Build your legs in 20 minutes with one dumbbell and these three exercises

Don't skip leg day, squeeze in this session instead

woman doing goblet squat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re struggling to find the time (or energy) to squeeze in a leg workout during the run up to Christmas, rather than skipping it completely, do this lower body workout instead. Using just one dumbbell, it’ll target your quads, hamstrings and glutes hard and it will only take you around 20 minutes to complete.

Although it may be tempting to skip leg day (as it contains some of your most challenging compound lifts, like squats and Romanian deadlifts), it’s not something you should make a habit of. As well as helping to build an even physique, the largest muscles are located in your lower body, therefore the more muscles you work, the more you’ll develop. But, working your legs can also increase the release of human growth hormone and testosterone, both of which are important for repairing muscles and helping them grow.

Training. Sports Woman In Black Fashion Sportswear Doing Squats With Dumbbell, Fitness Workout. High Resolution

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Leg workout

This workout by fitness trainer Lumi Palevic consists of three exercises, but all of them will be done with either the front of your foot, or heel, elevated. At home you could do this with a two inch width book, or if you're at the gym you could use weight plates or squat wedge blocks. This will help activate your muscles more, as it helps to increase your range of motion. You'll do each exercise for 10 to 12 reps, back to back, followed by a 120 second rest. Repeat the workout four times. Here's your workout:

  • Heel elevated Romanian deadlifts
  • Heel elevated squats
  • Front foot elevated split squats (do 10 to 12 reps on both sides)

You don't have to use a dumbbell for this either, you could use a kettlebell, a large water bottle, or even a heavy resistance band - there's always an alternative. For more lower body workouts you can do at home, check out this four-move leg workout that you can do either with dumbbells or a barbell (if you're at the gym). No weights? Give this five-move bodyweight workout for your legs a go, shared by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. 

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.