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Sample Dumbbell Exercises: Lower Body

This is an excerpt from Dumbbell Training by Allen Hedrick.

Lower Body


People sometimes have a tendency to emphasize the upper body in strength training programs because they often equate being strong and powerful with having big arms or a big chest. In reality, however, most sports are lower-body dominant. That is, a strong and powerful lower body has much more to do with success in most sports than do big biceps. This chapter discusses a variety of strength and power training exercises for the lower body. The primary muscles in the lower body are the gluteals, hamstrings, adductors, and quadriceps.


Arc Lunge | Instructions

  1. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with the arms straight at the sides.
  2. Assume a shoulder-width stance.
  3. Imagine an arc on the floor in front of you. Each point of the arc is a stride length away from you.
  4. Divide the arc into sections based on the number of repetitions you will perform.
  5. The first repetition will be to the right end of the arc, and the last repetition will be to the left end of the arch. Each step is a progression across the arc, starting at the right end and ending at the left.
  6. Keeping the left leg straight, take a long lateral step to the right end of the arc.
  7. Once you plant your right foot, shift the hips back to achieve a full comfortable depth and range of motion.
  8. Keep the back arched and the head up.
  9. Return to a shoulder-width stance with one aggressive step.
  10. Alternate stepping with the right and left leg each repetition.
  11. The next step will start a gradual progression toward the other end of the arc. With each step you move closer to the center and then across to the opposite end of the arc.
  12. Continue until you have completed the required number of repetitions and have progressed from one end of the arc to the other.

Common Errors

  • Allowing the back to round rather than maintaining an arch in the back.
  • Failing to return to a shoulder-width stance before initiating the next step.
  • Failing to progress from one end of the arc to the other with each step.
  • Taking a step directly forward to the center of the arch instead taking every step at an angle.
  • Failing to move through a full range of motion with every lunge.

Learn more about Dumbbell Training.

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Articles and Links

Benefits of Training With Dumbbells
Training with dumbbells provides a variety of advantages. Some of the advantages are practical and some are physiological, but without a doubt, dumbbells will be a good addition to your training program.
Designing a Dumbbell Program
Designing effective resistance training programs is critical for achieving optimal results. You can use great technique and train with great intensity, but unless you follow a program that has been well thought out, you will never achieve the best results.
Sample Dumbbell Exercises: Split Alternating-Feet One-Arm Jerk
Instructions 1. Stand with the feet about shoulder-width apart and rest a dumbbell on the right shoulder. 2. Sit back until you are at the depth of a vertical-jump attempt. Keep the heels on the floor.
Sample Dumbbell Exercises: Total Body
Total-body exercises, those using the major muscles groups in both the lower and upper body, are the weightlifting movements, better known as Olympic lifts.

Featured Products

Dumbbell Training
Former U.S. Olympic strength and conditioning coach Allen Hedrick offers a comprehensive guide to training with dumbbells for strength and conditioning enthusiasts and athletes.
Dumbbell Training eBook
Former U.S. Olympic strength and conditioning coach Allen Hedrick offers a comprehensive guide to training with dumbbells for strength and conditioning enthusiasts and athletes.

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