Blog Fitness Workouts Leg Workouts Simple Leg Workouts At Home With Weights (Beginner-Friendly Guide)

Simple Leg Workouts At Home With Weights (Beginner-Friendly Guide)

Bodyweight workouts are great when you’re starting out—they’re simple and require no extra equipment. But after some time though, you might notice your progress stalling.

The concept of progressive overload dictates that to keep developing, your muscles need progressive stimulus . They will adapt to the demands you place on them – it’s all about upping the game to foster continuous growth (8).

Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t workout at home, and see impressive results.  In fact, with the right equipment and exercise selection, you can challenge your muscles and achieve great results, right from the comfort of your own home.

Here’s a simple guide to beginner-friendly leg workouts you can do at home, using just a pair of dumbbells to transform your strength training routine.

Can You Build Leg Muscle At Home?

You can build leg muscle at home; all you need is weights that provide enough resistance to stimulate muscle growth, adequate protein and carbohydrates to support muscle repair, and a solid workout routine (5). In fact, bodyweight exercises can also be effective in building leg muscle, but incorporating weights should take your progress to the next level.

The core principle of your leg workouts with weights at home for mass building is to progressively increase the workload over time. By doing so, you will continuously challenge your muscles and promote growth.

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You have a few options as far as resistance goes. You can use:


Dumbbells are the most preferable equipment for leg workouts with weights at home for a few reasons:

  • They’re relatively inexpensive.
  • They take up minimal space, compared to other larger equipment like barbells or weight machines.
  • They can be used for a variety of exercises to target different muscle groups in the legs.
  • They can allow for a greater range of motion compared to machines, which can help engage more muscle fibers for better overall growth.
See also
8 Basic Outer Thigh Exercises for a Perfectly Sculpted Physique

A leg workout with dumbbells and barbells or machines are not the same. Dumbbells require more control and balance, engaging your core and other supporting muscles, in addition to your legs.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are another great option for leg workouts at home with weights. These elastic bands come in different resistance levels so you can gradually increase the difficulty as your muscles get stronger (4). They are also lightweight and portable; perfect for home workouts or even when traveling.

You can incorporate resistance bands into your leg workout routine by using them for exercises such as squats, lunges, and glute bridges. They provide constant tension throughout the entire range of motion and are an effective tool for building muscle and strength.

Check out our blog; Resistance Bands Leg Workout for some sample exercises you can try with resistance bands.

Ankle Weights

Ankle weights strap onto your ankles, adding extra load to exercises like leg lifts, donkey kicks, and fire hydrants. They can also be used for cardio exercises like walking or jogging.

They are a useful option for your leg workout routine as they help target specific muscle groups, such as the glutes, and add an extra challenge to bodyweight exercises.

leg workouts at home with weights 

Is It Good To Put Weights on Your Legs?

Your focus should always be on maintaining proper form and gradually increasing the weight as your muscles get stronger, rather than using excessive weight all at once.

Adding weights to your legs can be beneficial for building muscle and strength, as long as you use them correctly and safely.

Read more: Thigh Workout Guide: 7 Effective Exercises for Building Leg Strength

Is It Ok to Walk With Ankle Weights?

Walking with ankle weights can be a great way to add resistance to your cardio workout and increase calorie burn. 

Make sure you start with lighter weights and gradually increase it as your muscles get used to the added load. 

See also
13 Squat Alternatives For When You Want To Switch Things Up

Note, be mindful of your form and focus more on proper technique rather than speed or distance.

How Can I Workout My Legs With Weights At Home?

Use these leg exercises with dumbbells for beginners as part of your at-home leg workout routine. This workout starts with compound exercises to target multiple muscle groups, followed by isolation exercises to focus on individual muscles.

1. Front Squat

The Front Squat is a quintessential compound leg exercise that targets the quadriceps predominantly while also engaging the glutes, hamstrings, and core for stabilization. 

By positioning weights in front of your body it places emphasis on the quads and encourages a straighter upright posture, which can help reduce the load placed on the  lower back  (2). 

It’s well suited for those looking to develop strong thighs and improve overall lower body strength. If you’re new to front squats, start with lighter weights to perfect your form before progressing.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands at chest level.
  2. Squat down by bending your knees and pushing your hips back as if sitting in a chair.
  3. Keep your chest upright and core engaged throughout the movement.
  4. Push through your whole foot to return to the starting position.

2. Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a powerful leg builder, intensifying the workout on one leg at a time. It engages major muscle groups like the quads and glutes, while recruiting the hamstrings and calves to a lesser extent. 

By creating a unilateral challenge, it causes imbalance that demands more from your core and stabilizing muscles. It’s effective  for athletes and gym-goers aiming to correct muscular imbalances as well as individuals wanting to enhance single-leg strength (5).

If you’re starting out, make sure to find your balance and establish coordination before adding heavy weights.

  1. Stand about two feet in front of a bench or stable surface, facing away.
  2. Place one foot on the bench behind you.
  3. Lower your hips until your front thigh is almost parallel to the ground, making sure your front knee tracks in line with your midfoot.
  4. Drive through the front heel to return to the starting position.
See also
The Best Exercise For Circulation In Legs - Quick At-Home Relief

3. Deadlift

The Deadlift is a comprehensive exercise that primarily works the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It engages not only these major muscles but also requires the engagement of core and forearm muscles to maintain a proper form. 

By lifting and lowering the weights it causes the muscles to adapt to tension, ensuring growth and strength gains. It’s suited for both beginners and advanced individuals seeking to improve overall body strength (3). 

If you’re new to deadlifts, focus on the hinge movement from your hips with a minimal knee bend to protect your back.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, and dumbbells in front of your thighs.
  2. Hinge at the hips and bend your knees slightly to lower the dumbbells along your legs.
  3. Keep your back flat, and core tight while you lower down.
  4. Use your glutes and hamstrings to return to standing, driving your hips forward.

4. Walking Lunges

Walking Lunges are a dynamic compound exercise that works several muscle groups simultaneously, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They also involve the core for balance and stability. By stepping forward and lunging it engages muscles through both concentric and eccentric motions. It’s suited for those aiming to improve functional lower body strength and mobility (1). If you’re just getting started, practice the lunging motion without weights first to establish your form.

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips to lower your back knee towards the ground.
  3. Make sure your front knee is aligned over your ankle and your toes point forward.
  4. Push through your front heel to stand up and step forward into a lunge with the opposite leg.

5. Stiff-Legged Deadlift

The Stiff-Legged Deadlift zeroes in on hamstring and glute development. It engages these major muscles intensely by requiring them to work hard during the hinging motion.

See also
Transform Your Workout with Wall Exercises for Legs

It’s suitable for individuals looking to target their posterior chain muscles specifically. If you’re new to the motion, strive for control over the range of motion rather than speed or heavy weights.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing your body.
  2. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward at the hips, lowering the dumbbells towards the ground, keeping them in contact with your legs or close to your body.
  3. Keep your back straight and core engaged, sliding the weights down as far as flexibility allows without rounding your back.
  4. Reverse the motion to come back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.

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6. Calf Raises

Calf Raises are an isolation exercise that targets the calf muscles, such as the gastrocnemius and soleus. By elevating the heels off the ground, it causes these muscles to contract and work against gravity.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Push through the balls of your feet to raise your heel as high as possible.
  3. Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower back down.
  4. Repeat the motion, keeping the core engaged and controlling the descent.

7. Single-Leg Deadlift

The Single-Leg Deadlift is an isolation exercise focusing on the hamstrings and glutes of the working leg, while also engaging core muscles for balance. By standing on one leg and hinging at the hip it causes the stabilizing muscles to work harder, promoting stability and unilateral strength. It’s suited for individuals hoping to enhance coordination and muscle symmetry.

  1. Stand on one leg, holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand.
  2. Hinging at the waist, lower the dumbbell towards the ground, extending your free leg behind you for balance.
  3. Keep a slight bend in the standing leg and maintain a straight back.
  4. Return to standing position by driving through your planted foot and focusing on using your hamstring and glutes to generate the required force.
See also
Half Squat Vs. Full Squat – What Should You Include In Your Workout Routine?

leg workouts at home with weights  

Are Leg Workouts At Home With Weights Worth It?

Leg workouts at home with weights are worth it because they help (9):

  • Build muscular strength and endurance in the lower body
  • Improve balance, coordination, and overall functional fitness
  • Allow for a variety of exercises to target different muscle groups
  • Can be done with minimal equipment using items such as dumbbells or resistance bands
  • Offer convenience and flexibility for those who prefer working out at home

Read more: Fire Up Your Muscles With Effective Resistance Bands Leg Workout

Can I Train My Legs At Home Without Equipment?

You can train legs at home without equipment by getting a solid calisthenics workout.

Calisthenics exercises are bodyweight exercises that use your own body weight as resistance to build strength and muscle. They require minimal equipment, if any at all, and can be done anywhere.

Some effective calisthenics leg exercises include:

  • Squats: bodyweight squats, jump squats, pistol squats
  • Lunges: walking lunges, reverse lunges, curtsy lunges
  • Glute bridges: single-leg bridges, elevated glute bridges
  • Calf raises: standing calf raises, single-leg calf raises
  • Step-ups: lateral step-ups, box jumps

In addition to these exercises, you can also incorporate plyometric movements such as burpees or mountain climbers to add a cardio element to your leg workout.

In our Calisthenics Leg Workout blog we discuss in more detail how beneficial leg exercises are for overall fitness, even if you’re a beginner who can’t lift heavy weights.

leg workouts at home with weights  


  • What Is a Good Leg Day Schedule?

A good leg day schedule is one that allows for proper rest and recovery while also challenging your muscles enough to promote growth and progress.

Here is a sample leg day schedule you can follow:

  • Warm-up: 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretches or light cardio
  • Compound exercises: 3 sets x 12 reps of squats, deadlifts, lunges
  • Isolation exercises: 3 sets x 12 reps of calf raises, hamstring curls, leg extensions
  • Finisher: 3 sets x 10-20 reps of jump squats or other plyometric movements
  • Cool-down: 5-10 minutes of static stretches
  • How Often Should I Do Leg Day?

You should have leg day at least once a week, but ideally, it would be twice a week to allow for more frequency and volume in your leg workouts. 

Splitting up your leg exercises into two separate days also allows for proper rest and recovery of specific muscle groups. For example, you can focus on compound movements such as squats and deadlifts on one day and isolation exercises like calf raises and hamstring curls on the other.

Don’t overtrain, if you feel that your muscles need more rest between leg workouts, adjust accordingly.  With that in mind, it is recommended to have at least one or two rest days in between leg day sessions.

  • Do Weights Slim Your Legs?

Using weights may not directly slim your legs, as spot reduction is not possible. However, incorporating weights into your leg workouts can help build muscle mass and strength in your lower body. This can lead to a more defined and toned appearance in the legs, which can eventually influence body composition and in turn, slimmer and more defined legs.

In addition, resistance training with weights can increase metabolism and aid in weight loss overall, which may also contribute to slimming down the legs.

Remember that diet and overall body fat percentage also play a significant role in achieving slimmer legs, so it’s important to maintain an appropriate calorie-deficit  while incorporating weights into your leg workouts.

  • How Heavy Should Ankle Weights Be?

Ankle weights should be chosen based on your fitness level and the exercise you plan to do with them.

As a general rule, beginners can start with 1-2 pounds per ankle, while more advanced individuals can use up to 5 pounds per ankle.

Never exceed 10 pounds per ankle, as this can put too much strain on your joints and increase the risk of injury.

It’s also important to gradually increase the weight as you progress to avoid overloading muscles and causing excessive soreness.

The Bottom Line

Leg workouts at home with weights are a great way to build lower body strength and improve functional fitness. They can be done dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands. A good leg day schedule should include a warm-up, compound exercises, isolation exercises, and a cool-down.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 11 Benefits of Doing Lunges Regularly (2022,
  2. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals (2009,
  3. Deadlifts – The many benefits (2019,
  4. Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis (2019,
  5. Muscle activity of Bulgarian squat. Effects of additional vibration, suspension and unstable surface (2019,
  6. Kettlebell Exercise as an Alternative to Improve Aerobic Power and Muscle Strength (2019,
  7. Muscle growth and exercise (1990,
  8. Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise (2010,
  9. What Are the Benefits of Leg Workout? (2022,
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