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4 Beginner-Friendly Lower-Body Dumbbell Workouts

woman in pink sneakers doing weighted lunge
Having a go-to lower-body dumbbell workout is the perfect addition to any beginner routine. Here are four exercises that can help you enhance your overall strength and endurance.

by Lindsay Tigar

The muscles in your lower body help carry you through the day, and the power stemming from your legs (and core) can form the basis of a great exercise regimen. This is exactly why having a go-to lower-body dumbbell workout is the perfect addition to any beginner program.

Not sure exactly where to start? No worries! Prepare to enhance your overall strength and endurance with these four exercises.

1. Dumbbell Squats

Believe it or not, your squat form might improve when you perform the exercise with some weights. To give this movement a try, start by holding a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing in, toward your legs.

Separate your feet at a hip-width distance. Now, slowly lower yourself down until you're in a seated position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Repeat this movement for 10–12 reps.

2. Dumbbell Deadlifts

Another effective lower-body exercise that you can modify with dumbbells is the deadlift. Holding a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, hinge at your hips, bend your knees slightly, stick your butt out, and gradually move your upper body toward the floor without rounding out your lower back.

Once you're fully bent over and your arms are extended, the dumbbells should land just in front of your ankles — keep them as close to your body as possible without touching. Engage your core and begin to stand up. Maintain a straight back as you rise, fully extending your hips and knees. Once you've returned to a standing position, repeat the movement for 10–12 reps. As you build confidence, you can increase the weight of the dumbbells.

3. Reverse Dumbbell Lunges

When you're working your way through a lower-body dumbbell workout, consider adding in a few reverse lunges to fire up your glutes. Start without weights to get a feel for the exercise.

Instead of stepping forward into a lunge, take a step backward — about two feet away from your front foot. Next, lower your back knee to the floor,while bending your front knee to approximately 90 degrees. Engage your core muscles to keep your upper body upright. Return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side.

Once you feel comfortable with the movement, pick up a pair of dumbbells! Simply hold them with your arms by your sides with palms facing toward each other, then repeat the same movement for 8–10 reps on each side.

4. Dumbbell Calf Raises

This is a simple movement that targets your calf muscles. Holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, slowly rise onto your tiptoes. Hold the position for a moment and feel your calves engage, then return your heels to the ground and repeat for 5–10 reps. If you'd like an added challenge, you can start with a heavier weight.

With these four exercises, you can fire up your lower body the next time you hit the gym! As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.