7 Quad Exercises With Dumbbells

Everyone with the enthusiasm to better themselves wants to improve their body, mind, and willpower. Getting bigger quads is no exception…

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Everyone with the enthusiasm to better themselves wants to improve their body, mind, and willpower. Getting bigger quads is no exception, especially with people continually harping about “skipping leg day” and any other term for someone who favors one part of their body over another. Overall, you have to maintain balance to have a healthy physique.

Thankfully, with a simple pair of dumbbells, you can get your quads into fantastic shape and be ready to show them off whenever the opportunity strikes. That being said, what are some excellent quad exercises you can do with the dumbbells? We have found 7 of the best exercises to do, which are as follows:

  • Lunge pulses
  • Dumbbell squats
  • Dumbbell leg extension
  • Goblet squat
  • Dumbbell hack squats
  • Lateral lunges
  • Close-stance dumbbell front squat

In this article, Before diving deep into how to get bigger quads, it’s essential to know why they are important to work on and how you should improve them.

Why Are the Quads So Important?

First, quads do not refer to a singular muscle. It pertains directly to a muscle group. To be more precise, it contains four muscles, hence the name quad, as in four. 

These muscles are the rectus femorisvastus lateralisvastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. These four muscles make up your quads, and each contributes to your overall aesthetics, lower pushing power, and quality of life, contributing to your overall upper body mass by being able to sustain more weight.

Best Quad Exercises With Dumbbells

The best quad exercises are ones that beginners can utilize but still deliver phenomenal results with proper technique and form, even to those adept in physical fitness. Regardless of your starting point, here are the best exercises you can do using dumbbells.

1. Lunge Pulses

Lunge pulses are utilized heavily within the calisthenics community, but adding dumbbells to this exercise will take it to the next level. It gives you the obvious benefit of working out your quads but adds the additional boon of helping your glutes, groin, hamstrings, and calves. When doing them, remember to keep your shoulders rested and chest centered with your eyes fixated forward to maintain proper form.

2. Dumbbell Squats

Traditional dumbbell squats are done by keeping the dumbbells at your side with your feet at shoulder length apart and your toes facing forward. From here, you will keep your chest centered and your head up at all times to maintain balance.

Finally, you are going to want to keep your back straight. Then, you will slowly lower your torso by bending your knees. Make sure your knees are perpendicular to your toes if you use the proper form.

3. Dumbbell Leg Extension

Changing things slightly with a dumbbell exercise that relies on you sitting down, dumbbell leg extensions have you sitting on a bench with your back straight for good posture. Use a dumbbell clamped between your feet and start from a 90-degree bend between the upper and lower leg.

Afterward, lift your legs using those quads we are looking to engage, exhaling the whole time you do. Next, reach peak extension by taking a second to pause at the height of your lift, then proceed to inhale whilst lowering your legs.

4. Goblet Squat

To properly do a goblet squat, you will hold your dumbbell in the center with one end of it pointing at the floor and the other pointing at the roof, holding the upper portion of the dumbbell on either side as you would a goblet, with your fingers coming just over the top of the weight and the bottom portion resting in the heel of your hand.

When the dumbbell is elevated to your chest, you will double-check that your elbows are in the proper position with them tucked in and, most importantly, facing downwards. Improper technique can cause you to drop the dumbbell or injure yourself. You want to maintain a vertical torso and distance your feet roughly hip-width apart, and begin to lower yourself.

5. Dumbbell Hack Squats

A proper dumbbell hack squat relies extensively on a neutral grip with your heels slightly raised. This can be done with a small plate under each leg and standing up straight with your feet centered at shoulder-width.

Next, you will want to squat down while pushing your hips backward, bending your knees parallel to the floor. Finally, you will push from your heels upwards while extending your legs and then hips and complete the rep.

6. Lateral Lunges

Most people forget to do lateral lunges to fully engage their legs properly when utilizing lunges. Do not be like them, and use lateral lunges with dumbbells to maximize your quad gains.

You are going to start in a centered position with a dumbbell in each hand, utilizing a shoulder-width stance and entering a side step, maintaining your toes facing forward, straddling your bending leg with the dumbbells to keep yourself even, leaning into the lunge, keeping your back leg straight and then returning to an upright position.

7. Close-Stance Dumbbell Front Squat

The first thing you will want to do is position your legs in a narrow stance with your feet a few inches apart pointed out with your knees slightly bent. You will hold each end of your dumbbell with either hand and place it slightly beneath your chin, with your elbows tucked in and pointing downwards on each side.

Afterward, keep your neck neutral and back straight before descending into a squat by pushing your knees and bottom backward. While inhaling, you will continue downward until your knees are chest level, then work your way back up, exhaling until you are in the starting position.

Why Should You Use Dumbbells?

Using dumbbells in your quad exercises enhances the benefits you get from doing the exercises by providing additional weight and increased muscle growth and usage. This targets areas that wouldn’t be needed without the added weight or providing a better workout by engaging more muscle groups to maintain balance against the dumbbells’ weight.

Can You Grow Quads With Dumbbells?

You can grow your quads using dumbbells, and it’s imperative to understand there are even more exercises at your disposal than just the ones listed above. Do some research and find some that can either work better for you or engage muscle groups that you are either struggling with or can do more easily due to personal needs.

What Is the #1 Exercise for Quads?

The barbell back squat is ranked as the number one exercise for quads due to its innate flexibility in weight, allowing a gradual progression to occur with increased weights but not requiring you to change form often. It also allows you to get this scaling set safely, which is paramount when engaging in physical fitness.

Should Quads Be High or Low Reps?

The number of reps you should do should be based entirely on your end-game goal. If you attempt to get bigger quads and build some mass, you will want to do low reps with more weight.

Still, if you want more tone and endurance, you will want to do high reps with lower weight. Bear in mind, however, that everyone’s body responds differently, so you will need to do a little bit of experimentation to find out what will work best for you to achieve the desired results.


Skipping leg day is blasphemy, and quads are no exception to this. With so many exercises at your disposal using dumbbells and even those that don’t require them, you can easily have a good workout for your quads utilizing something that feels good for you (or hurts good for some of us).

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