A 20-Minute Workout to Sculpt Your Butt and Strengthen Your Legs With a Single Dumbbell

woman doing a single-dumbbell lunge in her living room
You'll feel the burn in your glutes, hamstrings, and quads with this 20-minute workout.
Image Credit: Vitalij Sova / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

If you want to test your true lower-body strength, try this single-dumbbell workout. Using one dumbbell allows you to target muscle imbalances and ensure you have even strength on both sides of the body.

This 20-minute workout builds up your glutes, hamstrings and quads. And by using one dumbbell, you also enlist your core to help you maintain stability; more stability means better balance and safer workouts.

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Choose your weight wisely and do 4 rounds of the 5 exercises below to get your butt and legs in gear. If you don't have a dumbbell, you can use a household object, such as a gallon of water or milk.

Move 1: Sumo Deadlift

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Sets 4
Reps 10
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part [ "Butt", "Legs" ]
  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart with your toes turned out and your knees slightly bent. Hold one end of the dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Keeping your back flat and slightly pinching your shoulder blades together, brace your core and send your hips back as you lower the weight toward the floor. Make sure to keep your chest up and your shoulders back.
  3. Drive through your heels to stand back up and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.

Tip

As you hinge your torso forward, push your hips behind you like you're tapping a wall. Lead with your chest on the way down and lower only as far as you can with your back flat. You can progress this move by using a heavier dumbbell.

Move 2: Suitcase Squat

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Sets 4
Reps 6
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part [ "Butt", "Legs" ]
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and hold the dumbbell with your right hand.
  2. Bracing your core and keeping your chest up, send your butt back and down, placing most of your weight in your heels.
  3. Continue to lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as low as you can comfortably go.
  4. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position and squeeze your glutes at the top of the move.
  5. Repeat for 6 reps and then switch sides.

Tip

While you are squatting with a dumbbell on one side, make sure you're activating your glutes on both sides and driving through both heels on the ground to stand back up.

Move 3: Goblet Lunge

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Sets 4
Reps 6
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part [ "Butt", "Legs" ]
  1. Stand with your feet in a split stance (about 2 to 3 feet apart), with your right foot in front and your left foot back, and hold one end of the dumbbell with both hands by your chest.
  2. Bend your knees until they form 90-degree angles, making sure your left hip is stacked above your left knee. Your left knee should lightly touch the ground.
  3. Drive through your right heel to stand.
  4. Repeat for 6 reps and then switch sides.

Tip

You can make your quads work extra hard by adding a tempo. Count to 5 on the way down and 1 on the way up.

Move 4: Glute Bridge

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Sets 4
Reps 12
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part [ "Butt", "Legs" ]
  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place the dumbbell across the front of your hips.
  3. Drive through your heels and lift your hips, squeezing your glutes at the top. You should form a diagonal line from your knees to your shoulders.
  4. Lower your butt back down to the starting position.

Tip

For an extra challenge, loop a resistance band just above your knees and place your feet on an elevated surface.

Move 5: Single-Leg Deadlift

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Sets 4
Reps 6
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part [ "Butt", "Legs" ]
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Keeping your back flat and slightly pinching your shoulder blades together, brace your core and hinge your torso forward, sending the right leg back behind you.
  3. As you hinge forward, keep your back straight and your right foot flexed while internally rotating your hips. Lower down until your torso is parallel to the ground.
  4. Drive through your left heel to return to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement
  5. Repeat for 6 reps and then switch sides.

Tip

If you have trouble balancing on one leg, stagger your free leg behind you like a kickstand and keep your foot on the floor.

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