Dumbbell Leg Workout (Only 10 Minutes!)

You don’t have to move for 60 minutes or more to reap the blood sugar-stabilizing benefits of exercise.

Woman squatting low and holding a dumbbell

To bust an old fitness myth: You don't have to move for 60 minutes or more to reap the blood sugar-stabilizing benefits of exercise. In fact, just 10 minutes of moderate-to-intense effort may be all you need to stabilize glucose after eating and—bonus!—keep it more stable in the 24 hours following. Our 10-minute dumbbell leg workout provides a short but spicy way to build lower body strength, encourage stable glucose, and burn fat.

Resistance training, aka weight lifting or strength training, may give you a leg up when it comes to fat burning. One study compared the irisin response (irisin is a hormone that's released from the muscles after exercise that encourages the burning of stored fat in the adipose tissue) after three exercise tests. The study found a significantly higher irisin response after resistance training<sup>1</sup> compared to endurance exercise alone or a combo of 30 minutes of resistance exercise followed by 30 minutes of endurance work.

Related: How to Exercise to Lower Blood Sugar Quickly

Another study on obese women found that a single bout of moderate and/or high-intensity exercise in the afternoon increased plasma irisin levels above baseline during the workouts but, interestingly, irisin remained elevated for 2 hours following the moderate-intensity workout<sup>2</sup> and only 15 minutes following the high-intensity effort.

Translation: Don't skimp on strength work, particularly if you want to burn fat and build strength. Moderate-intensity resistance training could offer more post-workout fat burning. Oh... and don't skip leg day.

Dumbbell Leg Workout Video: 10x5x10

Burn some fat, get your heart rate up, get the blood flowing, stabilize your glucose after a meal... a quick but focused bout of dumbbell leg training builds strength in the major muscles of the lower body: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hips.

This dumbbell leg workout includes:

  • 10x5x10: 10 repetitions of five exercises for a total of 10 minutes
  • Kettlebell or dumbbell swings x10 reps
  • Sumo squat x10 reps
  • Alternating lunges x10 reps
  • Glute bridges x10 reps
  • Deadlifts x10 reps

Complete 10 repetitions of each exercise. Try to move to the exercise without resting until you complete all five exercises. If you need to rest between each exercise, shoot for 15–20 seconds of rest. When you finish all 10 reps of the five exercises, rest for 30–60 seconds before starting at the top (kettlebell or dumbbell swings). Keep going until you reach 10 minutes. You can also extend the length of the workout to 20 or 30 minutes, if desired, by completing the circuit multiple times.

To modify the workout, use lightweight dumbbells (from 5 to 10 pounds) or complete the exercises with your bodyweight only as resistance. Incorporate rest when you need it.

To intensify the workout, use heavy dumbbells or a kettlebell (from 15 to 80+ pounds) and remove or limit the rest periods to only 20–30 seconds between circuits.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0026049515001420
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5268488/
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About the Author

Sabrina Tillman Headshot
Sabrina has more than 20 years of experience writing, editing, and leading content teams in health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. She is the former managing editor at MyFitnessPal.
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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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