The BEST Dumbbell Exercises – LEGS EDITION!

JEFF: Today we continue our best dumbbell
exercise series. This time, bringing you the legs edition. Let’s get this out of the way right off the
bat. Your best exercise options, when it comes
to your legs, are likely going to involve a barbell. Squat and deadlifts, to name a few. However, that’s not the rule of the series. As we’ve continued from the very beginning,
there are some rules in place. I’ve got select dumbbell exercises, but I
request a favor in return. I need to at least be able to categorize them. Based on training goals, I need to be able
to slot in those exercise choices for strength, hypertrophy, power, a metabolic exercise,
a total body option, a corrective exercise option, and one of those miscellaneous that
doesn’t really fit into any of those other categories. So, what I’m going to do is break those down,
exercise by exercise and I’m going to- JESSE: Whoa. Whoa. JEFF: Can I get through a video without you? JESSE: Whoa. I think I should be taking care of this video
because, as we know, I’ve made some serious leg gains. JEFF: Okay. Freddy Mercury? JESSE: Thank you for the compliment on the
mustache, by the way. JEFF: It wasn’t a complement. I think I can handle this, as I always handle
my videos. But I wouldn’t call myself – why do you
think you can do this? JESSE: Because I think you should be calling
me the ‘King of Quads’. JEFF: The King of Quads? JESSE: The King of Quads. I think that’s a better nickname than Freddy
Mercury. JEFF: I don’t think it’s really King of
Quads. JESSE: You know, it looks more like the Queen
of Quads to me. JEFF: See? I agree. That’s a better name for you, actually. JESSE: I can’t win, can I? JEFF: NO, you can’t. All right, guys. We’re going to kick it off with our strength
exercise. I’m going to give you two because I want to
give you one anterior chain, knee dominant exercise and one posterior chain, hip dominant
exercise because it matters. JESSE: Whoa. Pardon me, pardon me. When you say, ‘posterior chain’, are we talking
about the glutes? Like a fat bottomed girl? Because, as we all know ‘Fat bottom girls,
you make the rockin’ world go ’round’. JEFF: Are we going to have to do this the
whole video? Guys, let’s start with the anterior chain,
knee dominant exercise. We’re talking about the reverse lunge. One of my favorite exercises you can do. I love unilateral training, but I also like
the fact that we can load this one a little bit heavier. You can use 100lb plus dumbbells if you want
and if you can manage them. The fact is, it’s how you perform the exercise
that matters. Here, for anterior chain, because we can sit
back and upright, we can really load up on the quads in a big way. Now, you can see when Jesse does this he’s
stepping, not just straight back because that would narrow his base of support and make
the exercise vulnerable to someone that has a weak balance. But we don’t need to do that. As he steps back you can also step a little
bit out to widen that base of support, widen his stance, and give himself the best opportunity
to continue to load the exercise for the purpose of building his strength. Now, if we switch over to the other side here,
we’re going to go posterior chain. My exercise for this is going to be the Romanian
deadlift. Again, what we do here is perform this in
the same way we would with a barbell. We let the dumbbells slide down and the main
focus here is allowing the hips to hinge backward. I’m not even caring where the dumbbells
go. Their travel should be straight up and down. The main thing you should be focused on is
the movement in the sagittal plane of the hips. Get them to creep back as far as your hamstring
length will allow you. When you get there, you initiate the return
by squeezing and driving with the glutes back up to the top. If you’re limited in the depth that you can
go because of the flexibility of your hamstrings, it shouldn’t compromise the fact that you
can still load them with as heavy dumbbells as you can possibly hold here, still getting
great benefits from the exercise. Moving on, we go to the hypertrophy exercise
selections. Once again, I’m going to give you two. One more for the anterior chain, one more
for the posterior chain. My anterior chain selection is always the
Bulgarian split squat. JESSE: I’m sorry, did you say, ‘Bohemian split
squat’? That’s a part of my favorite song “Bohemian
Rhapsody”. JEFF: I said we’re not doing this the whole
video. JESSE: Do you want me to leave? JEFF: I want you to leave. Desperately. JESSE: I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy. JEFF: The Bulgarian split squat is a great
exercise for the anterior chain. Why? We’re able to do it two ways. We can do it in a more anterior-dominant,
or posterior-dominant way, depending upon how we align our torso. Let’s check out the anterior chain first. If you’re going to load your quads and train
your quads here, your main focus should be keeping an upright torso, as much as possible. Chest out, shoulders back, drop straight down,
and load the quad. Now, what we can do, if we want to get more
out of this and make this even more of a hypertrophy overload, we can add in some intensity techniques
like the one-and-a-half technique, which is one of my favorites. You go down to the bottom, you go only halfway,
you have to go back to the bottom again, and then you return up. We can also change this exercise, like I said,
to become more posterior chain dominant. All that requires is a change in torso position. You can see Jesse leans his torso a little
more forward to lower that posterior chain. Nothing changes from this point on. As he goes down, the back-angle stays angled
forward. He drives up, and back. You’ll immediately be able to feel the difference
in the load shifting toward the glutes to perform the exercise. Again, the same techniques could still be
used here by prolonging the amount of tension we focus on those muscles to create more of
a hypertrophy benefit. Moving on now, we’re at the category of power. To choose an exercise properly here, you have
to have one that allows you to accelerate the weights that you’re moving. Power is going to rely on your ability to
move the weights you’re moving quickly. My favorite exercise here is the dumbbell
jump squat. This exercise is designed to not only become
more explosive but carries over well to some of the more explosive exercises, like the
hang-clean and power-clean. The key here is to choose a weight that’s
not too heavy, which will slow down your ability to perform this properly. I like to aim for a weight that’s combined
to be about 25% to 50% of your bodyweight. So, if you’re a 200lb person, you’re looking
at a combined weight of 50lbs. So 25lbs in each hand. Remember, you want to make sure you’re achieving
triple extension. Meaning, you want to extend through the ankles,
the knees, and then the hips in that sequence to allow the kinetic chain to pass that power
from the ground up, into this explosive jump. But it doesn’t just end there. You also have to make sure you can eccentrically
control the landing, reset, recoil, and prepare yourself for another high-quality repetition. It’s not about training to failure when you’re
training for power. It’s not about training to a certain level
of fatigue. What you’re trying to do is accumulate only
high quality, powerful repetitions in a defined period of time to maximize that speed output
and maximize your overall power generation. Moving on now, we have an option for a metabolic
overload. JESSE: Whoa! Whoa! JEFF: Knowing that we can- JESSE: I know this one! I know this one! We’re talking about bicycles, aren’t we? Riding a bicycle. Because I want to ride my bicycle. JEFF: I said no more Freddy Mercury. JESSE: No more? JEFF: No more Freddy Mercury. Please. JESSE: Do you really want me out? JEFF: I want you out. Bye. Bye. Bye. JESSE: Bicycle! Bicycle! I want to- JEFF: Okay. Thank you for hanging with me. We’re talking about something called ‘walk
the box’. This is a brutal, ball-buster. I’m going to call it what it is. I use this, as you can see here, when the
Usos and Seamus from the WWE came into the Xbox here to train. What we’re doing here is trying to build our
mental fortitude. We’re trying to get to that metabolic burn
and then figure out a way we can savor that and prolong that. It’s not easy, but it delivers different overload
benefits. So, what we do is get down in position with
two dumbbells in the front rack position, and we walk the box. You’re really just tracing a square around
a small area of the floor in front of you. We really focus on proper placement of the
hips. You don’t want your knees caving into internal
rotation of the hips. What you want to do is stay down at the bottom
of the squat, still maintain proper form, maintain good thoracic extension through your
upper back, and be able to walk around. It’s good because we’re getting three-dimensional
movement as well. But you’ll see you’re going to light your
legs up in ways you never have before. It’s whether or not you can withstand that,
and for how long, to see how much benefit you get from doing this. How much of the metabolic burn can you tolerate? I promise, give it a try. Maybe don’t try dumbbells if you can’t in
the beginning, just to get the form down. But add those dumbbells in. I promise you a real ball-buster. Next up, our total body option. What we can do here is utilize the dumbbells
in a very similar way to what we would do with the barbell. We can use a clean variation here. One of my favorite exercises, when we’re talking
about total body force generation is a squat clean. What we do is have a pair of dumbbells. And these can be pretty heavy. There’s no reason why you can’t load up 100lbs
here if you’re that strong. I guarantee you’re going to find that’s pretty
damn challenging. So, start lighter. The idea is that you clean them from the floor
and try to get them into that front rack position. One of the best things you can do to ensure
you do this properly is try to time your stomp with the catch of the dumbbells onto your
shoulders. The good thing is, if you catch the bottom
portion of the dumbbell on top of your shoulder, it’s going to get your elbows into that proper
front rack position. The key here, this is a great exercise. It builds the strength of the entire kinetic
chain, once again, and it gives us another option to utilize some dumbbells that could
still challenge us, regardless of the fact that we don’t have access to a barbell. The next exercise is tailor made for the use
of dumbbells. That is when we select our corrective exercise. When it comes to the lower body, one of the
most overlooked muscle complexes is going to be the adductor complex. Five muscles on the inside of your legs here
that are not only going to provide stability to your pelvis but assist you in getting out
of the hole at the bottom of a squat. Like some of our traditional barbell exercises. They work perfectly with the lighter weight
of a dumbbell. What we do is get one of our feet that we
can slide on a surface. I don’t care if you have a hardwood floor,
if you have a tile floor like this. You get into some socks, you put your one
foot on a stable surface and allow the sliding foot to drop down as you shift all your weight
to the other leg. When you get down there, how do you get out? The entire movement up is going to be generated
by allowing the stretch that was created on the adductors on that side to allow you to
come back to the top. By squeezing and shortening back up to the
top. You don’t realize that these muscles are
pretty damn weak. The purpose of the corrective exercise is
to allow us to attack that weakness with a very specific attack plan. I promise, you’re going to find this to be
an incredibly effective exercise at targeting weakness you maybe never knew you even had. We finish up here with our specialization
category, or our miscellaneous/potluck category, where we can apply other exercises that don’t
fit neatly into these other categories but are still very important. What I’m going to show you here is going to
allow you to target those hips once again, but instead of the inside out we’re going
to go from the outside in. We’re going to target the glute medias. A muscle just as overlooked and underworked
as the adductor complex. The best way to do this is with this offset
dumbbell lunge. What we do is load the dumbbell on one hand
and step out and lunge with the opposite leg. Of course, you’re going to work both sides
of this. The fact is, what we’re creating is this demand
on the glute medias to maintain a level torso and a level pelvis throughout the exercise. As the weight is places in this opposite hand
and I step out with the other leg, we have a tendency to have the weight pull on us in
that direction. Especially if we’re using something incredibly
heavy. To counteract that, we have to use the glute
medias on this side to pull us back, to get ourselves back up to level, or prevent us
from falling in that direction in the first place. That’s a tremendous exercise option to do
that. Again, you’re going to feel that burn in your
hip you probably haven’t felt before, but that’s a good thing because it’s exposing
a weakness you’ve already allowed to take place. There you have it, guys. The best of – wait. What are you doing here? I told you to leave. JESSE: Oh, you know. You can’t stop me now. Don’t stop me now! JEFF: Guys, back to the list here. Hopefully you find these dumbbell exercises
helpful. Again, it’s important to break down the exercises
that we select here because there are different types of training purposes in what you’re
trying to train for. Hopefully, these will fulfill those different
categories for you. If you’re looking for a step by step program
where we build out all our plans based on the science and selection of what we do – not
just in the exercises we choose, but how we lay them all out from day to day – you can
find them over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, if you haven’t already done
so, please- JESSE: Hey! Did you see Freddy Mercury here? JEFF: I did. JESSE: Did you get his autograph? JEFF: No, did you? JESSE: I didn’t see him. I saw him go out the door. JEFF: Oh. Yeah. No, I didn’t get it. JESSE: Oh. JEFF: I didn’t get it. Can you tell them to subscribe, at least? While you’re here. JESSE: Hey, guys. Don’t forget to subscribe and turn on your
notifications. It’s really important. JEFF: Okay. All right. Where can they find our programs? JESSE: ATHLEANX.com. JEFF: And what should they do? JESSE: Leave a comment and thumbs up below
and let us know what you want to see in the future. JEFF: He said it all, guys. All right, be back here again soon. See ya. Bye, Freddy. JESSE: Bye!

Joseph Wolf


  1. NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY – Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected WITHIN the first hour the video is published. So don't b*tch if you're not one of them 🙂 Just try next time. Click the link to see if you’ve won. Good luck! 

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

  2. Another wonderful training video. However, I don't really agree with jumping squats; Arthur Jones believed by research that such exercises could potentially cause injury.

  3. Hey Jeff. Do you have a corrective exercise for my twisted knee? My right toes and right knee cap are kinda pointing outwards, and I am having difficulty doing correct form with single leg exercises for the said leg. I, actually, am able to work it with both leg exercises like squats and leg extension as if the left good leg becomes my reference, but I'm running out of home weights and I'm interested with reverse lounges and that bulgarian squat. My leg extension machine just can't do single leg, it requires balance. And going to gym is a no-no… No gym for miles around where I live.

  4. 4×10 of each exercise here is a great workout jus did it my legs are on fire

  5. Hey Jeff I’m getting some asymmetries because my right ankle can’t break 90 degrees (been that way since birth, doctors don’t know why) so typical leg exercises are not very effective for me, especially in building my right calf. Any suggestions?

  6. Amazing exercises jeff but isn’t that one towards the end where you slide one leg out a good way to get a hernia/groin tear strain that looks uncomfortable

  7. Lmao why does Jesse look like Luigi during his goblin walk XD

    Guys I barely made it through the video with the dry comedy. I'm dying here.

  8. If he can jump that high with dumbbells, then without them he can fly like samurai jack, ”I jump good”

  9. Been following your channel for some time, you have to be one of the very best at your game, this DB Leg legs tutorial is just amazing!!! Thanks so very much Jeff

  10. what if i can go all the way down, just by hint back, is that bad for my back? – because the dumbells dont follow my body anymore ?

  11. Last time I checkt in Jeff got "only" 6 million subs , insane growth in subs and muscle

  12. Great exercises, but I would say for young bodies with some form of conditioning already in place. What about us older folks 60+ trying to accomplish these movements. I'm in fair shape but face reality, too. I'm a tough, strong, broken down ex-football player, with physical issues – pain.

  13. The “walking the box” exercise looks like some new hip-hop dance to me. def wen their hands r in the air walking backwards 😂😂😂.

  14. I don't know about "ball buster", but I think the worst part of leg day is an occasional urge to fart. Which doesn't work well when lunging or squatting.

  15. I work out a planet fitness so I needed this video they really need a squat rack

  16. DO NOT do 7:30 at your gym unless you want to be the star in a "gym fails" video!

  17. I absolutely love this channel and Jeff you are an absolute weapon. And ill add that these skits with Jessie are just pure cheesy and cringe at times. Much prefer them out and just you doing your thing. Just a thought.

  18. The funniest session you guys have done so far. I can see "Guns" and roses for the biceps, Aerosmith for the cardio, etc
    That walking square dance squat I call shitting around or dumping your load.

  19. I hate to ask this but do u think u can make another motivational video, please n thank u.

  20. I always enjoy your videos! I learned alot on your channel. Thank you much Jeff!!!

  21. Well presented. Thanks from a senior strength trainer who has to avoid barbell squats.

  22. Recently was doing reverse lunges and pulled a muscle near groin. It hurt to lift it up if it was lower than other leg sitting down. So for instance sitting on my bed left leg off bed and right leg on. Trying to lift left leg up and onto bed hurt on inside of leg near groin. What did I do wrong during the lunge and what muscle group needs help to strengthen that area. I love your skeleton with muscle group videos that actually show what muscles are working inside the body. Thanks Jeff! Awesome video hope to hear from you soon.

  23. Love the Dumbbells Videos. Will like to see one where we can mix all the videos in to a training regiment

  24. Sometimes I'm thinking Jeff is a stick in the mud then I remember he organises for Jesse to come in and probably writes his lines haha

  25. I had the weakest, most non existant legs ever to be seen. These exercises increased my balance, gave me muscle, gave me weight, gave me confidence, you have no idea how much I appreciate you Jeff. You guys are truly heroes.

  26. I mean….to be fair…Freddie Mercury did have some DAMN fine legs! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  27. This is my life saver, I go to planet fitness and been a little stressed that I don't use Barbell that much, and with these exercises with dumbbell I will crush it. Thanks Jeff!

  28. Me- freaking out because I only have dumbbells right now.


  29. I can't imagine doing that 'Walk the box' exercise at my local gym. They'd probably think I was mentally ill or something.

  30. Mama… Jeff killed a man,
    Want to workout on his legs
    Did some sets and now he's dead.

  31. I can't do barbell squats. Back issues. Dumbbells and body weight are all I can do…..

  32. Haha…. this video made me laugh a lot 😂😄😆 Jesse body is now so lean n toned with nice solid muscle 💪💪 Jeft is indeed a excellent Trainer !! 👍👍💪❤

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