This Five-Move Workout Builds Stronger Legs Without Machines Or Barbells

Woman performs lunge movement with dumbbells next to rack of dumbbells in a gym
(Image credit: skynesher / Getty Images)

Going to the gym at peak times can be a nightmare, especially if everyone has scheduled leg day for the same time, with a high demand for barbells and weights machines. To avoid waiting in line for the squat rack you wanted to use, it pays to have a plan B.

This workout from Berenice Salazar, better known to her 380,000 Instagram followers as LadyFit, will help you to develop strong legs using only a pair of dumbbells and a gym ball—and it’ll enable you to tackle her challenging leg workout in a quiet corner of the gym.

Watch Salazar demonstrates each of the moves with the correct form in the Instagram Reel below.

There are five moves in this session and you’ll be completing four rounds of each at a rep range of 10-12, which is ideal for hypertrophy training. Pick a weight that feels manageable but challenging for this amount of reps, ensuring it’s not so heavy that your form is compromised. For example, if you’re unable to reach full depth during the squats, or you can’t maintain a neutral spine during the Romanian deadlifts, reduce the weight slightly.

The final two exercises use a gym ball and are programmed as a superset, meaning you’ll complete one set of 10 reps of the single-leg glute bridge immediately followed by one set of 10 reps of the gym ball hamstring curl. Repeat this sequence until all the reps are complete.

Supersets commonly keep the rest between exercises to a minimum, although Salazar doesn’t specify rest terms. Tailor the workout to your level. Shorter rest periods are, of course, harder, and you should aim to keep the rest periods consistent. 

If you can’t find a gym ball in the gym, or are at home with a solitary pair of dumbbells, try this dumbbell leg workout instead. Or if all the gym’s dumbbells are spoken for, try this gym ball workout.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.