You Only Need One Dumbbell For Kelsey Wells’ Low-Impact, High-Reward Lower-Body Workout

Kelsey Wells
(Image credit: Sweat)

Kelsey Wells likes to keep things simple. This one-kit workout is one of the global fitness influencer and Sweat trainer’s favorite low-impact sessions for the home or gym when time is at a premium. 

It involves just four moves, split into two supersets, which makes this dumbbell workout a time-savvy training option that can easily be slipped into a busy week. 

If you’re a relative beginner, or work out at home and have yet to invest in a pair of dumbbells, you can perform the workout with just your bodyweight. But for maximum bang for your buck, grab a weight to really challenge and develop your glutes, quads and hamstrings. 

“Any time you incorporate external weight into your training, you are giving more potential for faster muscle growth because you are putting more stress on your muscles and tearing them down faster,” says Wells.

If “faster muscle growth” sounds like something you can get on board with, here’s how to take this session for a spin. Perform 12 goblet squats, then move straight into 12 straight-leg Romanian deadlifts. Give your legs a (much-needed) 60-second break and then go again, repeating this sequence until you’ve finished four supersets in total. 

Take a minute-long breather, then follow the same format with two new moves: 20 stationary lunges, or what we call split squats—10 on each leg—and 15 glute bridges. Once you’ve finished four rounds, you’re done. 

Can this session help you build strength? Yes. And muscle? Absolutely, as long as you’re lifting heavy enough to stress your muscles and increasing the challenge methodically over time (see: progressive overload), fueling your body adequately and getting enough rest. 

The benefits of this short, sharp circuit don’t end there. Including resistance training in your weekly workouts can also improve your co-ordination, body awareness and—counterintuitively, perhaps—even your flexibility.

That’s because strength training has been found to elicit the same improvements in range of motion as stretching, according to one systematic review published in the journal Healthcare in 2021.

Wells’ workout has the added perk of being low-impact too. “Low-impact weight training is easier on your joints, lowering your risk of injury,” says Wells. “Many people also find low-impact training more enjoyable and less daunting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier or lower in intensity. You can still get your heart rate up and work up a sweat doing low-impact exercises.”

We have plenty more leg workouts to add to your regime, such as Krissy Cela’s butt workout which targets your glutes, and this dumbbell leg workout which trains your muscular endurance.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.