The Best Functional Dumbbell Leg Workout for Mass

Posted by Monica Bulnes on Oct 17th 2022

Male athlete performing an overhead squat with 2 YBells
Overhead squats are a great functional exercise that challenges your lower body and shoulder mobility.

Best Functional Bicep Dumbbell Workouts & Exercises For Mass

Strong legs are the key to enhancing athletic performance and maintaining fluidity throughout your everyday movements. Think about it – we use our legs every single day in so many different ways.

Not only that but exercising your legs produces cortisol, a hormone that helps your body fight stress. It also increases your fat metabolism – who wouldn’t want to reap these benefits?

Instead of going to the gym without a plan, we’ve put together six exercises we’d like to consider the best functional dumbbell leg workout for mass.

What Increases Leg Mass?

Exercises like squats, deadlifts, and leg presses are extremely popular because they help build leg mass. If you’re performing those exercises but still not seeing results, you could be missing a piece of the puzzle.

An important component of building mass in any part of the body is your rep range. A leg workout designed to build leg strength would require a low rep range (usually about 6 reps per set) because you should be lifting a heavier weight. When aiming for mass, however, lowering the weight enough to be able to perform 8 to 12 reps will create a larger muscle size.

For that reason, we recommend sticking with a weight that allows you to perform at least 8 reps, but no more than 12. Workouts for leg mass also require rest periods that are about 1 to 2 minutes long.

Warm-Up Exercises

Before performing these leg exercises with dumbbells, warming up is essential to increase body temperature and stimulate blood flow to the muscles. Follow the functional warm-up below to prepare your entire body for this functional dumbbell leg workout.

Perform each exercise for 1 minute.

  • Jumping jacks: Jump to spread your legs wide and bring your hands overhead.
  • Standing toe touch stretch: Bend at the hips and touch your toes with your fingertips to the point of mild discomfort.
  • Quad stretch: Grab your ankle behind you, bending one knee. Keep your knee pointing straight down.
  • Frog squats: Place your feet wider than your shoulders and turn them facing out, lowering into a deep squat. Push your elbows to the inside of your knees and touch your palms in a prayer position. Lift your hips up and drive your knees back using a hinge movement.
  • Arm stretches: Bring one arm across your chest in front of you and hold it with the other arm.

Functional Dumbbell Leg Workout for Mass

These leg exercises are specific to dumbbell use, but with a tool such as the YBell, you’re able to perform different variations of the exercise depending on how you hold the YBell to change the weight distribution.

A grip change is an equipment change for YBell, giving it the functionality to carry you through your dumbbell leg workouts while also acting as a kettlebell, double-grip medicine ball, and push-up stand for all of your other training needs.

Here are six of the best dumbbell leg exercises for mass that will also sculpt your arms and strengthening your core.

1. Dumbbell Hammer Curl Squat Press

The dumbbell hammer curl squat press is a highly functional dumbbell leg exercise that will target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, while also testing your upper body strength.

Recommended Sets: 3 to 4

Recommended Reps: 8 to 12

Equipment Used: YBells used as dumbbells

How To Perform:

  1. Hold a YBell in each hand by its center handle, using it as a dumbbell. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, rotate your wrists so that your palms face in towards your body. Curl the YBells up onto your shoulders while you simultaneously lower down into a squat.  
  2. Look for depth in your squat - your hips should be parallel to your knees.
  3. Straighten your legs by driving up through your heels, thrust your hips forward and extend your arms above your head at the same time.
  4. Bring the YBells down to your shoulders with elbows bent, and then bring them down to your sides. That’s one rep.

2. Dumbbell Squat Jump

The weighted squat jump will activate your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. The added jump will improve your power, balance, and agility which wouldn’t be put to the test in traditional dumbbell leg exercises.

Recommended Sets: 3 to 4

Recommended Reps: 8 to 12

Equipment Used: YBell used as a dumbbell

How To Perform:

Perform this functional dumbbell leg exercise using the following steps:

  1. Start with feet hip-width apart and hold one YBell at each side by its center handle.
  2. Squat down until your hips are just below knee height.
  3. As you stand up, thrust up through the hips and jump up off the ground, just enough to leave the ground before softly landing back down on the ground. That’s one rep.

Alternate Exercise: The medicine ball squat jump is another variation of this exercise. Hold one YBell as a medicine ball by gripping its outer handles. Keep your elbows bent and the YBell level with your chest. Perform the rest of the exercise exactly how you would for the dumbbell squat jump.

3. Bicep Curl Side Squat

The bicep curl side squat will give your legs a break – but not for long. This compound exercise will develop your intramuscular coordination while promoting overall strength. If your upper body is sore, you can perform a regular squat lunge and leave the bicep curls out.

Recommended Sets: 3 to 4

Recommended Reps: 8 to 12

Equipment Used: YBell used as a dumbbell

How To Perform:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold the YBells by their center handle, just like you would hold a set of dumbbells. Make sure the outer handle lays right on your wrist – this forms a top lock to increase wrist stability..
  2. With your elbows at your side and palms facing forward, raise your forearms, touching your weights to your shoulders in a controlled motion.
  3. Step wide to one side and sit back into a squat by bending your knees.
  4. Stand back up and bring your feet together while you lower your arms back down to your sides.
  5. Side squat in the other direction using all your lower body muscles and bring your feet back to the center. That’s one rep.

4. Single-Leg Deadlift

The best leg workout with dumbbells wouldn’t be complete without deadlifts! The dumbbell single-leg deadlift is a great exercise for targeting hamstrings and glutes while building stability and core strength. This exercise can be made a bit easier by keeping both feet on the ground. The leg that is instructed to rise up in the air behind you will stay planted at a 45-degree angle behind you, with your toe touching the ground.

Recommended Sets: 3 to 4

Recommended Reps: 8 to 12

Equipment Used: YBell used as a dumbbell

How To Perform:

  1. Hold the YBell in your right hand by its center handle. Hover your left foot slightly off the ground.
  2. With a flat back, lean your torso forward while you raise your left leg at the same time. Your left leg should form a straight line with your body and head.
  3. As the YBell lowers toward the ground, keep your left shoulder blade pulled down and back.
  4. With your back straight, come back to the upright position, letting the YBell bring you back up into your starting position. This motion should be slow and controlled by your core and hamstrings. This completes one rep.

5. Twist Curl Lunge Press

The twist curl lunge press not only works the glutes and hamstrings, but it also strengthens your back muscles.

Recommended Sets: 3 to 4

Recommended Reps: 8 to 12

Equipment Used: YBell used as a dumbbell

How To Perform: 

  1. Hold two YBells at eye level by their center handle with your palms facing in.
  2. Push one foot back into a reverse lunge stance and bend both knees until they each form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Come back up and step your foot forward again.
  4. Bring your feet together while you press the dumbbells overhead, rotating the YBells until your palms are facing out.
  5. Bring the YBells back to the starting position at eye level with your palms facing in, then turn your palms facing in towards the body as you bring the YBells down to your sides.
  6. Perform a curl, bringing the YBells up in a controlled motion.
  7. Step the other foot back into a reverse lunge. Bring the feet back together to repeat. That’s one rep.

6. Single-Leg Calf Raises

What’s a functional dumbbell leg workout without some calf exercises at the end to ensure a well-rounded physique? Single-leg calf raises target the calf muscles while also working the tibialis anterior – a muscle frequently forgotten about – that shapes and strengthens the area right next to the shins.

Recommended Sets: 3 to 4

Recommended Reps: 8 to 12

Equipment Used: YBell used as a dumbbell

How To Perform: 

  1. Hold the YBell with a center grip in your right hand. Stand up straight with your feet close together and arms by your side. Shift your weight onto your right foot and lift your left foot back and off the floor.
  2. Slowly raise your right heel off the ground, using the ball of your foot to press between the big toe and the second toe. Don’t let your weight roll out towards the little toe.
  3. Focus on your balance and hold at the top in this contracted position.
  4. Slowly lower your heel back to the ground. That’s one rep.

Get the Best Dumbbell Alternative for Your Home Gym at YBell Fitness!

The YBell is a unique training tool because of its 4-in-1 functionality. Gone are the days of lugging dumbbells, medicine balls, and barbells to the turf field for an outdoor training session.

We’re happy to banish the need for so much bulky equipment in your home.

The YBell combines a dumbbell, kettlebell, double grip medicine ball, and push-up stand in a single piece of equipment. By simply changing your grip when holding a YBell, the weight distribution unlocks unlimited functionality.

This multi-award-winning tool was designed by experts in fitness to be compact and easily transportable while still delivering high-intensity workouts.

Final Thoughts

If you’re interested in picking up a training tool you can use to work out at home or in any setting, the YBell can perform an unlimited amount of exercises with just one tool. Take the YBell quiz to see which YBell training tool is right for you! Shop YBell Fitness now.

Did you enjoy this workout? Check out these resources from YBell Fitness:

7 Most Effective Dumbbell Chest Exercises To Do At Home

Best Functional Dumbbell Exercises for Biceps

30 Exercises to Increase Your Mobility

FAQs About Dumbbell Leg Exercises & YBells

Can You Build Leg Mass With Dumbbells?

Absolutely – dumbbells are incredibly effective for building leg muscles. Dumbbell leg exercises can open you up to training a wide variety of muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Using dumbbell leg exercises for mass will require consistent work and progressive overload, just like any other training tool. Progressive overload is a gradual increase in stress on the muscle by lifting heavier weights.

Dumbbells are a great tool for this because they’re portable, easy to interchange, and versatile.

If you’re looking for even more versatility in your dumbbell leg workouts, the YBell is a dumbbell as well as three other training tools – a kettlebell, a double-grip medicine ball, and a push-up stand. Which YBell is best for your training needs?

Can You Build Leg Strength With Dumbbells Only?

Yes, it’s possible to build leg strength through dumbbell leg workouts only. In fact, free weight is one of the best ways to build overall strength. It could even spark new growth if you’re transitioning from using machines in the gym often. However, there are a few key components to growth beyond the best exercises for legs with dumbbells.

  1. Use progressive overload, which means increasing the weight on your dumbbells. This will ensure you don’t become stagnant in your training.
  2. Perform more reps and sets for each dumbbell leg exercise. Depending on your training style, this could mean 8 to 12 reps or 15 to 20 reps per set.
  3. You also have the option of adding more total exercises to each workout instead of raising your rep range. This will also help you see growth.

Regardless of the training style you pick, a higher-calorie diet is also an essential piece of the puzzle when performing dumbbell leg exercises. Make sure you’re consuming enough calories to help with muscle repair, shorter recovery times, and faster growth.

What Is the Best Leg Exercise for Mass?

The best leg exercise for mass can vary based on personal preference, but squats are very frequently regarded as the best leg exercise for mass. Squats will grow your glutes, which are essential for power, core stability, and forward propulsion when running, walking, and jumping. Performing squats regularly can also grow bigger and stronger quads, which is a four-part muscle group in the front of the leg.

Squats can be performed in many different ways when using the YBell, whether you’re holding them by their center handle as a dumbbell, their outer grip as a kettlebell or even in under grip as a double grip medicine balll.

How Can I Train My Legs With Dumbbells?

To gain mass with dumbbell leg workouts, aim for lower repetitions at a higher weight. It’s also important to occasionally train your legs with higher reps and a lower weight because this will increase muscle endurance, which is also essential for building strong legs over time.

When using dumbbells for leg exercises, you should aim to get as close as you can to failure so that your leg muscles are fully activated and engaged. Another tip is to make sure have a good mix of exercises in your arsenal so that you don’t target the same muscle groups over and over.

Are YBells a Good Dumbbell Alternative?

YBells are an amazing alternative to the dumbbell for a few reasons:

  1. The YBell offers various capabilities, including strength, hypertrophy, coordination and stabilization of the muscles, functional movement, rehabilitation, and even cardiovascular conditioning.
  2. The YBell offers the same even weight distribution as a dumbbell except it has an added top lock grip to shift focus to the upper part of the arms and stabilize your wrists when performing curls.
  3. The YBell also holds the power of a kettlebell. The benefits of either a dumbbell or a kettlebell are similar, but hoosing a tool like YBell unlocks both of these capabilities and more in just one training tool.

To learn more about the YBell and the different types of training tools offered, click here.


Monica Bulnes

Monica has written for countless health & wellness brands, beginning as Rutgers University's Health & Wellness writer while obtaining a business and research-based degree.

She then combined her in-depth research skills and business acumen to work with well-known corporate brands Panasonic, Sephora, and Questex Media.

Monica has been offering her services since December 2019, first working closely with beauty brands, and more recently entering the Health & Wellness arena to write for healthy lifestyle and personal care brands such as The Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Gyms, Saro de Rue, AIMTOM, Dermastart, Lilac St. and more.

When she's not writing, you can find Monica doing yoga, working out, or cooking a dairy-free recipe in her kitchen.