Getting Smart With Dumbbells.

Lower Body:

Dumbbells aren’t just for arms. Here’s how hand-held weights can work your thighs, hamstrings, calves and buttocks.

Saunter over to the dumbbell rack, make sure you have a bench nearby and take the time to check yourself out in the mirror. By concentrating on smaller weights and better form you are about to workout and reduce your risk of injury.


It’s not a pretty name for an exercise which should lead to leggy perfection, but it does sums up the move so precisely that it would take a good marketing team to rename it.

Start with two dumbbells (you can go fairly heavy on this one), one in each hand, at your sides, your feet shoulder-width apart, knees very slightly bent. The point of dumbbell squats is not to imitate Russian weightlifters so keep the whole movement smooth and controlled. No bouncing. No grunting.

With your shoulders pulled back, bend your knees and ease your body down as if you were slipping into a comfy chair.

Don’t go so far down that either your knees move further forward, then your toes, or your bum is so low that your thighs dip down instead of being parallel to the floor. Go too low and you risk overextending and straining your muscles. Smoothly raise yourself back up to the start position.

Taking the lunge:


Start as with the squat, but this time take a long step forward so your front foot is now about a yard from your back one. Keeping your torso bolt upright, lower your body by bending your legs. Your front knee shouldn’t go past your toes (this is a sensible precaution for most exercises or stretches where you bend your knees). Even though you may feel a burning sensation down the length of your back leg it’s the muscles of the front thigh that should be doing the work as you now lift your body back up by straightening the front leg.

For a bit of variety, and to hit the calf muscles a little more, try to switch from forward lunges, where you step forwards with one leg before lunging, and backward lunges, where you, erm, step backwards with one leg before lunging.