Hi friend! How are you doing out there? I hope you had a great holiday weekend. Ours was pretty low-key, and I’ll be back to share some of the highlights on Friday.
Today we’re following up last week’s Upper Body Dumbbell Strength Workout with a lower body focus. I originally created this circuit for Healthy Lifestyle Bootcamp at the beginning of quarantine, and I wanted to share it with you after I revisited it a few weeks ago. I just love a workout that targets a specific area!
Since this circuit was filmed a while ago and shared in a private facebook group (free to join at any time!), I didn’t stop to take photos for exercise breakdowns along the way. So, the moves you see captured in this post are the clearest that I could get from the video, and they certainly aren’t the “best looking” moves that I would normally try to feature. Also, you’ll see me in socks versus shoes in a lot of my workouts captured inside of our apartment. I prefer to work out in shoes, but we have a no-shoe rule in our apartment to help keep it as clean as possible with a toddler running around. Just keeping it real, y’all.
Anywho. This circuit calls for a medium set of dumbbells. If you don’t have any weights around, get creative! Grab soup cans, water bottles, or whatever makes sense. Perform 10-12 reps of each exercise as a circuit 3x and then go for the bonus Tabata exercise at the end if you’re feeling good!
Pregnant ladies: I would recommend doing jumping jacks or modified jumping jacks (stepping right, together, left, together) instead of the plank jacks. Hold onto the wall with the calf raises. You can do the spiderman planks at an incline only (like on a bench), if you don’t feel pressure. You could choose a different exercise like side skaters. Everything else is good to go.
As always, make sure you’re cleared to start a new type of fitness routine if these are new exercises for you and please reach out to me if you have any questions at all!
I did not originally take photos to share with this workout, so bear with me on the images below that were taken from screenshots. Make sure to catch the video for more demos!
- plank jacks
Begin in plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists, your body in one straight line, and your feet together. Like the motion of a jumping jack, jump your legs wide and then back together. Jump as quickly as you want, but keep your pelvis steady and don’t let your booty rise toward the ceiling. Do a total of 24 jumping jacks.
You can complete this move from your forearms or in a straight arm plank. Modify by taking the jump out and stepping out one leg at a time in a right out, right back, left out, left back pattern.
- front squats
Rest a dumbbell on each shoulder with the dumbbell end pointing forward and feet hip width apart. Make sure to stand tall, drop your shoulders, and brace your abdominal muscles.
Perform a squat to where your thighs are parallel to the floor. Press into your heels to straighten your knees and hips and rise back up to standing position. Be sure to keep your back straight in neutral position.
Don’t round your back, look forward (instead of down), and keep the knees from going past the tips of the toes as much as possible. You can always modify this move by dropping the weights and performing air squats with your hands on your hips.
- hip abductions
Start by lying on your left side with your hips and shoulders squared off to the front. Place your right hand on your hip or in front of you holding your balance on the mat. Keep your bottom leg bent and on the floor while your top leg extends and straightens. This is your starting position.
Keeping your top leg straight, and foot flexed, make sure your ankle is in line with your hips and contract your glute to lift the leg. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds and return to your starting position. Avoid throwing your leg up and down, and concentrate on a slow and controlled movement engaged by your outer glutes. Complete 10-12 reps, then switch sides.
You can progress the movement by lifting the body off of the floor (seen in video) and then eventually get to a side plank with leg lift!
- dead lifts
Start in a standing position with your feet under your hips. Holding two dumbbells by your sides, keep your arms straight and your knees slightly bent.
Slowly hinge forward (bend at your hip joint – not your waist!) and lower the weights as far as you can without rounding or arching the back. Keep your shoulders pressed down and look forward, not directly at the ground.
As you lower, bring the dumbbells in front of your body and close to your legs. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight to pull yourself up quicker than you bent down. This is one rep.
- donkey kicks
Start on the floor on all fours with your knees under your hips and wrists under your shoulders. Lift your right knee off of the mat to a hover. Keep your knee at a 90-degree angle as you slowly raise your leg behind you until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Pulse your flexed foot toward the ceiling by squeezing your glutes.
Focus on engaging your glutes throughout the exercise and keeping your back neutral. You can add a light weight behind the moving knee for an extra challenge.
- lateral lunges
Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing in. Step out to the right and shift your body weight over your right leg, squatting to a 90-degree angle at the right knee. Try to sit down with your butt, keeping your back as upright as possible. Push off and bring your right leg back to center to complete one rep. Finish all reps on this side, and repeat on the left side.
You can modify this movement by placing your hands on your hips instead of holding dumbbells, and modify further by doing static side lunges.
- external calf raises
Position your feet hip-width apart, then externally rotate your thighs to turn your toes outward at about a 45-degree angle. Slowly raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes, then lower back down to the ground.
Take three slow counts to raise and lower your heels. Drop the weights and hold onto a wall for stability, if needed. If you have a steady balance, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- internal calf raises
This is the same exercise as above, except your feet are internally rotated with your toes together and heels apart.
Tabatas are 4-minute bouts of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises. I love to put them at the end of a workout for a bonus burst of cardio or burn out exercise.
You follow a :20 work, :10 rest pattern and do the same exercise 8 times in a row. See my Tabata Training Playlist for timed out songs to help you know when to start and stop!
- spiderman planks
Start in an elbow or full plank. Draw one knee to the outside shoulder. Return to plank and repeat while alternating sides. You could also do Wide Mountain Climbers here, whichever you prefer. See the video for the difference.
And there you have a lower body focused workout that you can do at home with a light and medium set of dumbbells.
I’m really starting to miss my precious time at the gym along with the equipment there. (Anyone else?) But, all we can do it take things one day at a time through this quarantine. And in the meantime, dumbbells and even your bodyweight can go a long way!
More LIL At-Home Dumbbell Workouts:
- Upper Body Dumbbell Strength Workout
- Back To Basics At-Home Dumbbell Strength Workout
- Advanced Total Body Dumbbell Workout
- Total Body At-Home Strength Workout
And more on the Fitness Page.
Please let me know if you decide to give this workout a try, and thank you for checking in on the blog today. I’ll see you back here at the end of the week!
Disclaimer: Although I am a certified personal trainer, I am not necessarily your personal trainer. The workouts I post are what work best for me, and might not be the right type of exercises for you. I always recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet and/or fitness routine.