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The Heavy Dumbbell Workout That Builds Strong, Sexy Legs

It can be tough to fit strength training into your workout plan if you're new to it or are unsure how to structure workouts for the best results. Enter, Tatiana Boncompagni and Heather Marr (aka the Model Trainer) who created the Model Trainer Method e-book to do exactly that: teach you how to strengthen and tone all over by pairing the right mix of strength training, cardio, and healthy eating to get your happiest and healthiest body ever. Just look at Boncompagni herself—she started out as a client of Harr (who mostly works with models like Caroline Brasch, Kate B., and Vita Sidorkina), and never looked back. Now, you can get her expertise just by downloading the e-book and overhauling your less-than-stellar workout routine to finally get out of your rut. We grabbed this dumbbell leg workout so you can get a taste—and get gorgeous, runway-worthy legs too. 

Want to know the hands-down coolest part of this book? Boncompagni and Marr didn't retouch any of their photos. That's right—real bodies. (Repeat after us: I #LoveMyShape.)

How it works: Warm up for 5-10 minutes of light cardio (slow jog, a fast walk or slow skipping, etc.). The moves are paired in supersets: Alternate sets of exercises 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6. Do 2 warm-up sets of your first superset—a high volume of repetitions (15 to 18) and lighter weights to get the muscles ready for the work ahead. Rest for one to two minutes after each superset.

Total Time: up to 45 minutes

You will need: Bench, Free weights

1. Goblet Squat Sumo Stance

A.

Start standing with feet in a wide stance (wider than shoulder width) with toes turned outward at an angle. Use both hands to hold a dumbbell at the base next to your chest.

B.

Lower your body, pushing hips back and keeping your back straight until thighs are parallel with the floor while breathing in. Pause and push through heels to lift your body back to starting position, breathing out.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

2. Forward Lunge

A.

Start standing with dumbbells in hands at your sides.

B.

Step forward with left foot and lower the right knee until it is nearly touching the ground, breathing in. (The working leg is the front leg.) Pushing through the heel of your left foot, return to starting position while breathing out. Repeat for the number of reps indicated before switching legs.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

3. Elevated Reverse Lunge

A.

Start standing on an adjustable step with risers, hands holding dumbbells at your sides.

B.

Step right foot back and lower the right knee until it almost touches the floor. Pause and push through the heel of your left foot to return to starting position while breathing out. (The leg on the bench is the working leg.) Repeat for the number of reps indicated and switch legs.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

4. Step Up

A.

Start standing in front of a box or bench with dumbbells in hands at sides and left foot resting flat on the top of the bench. Stand close to the bench with heel of left foot entirely on the bench.

B.

Pushing through the heel of the left foot, rise up so that both the left and right leg are straight. The right foot is hanging behind you and not resting on the bench. (The working leg is the leg on the bench.) Pause and lower back to starting position. Repeat on one leg for indicated number of reps and then switch legs.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

5. Stiff-Leg Deadlift

A.

Start standing with legs about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and dumbbells in hands, palms facing toward the body and arms extended in front of thighs.

B.

Breathing in, bend at waist keeping back straight and knees stable as you lower dumbbells over your legs toward your feet. Keep dumbbells very close to legs and continue to lower until you feel a stretch in hamstrings. Pause and lift dumbbells back to starting position, keeping back straight and pushing hips forward while breathing out.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

6. Elevated Curtsy Lunge

A.

Start standing on an adjustable step with risers, hands holding dumbbells at your sides.

B.

Step right foot back, crossing it slightly behind your left. Lower your right knee until it almost touches the floor, keeping shoulders facing forward. Pause and push through the heel of your left foot to return to starting position while breathing out. (The leg on the bench is the working leg.) That's one rep. Repeat for the number of reps indicated and switch legs.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

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