Two dumbbells, four exercises to increase lower body strength and stability

Lower body strength is key for keeping our bodies balanced

Someone leaning down to pick a dumbbell up off of the floor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Training our lower body is important for many reasons, but it’s an area many of us skip or would happily forfeit for an upper body workout. Why? Because they’re often hard. But with fast and efficient lower body workouts like this one, you won’t have to. Although it will only take you 20 minutes to complete and most the exercises use one dumbbell (check our best dumbbell guide if you don’t have one) it’ll strengthen all the muscles in your lower body, as well as help improve your balance and stability. 

Just because lower body workouts may feel more tiring than an upper body session, this is no excuse to skip leg day, especially as it’s made up of some of the largest muscles in our body (such as the glutes). According to Healthline: "Strong leg muscles keep your body balanced, which isn’t possible if you focus solely on your upper body. You utilise lower-body strength to do all types of movements, including upper-body movements such as throwing, batting, or reaching overhead."

This workout has four different exercises, although the last one is a superset (but as that's two exercises performed back-to-back, so it's technically one). For each exercise you're going to do eight to 10 reps  (on both sides where applicable) and you're going to repeat the workout three times. Not all the exercises require two dumbbells (we've listed below which ones do/don't). Here's your workout:

  • Heel elevated squats (you can prop your heels up on two small books for this) 
  • Lateral lunges
  • Forward lunge taps 


  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift

If you don't own two dumbbells, don't worry, as you can still do all the moves with just one. Don't own any at all? You can always opt for a pair of kettlebells instead, a weight plate, weight vest or two large water bottles (keg water bottles are best for dumbbell alternatives, like the one in our best gym water bottle guide). Or you could even wear a rucksack filled with a few heavy items — as long as your body is encountering a decent amount of resistance, you'll build up its overall strength. 

Also, if you enjoyed this workout, why not give this five-move lower body resistance band workout a try, or if you need something that's a little more knee-friendly, here's a bodyweight leg workout.

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.