More and more people are opting out of going for a workout at the gym and are instead picking up some weights for what was once a home office or a spare bedroom that has been turned into a home gym. You don't need a ton of machines or equipment to get a good workout. You just need to modify the exercises your used to doing on those machines using a few dumbbells and barbells.
A leg routine at home with limited weights can be tough but it can be done. If you have a few different dumbbells or dumbbells where you can change the weight with plates and spin locks, you can achieve some great gains. It is still recommended to do the same basic leg exercises you would do in the gym like squats, lunges and deadlifts, but with the slight difference of using dumbbells rather than barbells.
As with most exercises when trying to develop definition, do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps each. The only difference will be for dead lifts and hamstring curls where you will do 10-12 reps.
Leg Routine Part 1 - Squats
There are three different squat forms that work well. Regular dumbbell squats are done with the weights held in each hand at your sides as you go down to a 90 degree angle in your legs. The Bulgarian split squat is a one-legged squat done with your back leg placed on a bench as you squat with the front leg only. Goblet squats are basically the same except for the position of the weight. Hold a dumbbell in front of your upper chest with both hands when doing the squat.
Leg Routine Part 2 - Lunges
There are four versions of lunges. Regular lunges are done by holding the dumbbells at your sides and feet shoulder width apart. Take a step forward and lower your back leg until your front knee approaches 90 degrees and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Lift back into your original position. Reverse lunges are done by moving in the opposite direction. Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, palms facing you. Place one foot back and lower your body until both knees form a 90 degree angle. Pause and push yourself upright.
Stationary Lunges are done the same way as reverse lunges except your feet do not move from their positions. Keep one foot in front and one behind you and lower yourself as before. Do all reps for one leg before switching positions.
Side Lunges follow the same procedure as a regular lunge but the foot placement when stepping will be to the side instead of to the front.
Leg Routine Part 3 - Dead Lift
With using dumbbells, stiff legged dead lifts are the best option. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and perform a regular dead lift with your legs kept straight throughout the movement - trying not to bend at the knees. You should feel this in the hamstrings and glutes.
Leg Routine Part 4 - Calf Raise
Do a basic calf raise while holding dumbbells at your sides and standing on the edge of a stairs or a 2 x 4. Do them with both legs at once or one leg at a time. The other variation is to do them while sitting and place a dumbbell on your knee using a 2 x 4 to place your toes on.
Perform two sets of squats, one lunge, one dead lift, and one calf raise exercise. Add to these the following two leg routine exercises:
1. Step-up: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step up onto a low bench or stairs using the same leg for all 8-12 reps before switching legs.
2. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl: Lie facing down on a bench or other raised flat surface with a dumbbell held between your feet. Raise the weight to your butt and slowly lower to the starting position.
Try different combinations each time you perform this leg workout. Try once with regular squats and next time try with goblet squats. Mix it up to keep your muscles guessing and get the best gains from this dumbbell only leg workout.