How to Develop Leg Muscle Mass With Dumbbells

Dumbbell squats primarily workout your quadriceps.

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Exercising your legs not only strengthens your lower body, it also burns calories and helps prevent injury. Although there is other equipment to build leg muscles, dumbbells are small, compact and easy to carry for use in the gym or at home. Your major leg muscles are made up of the gluteus, quadriceps, hamstrings and the calves; a combination of dumbbell squats and dumbbell cleans can help develop these muscles -- particularly the quads with squats and the hamstrings with dumbbell cleans. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, these workouts can help you build the legs you desire.

Dumbbell Squats


Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold each dumbbell at your sides and have your palms face the side of your legs. Choose a set of weights that make it difficult to complete a set but not impossible.


Position your legs shoulder-width apart and keep your toes slightly pointed out.


Bend your knees, keeping your back straight and your face forward. Bend your hips and descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and inhale while you descend.


Return to your standing position and exhale. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions in three or four sets.

Dumbbell Clean


Start with a dumbbell in each hand with your feet shoulder-width apart.


Bend your hips and lower the dumbbells toward your ankles by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Tense your hips and knees for control as you descend to the sqaut position. Have your palms facing each other and your shoulders over the dumbbells. This is the starting position.


Aggressively jump upwards by extending your hips, knees and ankles, pulling the dumbbells off the floor. After fully extending your body, bend your arms guiding your dumbbells toward your shoulders. Bend your hips and knees back into the sqaut position to catch the dumbbells on your shoulders.


Extend your knees and hips with the dumbbell weights on your shoulders to a stand, then return to the starting position.


Perform five reps in one or two sets.

Things Needed

  • Dumbbells


  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before your leg exercises. Jog in place or use a treadmill to work up to 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Subtract your age from 220 to determine your estimated maximum heart rate.
  • Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets for intense workouts; this gives your muscles ample time to recover, while your heart is still pumping.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after workouts.