. Lift your hips off the ground until your hips and knees create a straight line. 
  4. Squeeze your glutes and pause for a second. 
  5. Repeat for the other leg. 

Recommend reps: 

3 sets of 8 reps on each glute. 

Glute Bridge 

Similar to before however now we are focussing on both glutes and adding in some more hamstring action. 

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent — sort of like a sit-up position 
  2. Lie the dumbbell across your pelvis. 
  3. Lift your hips off the ground until your hips and knees create a straight line. 
  4. Squeeze your glutes and pause for a second. 
  5. Repeat

 Recommended reps:

3 sets of 12 reps. 

Single leg calf raises 

There are two ways to do this find a ledge where you can balance on the edge off or place your dumbbells in a stable position and push off the handle as Alex does. 

How to: 

  1. Whilst balancing on a ledge or your dumbbell stand upright using the right leg to support and keeping the left foot halfway off the platform. 
  2. Push up through your toes with the left leg until you reach full extension. 
  3. Squeeze at the top and hold for a second. 
  4. Repeat for the other leg. 

Recommended reps: 

5 sets of 20 on each leg. 

Workout Finisher 

Wall squats 

The aim here is to finish off the legs — this is going to hurt but it is worth the pain. 

How to: 

  1. Stand against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.  
  2. Drop into a squat position keeping your back against the wall and your thighs parallel to the floor. 
  3. Hold for 30 seconds. 
  4. Repeat for 5 rounds. 

As you get stronger you might want to increase the time in the wall squat or increase the rounds in order to prevent any plateaus. 

Take-home Message 

The most valuable thing from this workout is being able to push through each exercise and feel the pain. Leg day isn’t all about barbell squats and leg presses sometimes it’s good to mix things up and try new exercises. Furthermore, it goes to show you don’t need a fancy squat rack to build those important leg muscles — you just need a tolerance for pain and some dumbbells. 



Isaac Syred

Isaac Syred

Writer and expert

Isaac is a brand communications apprentice with a passion for all things fitness. He has always had a passion for football, playing at a high youth level and enjoying 4 years of competitive kickboxing. Over recent years Isaac has dedicated himself to continually improving in the gym, enjoying both functional fitness and bodybuilding styles of workouts. He strongly believes that you should always have balance and likes to spend his time at the weekends socialising with his friends.


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