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4 dumbbell exercises for hamstrings to build more leg muscles



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Men’s Health / Eric Rosati

When working on building fat thighs, you need to do more than just simple squats or hip adductions (think of the hamstring master) to get real results. Your goal is to train more than one muscle in your thigh. So, you can do different exercises to get an effective workout. And because multiple muscles are involved, you should be doing more than just isolating movements. Sure, leg extensions can be great depending on your goals – but especially if you work out at home, there are probably better options.

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CSCS, Trainer Charlee Atkins, is aware of the misconceptions people have about working on their legs. “The muscles of the thigh: quads, hamstrings, and glutes,” she says. “Compound movements (exercises involving multiple joints and muscle groups) are always superior for fat loss and / or muscle building.”

If you want to add compound movements to your workout, you don’t have to jump to barbells right away. Especially if you work out at home, you can use other equipment like free weights, kettlebells, or whatever you have on hand to add a load. Atkins uses dumbbells with different handles for these four series of exercises. If you want to use other weights or just want to swap things out, check out these other ways you can hold them.

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Do each exercise for 8 to 12 repetitions on each side (for everything except good morning)

  • Split squat
  • Side squat
  • Good Morning
  • Rear raised (Bulgarian) split squat

    For a full thigh burst workout, do 3 to 4 sets of each exercise with 8 to 12 repetitions per side. Also, forget about the hip adductors to fully hit the muscle group – include some of these movements to help maintain balance.

    Want to learn more about Atkins? Check out our series of Try Her Move training tips. You can also take on her new 30 day challenge on our Streaming All Out Studio app, check out her Le Sweat workout app, and follow her on Instagram to find out when she’s doing live workouts from her living room.

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