Best Dumbbell Workouts For Leg Growth & Functional Fitness

best dumbbell workouts

These best dumbbell workouts will boost leg growth and make your leg day absolutely worth it.

Leg day can be a dreaded day in the gym for some but these best dumbbell workouts can increase leg growth and aid in functional fitness. We all want those vanity muscles to pop but focusing on our legs has great benefits to our training and performance, as well as our physical health. When it comes down to it, adding dumbbells into your workout can greatly influence your gains and offer variety when it comes to keeping those workouts engaging without suffering from utter boredom. The right approach with the right exercise can seriously boost all your gains.

Let’s take a look at some of the best dumbbell workouts to boost leg growth and functional fitness as you seek the most out of leg day. While leg day can be a dreaded day at times, it is important and can work wonders for all your gains.

best dumbbell workouts

What Leg Muscles Should Get Worked?

Your lower half is comprised of quite a few muscles that need to see great work done. Each will allow for better stability and strength, while also aiding in power and explosivity depending on what workouts or functional movements you decide to perform.

  • Quads: One of the strongest muscles in the body, quads work for power and explosive movements while also stabilizing the knee and absorbing force.
  • Hamstrings: The large muscle in the back of your leg, these work to extend your hips and bend your knee. Strengthening these is key to avoid any injuries and unwanted pain.
  • Calves: Calves are used to extend your foot and offer support for walking, running, and other sport specific and functional movements.
  • Adductors: These are the inner thigh muscles and work to stabilize and balance your body as you move from side to side.
  • Abductors: These focus on stability with one leg movements and perform the opposite as the adductors, although are equally important.

Benefits Of Strong Legs

The benefit of having strong legs goes far beyond simply a larger lower half. Able to help with sport specific and functional movements, skipping leg day would be a huge disservice. Make the most out of leg day and really capitalize on the benefits of strong legs. Benefits include:

  • Increased strength and size: Work on nailing PRs and really lifting big weight with strong legs while also providing for more functional movements (1).
  • Power and explosive movements: These will aid in those powerful and explosive movements to keep performance high and you hitting those desired results.
  • Better balance and stability: With stronger legs, your balance and stability will be enhanced to keep you grounded and lifting heavier weight (2).
  • Increased core strength: Since your core is vital for many leg exercises, by keeping it constantly engaged you work to increase core strength (3).
  • Larger lower aesthetic: Strong legs can give your lower half a nice aesthetic that others will envy which lets them know you don’t skip leg day.

best dumbbell workouts

Best Dumbbell Exercises For Leg Growth

Goblet Squat

A great squat variation to use with dumbbells, this works all those muscles in your lower body and limits the need for a barbell. By mainly working your quads and glutes, it also requires good core engagement to aid in that increased core strength. This will also enhance the squatting movement as a whole.

Bulgarian Split Squat

This compound exercise is great for targeting similar muscles to the squat and can aid in muscle imbalances as well as hip mobility (4). A challenging exercise, it does offer variety and the chance to really give yourself a great challenge as you increase weight. Core engagement is also key with this exercise.

Walking Lunges

Walking lunges work all of those lower body muscles and require good form as you keep a tight core and neutral spine. This exercise is great for functional movements and increasing your range of motion, thus enhancing flexibility and improving your overall posture.

Dumbbell Swings

Dumbbell swings are performed in a similar manner as the kettlebell swings exercise with great benefits attached. This exercise can provide balance, build strength, and is an awesome conditioning exercise to get your heart rate going as you look to burn more calories.

Calf Raises

With many variations, the calf raise is great for increasing the size of your calves and is rather simple to perform. As an easy and low impact exercise, calf raises can provide for better stability and balance and decrease ankle and foot injuries (5). Staying controlled with this movement is key so as to not injure yourself or cause unwanted pain and strain.

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Featured Fixed Dumbbell & Adjustable Dumbbell

When it comes to your dumbbell needs, you have the option to use a fixed dumbbell or an adjustable one, depending on your goals and what you want to get out of them most. A fixed dumbbell can be great for it is comfortable and the grip is more than likely very secure, but you need many pairs of different weights for an effective workout. Adjustable dumbbells are perfect for saving time and money and can prove worthwhile for efficient and convenient workouts. While it is a preference, we wanted to share an option of each so you can better optimize your gains.

Best Fixed Dumbbells: papababe Dumbbells

papababe Dumbbells are perfect for free weight strength training. Made from solid cast iron with a rubber head, this ensures durability, longevity, and protection.

Check out our list of the Best Dumbbells for more great products!

Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells adjust from 5 to 52.5 lbs. and allow for quick switching. With 15 sets of weight in one, the unique dial system works perfectly for convenience.

Check out our list of the Best Adjustable Dumbbells for more great lifting equipment!

Wrap Up

The best dumbbell workouts for leg growth can greatly affect training and performance while giving you the edge for functional movements as well. By putting an emphasis on leg day, you give yourself the best chance at seeing growth and succeeding with your goals. Add these dumbbell workouts into your routine to see that lower half thrive. With the right approach and the right exercises, all of your goals are easily attainable.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Bean, J.; Leveille, S.; Kiely, D.; Bandinelli, S. (2003). “A Comparison of Leg Power and Leg Strength Within the InCHIANTI Study: Which Influences Mobility More?”. (source)
  2. Hasselgren, L.; Olsson, L.; Nyberg, L. (2011). “Is leg muscle strength correlated with functional balance and mobility among inpatients in geriatric rehabilitation?”. (source)
  3. Iacono, A.; Padulo, J.; Ayalon, M. (2016). “Core stability training on lower limb balance strength”. (source)
  4. Aguilera-Castells, J.; Busca, B.; Morales, J.; Solana-Tramunt, M.; et al. (2019). “Muscle activity of Bulgarian squat. Effects of additional vibration, suspension and unstable surface”. (source)
  5. Schaardenburgh, M.; Wohlwend, M.; Rognmo, O.; Mattsson, E. (2017). “Calf raise exercise increases walking performance in patients with intermittent claudication”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.