Home dumbbell workout

I bought some more hex dumbbells and started doing my leg workout at home tonight (been doing upper body at home for a while now). I've never done dumbbell squats before, and they just didn't feel like they were working even close to the way back squats or even presses/extensions do.

The highest dumbbells I've got are 40s ... I know it isn't much but I'm still a beginner, and 80 lbs on a barbell back squat would be more than enough me for 12 reps ass-to-heels. But with the dumbbells, it feels like the main thing getting the workout is my grip.

Any idea what I might be doing wrong to account for the discrepancy, or are dumbbell squats just not as effective an exercise? When I do, say, the shootfighters in Scrapper's stuff, my legs feel like noodles afterwards, but I'm barely feeling the dumbbell stuff at all.

Would dumbbell step-ups be a good substitute for squats, and if so, how high up should I be stepping?

Thanks in advance.

Did you see the photos I had of Egan doing some dumbbell stuff? Egan Training PicsSCRAP

First of all, you can squat more than 80 pounds.

Second, what are you trying to do?

Third, try split squats. Set up in a lunge-type position, but elevate the rear leg by putting your foot up on a bench or something. Hold the DBs at your side and squat.

Hey Ryno do you feel that split squats work more muscle groups then lunges, I know both movements are very close. I'm thinking about split squats because usually when I do squats, I do lunges right after.

So driver if I hijacked your thread.

Probably not many.. but if you've been doing lunges for a while, try Split Squats. They're awesome.. one of my favorites.

Doing split squats with your working leg on a dyna-disc or something similar is a great way to learn to recruit your VMO. Poliquin is big on this. Hell, even w/o the disc.. the VMO is very involved.

As far as differences between the two -- Lunges, both static and walking, can be performed in different planes.. so that will provide a different stimulus than split squats which are always in the sagittal plane. That, and a bigger ROM.

edit to fix

I should probally stick with lunges until I feel comfortabe then I'll move to split squats. TTT


"First of all, you can squat more than 80 pounds."
Probably. I do sets of 3x8-12. My problem is that right now I only have up to 40 lb dumbbells, so if there's some exercise I can do with 40 lb dumbbells that will tax my quads and my butt sufficiently, that would be optimal.

I have a gym membership until February, but I will probably let it lapse at that time so I can spend that money on home workout stuff. I'm more comfortable lifting at home because I don't like most people very much, and the less I'm around them, the better. Also, Morgantown winters are nasty sometimes, and the less I have to drive on unplowed 5:30 am roads to the gym, the better.

My wife has pretty much put her foot down on not spending any more money on weights for a while, so I would really like to find a way to work out at home with equal to/less than 40 lb dumbbells.

The worst case scenario will be that I'll go to the gym once per week until my membership runs out and do back squats on the rack there.

"Second, what are you trying to do?"
My primary goal is to get strong. My secondary goal is to lose fat, as I'm out of shape from a long layoff, but I figure if I add the muscle, train hard at BJJ and eat right, the fat part should take care of itself eventually. I would rather lose a moderate amount of bodyfat and gain muscle than to lose a lot of bodyfat and lose muscle as well. Since I'm a beginner, I don't think losing fat and gaining muscle are mutually exclusive at this point.

I understand your situation dude.. I just said you can squat more than 80lbs because you said "80 lbs on a barbell back squat would be more than enough me for 12 reps ass-to-heels."

If I were in your situation, I'd use circuits because theres not enough weight to do anything near maximal. Something like.--

A1.) DB Swings x15

A2.) Split Squat x 10 Each Leg

A3.) RDL (w/ DBs) or Poorman's GHR x 10-12

Maybe 4 sets one week, then 5, then 6.. Just an example.. you can try all kinds of stuff.

You're right about the fact that since you're a beginner, you're likely to lose fat and gain muscle. I'd think you could do it, but it sure is nice to have heavy shit around.. you can use those newbie gains for maximal strength too. If it weren't too much trouble, I'd try to get in the gym for some heavy squats or deads sometime.

Just keep that diet straight and you'll do well. Use your imagination and try to think of ways to use what you have at home to make shit harder.

I'm going to have to just suck it up and get to the gym for legs twice a week and keep doing upper body at home ... I really hate doing stuff half-assed and it's becoming evident that trying to build leg mass with 40 lb dumbbells is probably not the optimal use of my time and energy. I wouldn't learn BJJ off of just tapes, so I probably shouldn't try to build muscle mass with a subpar setup either.

Thanks for your help!