Leg Up Your Home Workout: 15 Leg Exercises, 3 Ways (2022)

When the gym’s not an option, don’t let lack of equipment or space deter you from getting a great leg workout. Keeping your leg muscles strong is key to getting from point A to point B and busting out those killer dance moves you’ve been showing off at Club Quarantine.

Leg Up Your Home Workout: 15 Leg Exercises, 3 Ways (1)Share on Pinterest

Whether you have a complete home gym, a few weights to play with, or just a room and an exercise mat, you can program your own “Leg Day: Home Edition.”

With the help of Mathew Forzaglia, an NYC-based fitness pro and the creator of Forzag Fitness, we’ve put together three leg workout plans you can do completely at home.

Throughout these routines you’ll find a few staple movements — including squats, deadlifts, and lunges — with variations. Forzaglia notes that these exercises target the major leg muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, and quads for a well-rounded leg workout.

Because we don’t move in just one direction, it’s important to train your muscles in more than one direction. Compound exercises work multiple muscles at the same time, which saves time and burns more calories.

By incorporating weights, resistance bands, and bodyweight moves, you can build strength and mobility to support your everyday movements (and your dance moves).

Forzaglia recommends doing a leg-focused routine two or three times per week to allow time for muscle recovery while continuing to build strength. You can adjust the number of reps and amount of weight used to fit your individual ability and fitness level.

Forzaglia calls this the “any object” leg workout because, well, you can use just about any object that adds weight without compromising your form.

If you have dumbbells or kettlebells, grab ’em. If not, grab some soup cans, a bottle of laundry detergent, or even a weighted backpack — get creative!

1. Goblet squat: 3 sets of 12 reps

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(Video) 15 MIN AT HOME LEG/BUTT/THIGH WORKOUT (No Equipment)

How-to: Holding the weight or object in front of your chest, stand with feet just outside hip width. Drive hips back and then down, as if sitting in a chair. Keep chest up and focus on your hips breaking below your knee crease. Push into heels, squeeze glutes (your booty!), and stand back up.

Muscles targeted: Quads and glutes

2. Pendulum lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg

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How-to: Hold the weight or object in front of your chest. Lunge forward with right leg, keeping left leg stationary until the reps are done.

Keeping your weight in your right heel, push out of heel to stand up and immediately step into a reverse lunge with right leg in the back. Complete all reps on one side before switching legs.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, and calves (plus the challenge of balance and core stabilization!)

3. Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets of 12 reps

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How-to: Standing tall with feet under hips, hold weights by your sides in both hands (or hold onto the handle of a broom or mop like a barbell).

Bend knees slightly, and then hinge at your hips. Keeping core engaged, drive hips back until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Squeeze glutes and return to standing.

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, glutes, core, and upper back

4. Step-ups: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg

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How-to: Find a stool, bench, or box you can step on (the first step of a staircase can work, too, but will be a little short).

Hold one weight at your chest and lift right foot, placing it on the box. Keeping chest up and right shin vertical, push into right heel and step up onto the box. Maintain control as you return to the starting position.

If you don’t have a box or other object to step onto: Start kneeling, step your right foot forward, and stand up. Then return to the kneeling position.

Muscles targeted: Glutes and hamstrings (Your calves, core and lower back muscles will also engage to keep proper form.)

5. Weighted hip bridges: 3 sets of 12 reps

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How-to: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips. Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or other item in front of your hips.

(Video) 15 Min Complete Home Leg Workout | Follow Along

Brace core, squeeze glutes, push into heels, and lift your hips until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a line. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, hip adductors, core, and obliques

For this workout you need nothing more than your own bod. Don’t sleep on bodyweight workouts — they can be just as effective at building muscle, strength, and endurance. Plus, they’re fantastic for mobility and stability.

1. Air squats or jump squats: 3 sets of 10 reps

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How-to: Stand with feet just outside hip width. Drive hips back and then down. Keep chest up and focus on your hips breaking below your knee crease. Push into heels to stand (or jump back up — jumping increases the intensity and the calorie burn).

Muscles targeted: Quads, hamstrings, lower back, and core

2. Hip bridges: 3 sets of 12 reps

How-to: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips.

Brace core, squeeze glutes, push into heels, and lift your hips until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a line. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, hip adductors, core, and obliques

3. Reverse lunges or jumping lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps

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How-to: Start standing. Step your left foot back into a lunge, keeping right foot flat, right shin vertical, and chest up. Step left foot forward and repeat on the right.

For a jumping lunge, explode up quickly from the bottom of the lunge, switching your feet in the air and controlling your landing. This more advanced jumping version adds a cardiovascular and stability challenge.

Muscles targeted: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, and hip stabilizing muscles

(Video) 20 Min Complete Home Leg Workout | Follow Along

4. Single-leg deadlifts: 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg

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How-to: Start with left foot planted on the floor. Hinging at your hips, with a slight bend in left knee, reach arms forward and push right foot back. Focus on keeping hips and shoulders in one line. Flex your back ankle and press your heel toward the wall behind you. Squeeze glutes and drive right leg forward to return to the starting position.

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, glutes, ankles, and core

5. Step-ups: 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg

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How-to: If you have a bench or box to step on, lift right foot and place it on the box. Keeping chest up and right shin vertical, push into right heel and step up onto the box. Maintain control as you return to the starting position.

If you don’t have a box or other object to step onto: Start kneeling, step your right foot forward, and stand up. Then return to the kneeling position.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core

For this workout you need only a resistance band. Working out with resistance bands can be particularly helpful if you’re a strength training newbie or if you’re recovering from an injury.

If you have multiple bands, feel free to play with the resistance. Depending on your strength and ability level, you may be able to handle extra resistance with certain movements.

1. Banded step-outs: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg

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How-to: Place the band right below your knees. Squat your hips back and keep chest up. Keeping feet outside your hips, step right foot out and then back in. Repeat on the left side.

Pro tip: A resistance band can be worn at the ankles at a lower resistance, but it should be above the ankle if it’s a higher resistance. Placing your resistance band around the ankles can increase knee strain and risk of injury.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, and quads

2. Banded air squats: 3 sets of 12 reps

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(Video) Get Strong Legs in 7 MIN | Killer HOME LEG WORKOUT (NO EQUIPMENT)

How-to: Place the band right above your knees. Stand with feet just outside hip width. Drive hips back and then down, as if sitting in a chair. Keep chest up and focus on your hips breaking below your knee crease. Push into heels, squeeze glutes, and stand back up.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hip abductors, and quads

3. Banded single-leg Romanian deadlift: 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg

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How-to: Start with left foot planted on the floor. Hold one end of the band in right hand and place the band under your left foot.

Hinging at your hips, with a slight bend in left knee, push right foot back. Focus on keeping hips and shoulders in line with back heel. Flex your back ankle and press your heel toward the wall behind you. Squeeze glutes and drive right leg forward to return to the starting position.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, and core

4. ISO banded hip bridge knee drive-out: 3 sets of 15 reps

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How-to: Place the band right above your knees. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips. Brace core, squeeze glutes, push into heels, and lift your hips until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a line.

At the top of the bridge, pulse your knees out and back in. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, hip adductors, core, and obliques

5. Touchdown jacks: 3 sets of 12 reps (alternating sides)

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How-to: Stand tall, with the band right below your knees. Drive knees out like you’re doing a jumping jack into a squat, placing feet outside hips. Push your hips back and touch the floor with left hand.

Jump your feet back in and repeat the movement, touching the floor with right hand. Repeat until reps are complete.

Muscles targeted: Core, glutes, and calves

The bottom line

(Video) 15 Minutes of Seated Leg Workout - Exercise from the Comfort of Home

Forzaglia recommends performing a leg routine for 4 to 6 weeks for maximum benefits and results. It’s important to keep adding challenging movements to continue building muscle.

Whether you’re using weighted objects, your body weight, or a resistance band, these exercise routines can help build strength and endurance in your legs. For optimal leg gains, try to incorporate all three types of training into your weekly routine.

It’s also helpful to check in with a certified fitness pro, especially if you’re new to the strength training game. This can help ensure you’re doing the best exercises for your body, ability level, and goals.

FAQs

How do you do a 5 10 15 workout? ›

Grab a stopwatch and perform 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 bodyweight squats, in that order, as fast as possible with good form. Repeat 5 times. This fast-paced drill will test your muscle strength and endurance, says Todd Durkin, C.S.C.S, trainer to many pro athletes like Drew Brees, Chris Young, and Mo Williams.

Is a 15 min leg workout enough? ›

Generally, it's recommended to train your legs three times a week, with each workout lasting 15 to 20 minutes and targeting different parts of the legs in each routine.

What are the 3 main leg muscles? ›

Three major muscles (actually, two muscles and one muscle group) comprise the anterior compartment of the thigh — the pectineus, sartorius, and quadriceps femoris. Additionally, the end of the iliopsoas muscle also passes through the anterior compartment.

What are the top 3 exercises for abs? ›

Opt for these five exercises to maximize your workout time instead:
  • The plank. Plank. ...
  • The bicycle crunch. Why: In the San Diego study, this exercise was the second highest in terms of strengthening the obliques in participants. ...
  • Side plank. ...
  • Vertical leg crunch. ...
  • Reverse crunch.
7 Jan 2020

What is the 15 15 15 exercise method? ›

The basic idea for this cardiovascular workout plan is to spend 15 minutes cycling on a stationary bike, then 15 minutes on an elliptical machine and finally 15 minutes jogging or running on a treadmill.

What is the 15 exercise? ›

The 15-15-15 method requires you to spend 15 minutes on one of the best exercise bikes, 15 minutes on an elliptical machine, and 15 minutes running (on one of the best treadmills or outdoors). If you have access to two, or all three machines, it's a great way to do 45 minutes of cardio without getting bored.

What is the easiest leg exercise? ›

5 easy exercises to sculpt your legs
  • Lunges. Lunges are great for working several different muscle groups at once. ...
  • Single leg glute bridge. Lie on a flat surface with your knees bent and both feet planted on the ground. ...
  • Low squat jumps. ...
  • Side lunges. ...
  • Sumo squats.
12 Jul 2016

How long should leg day last? ›

How long should your leg day exercise sessions last? Leg day exercise sessions will usually run you at least 20 minutes, and up to a full hour (even longer if you tack on a full body HIIT or cardio session).

Should I do leg day everyday? ›

The bottom line. Train your leg muscles along with your entire body regularly if you want to gain strength and improve overall fitness. It's okay to skip a day every so often, especially if you're sick or injured. If you feel stressed or guilty about missing a day, make a plan for how you will make up the lost time.

Why is leg day so hard? ›

Why is leg day so hard? Well, because the leg muscles are used every day to carry the weight of your body around, they're accustomed to taking a beating. That being the case, it requires a considerable amount of effort to make the legs grow.

What are 3 muscle exercises? ›

List of exercises that target certain muscle groups
  • bench press.
  • incline bench press.
  • decline bench press.
  • dumbbell bench press.
  • incline dumbbell bench press.
  • dumbbell fly.
  • seated machine press.
  • chest dip.
5 Jan 2021

What are the 3 biggest muscles? ›

While your body has more than 650 skeletal muscles, certain ones are larger and stronger than others.
  • Gluteus Maximus. What's the biggest muscle in the body? ...
  • Latissimus Dorsi. ...
  • Quadriceps.

What is a 3 joint muscle? ›

The biceps brachii works across three joints, and is able to generate movements in glenohumeral, elbow and radio-ulnar joints.

What is the number 1 best exercise for abs? ›

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the single most effective overall abs exercise you can do is the plank. Of all core exercises, the plank—largely because there is a hovering element—was best "maximizing functional gains and peak performance."

What is the number 1 way to get abs? ›

Doing targeted exercises like crunches is great for toning abdominal muscles, but losing both subcutaneous and visceral fat is the first step to unearthing your abs. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), you'll need to lower your body fat to about 14 to 20 percent for women and 6 to 13 percent for men.

Is 3 exercises enough for abs? ›

So how often should you train your abs? 2-3 exercises 2-3 times per week is plenty to maximize development without overdoing it. If you are already working out 3 times per week you can just tack 1-2 ab exercises on to the end of your workouts.

What does 3x 15 mean in workout? ›

For example, you do 12 squats and rest. Then you do another 12 squats, rest, and then another 12. You have now completed three sets of 12 reps. If you do three sets of 15 reps of biceps curls, you will perform 15 repetitions, rest, 15 repetitions, rest, and finish with 15 repetitions.

Why is exercise important to us 10 to 15 lines? ›

Exercise can increase your energy levels

Aerobic exercise boosts the cardiovascular system and improves lung health, which can significantly help with energy levels. As you move more, your heart pumps more blood, delivering more oxygen to your working muscles.

Is a 15 to 20 minute workout good? ›

Yes, 20 minutes of exercise is better than nothing. Any and every bout of physical activity/exercise contributes to a fitter, healthier - and, very likely, happier - you!

What is the 3 for 30 challenge? ›

So what are the rules? It's pretty simple, actually. Commit to running (or run/walking, walking) 3 miles a day for 30 days. The goal is not to go out there and run your fastest every day—but rather use the miles as a point of meditation.

What is the 3/7 training method? ›

A new method (3/7 method) consisting of five sets of an increasing number of repetitions (3 to 7) during successive sets and brief inter-set intervals (15 s) was repeated two times after 150 s of recovery and compared to a method consisting of eight sets of six repetitions with an inter-set interval of 150 s (8 × 6 ...

What is the 5x5 method? ›

As the name implies, a 5×5 workout usually involves 5 sets of 5 repetitions. The goal is to build strength in compound movements by adding weight every time you do the workout. You'll only do these workouts 3 times a week, as the rest days in between workouts are crucial to encouraging muscle growth.

What are 25 exercises? ›

25 Effective Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
  • Divebombers. Muscles worked: chest, shoulders, triceps, hamstrings, lower back. ...
  • Bear Crawls. Muscles worked: all of them (almost) ...
  • Table Rows. Muscles worked: back, biceps, abs. ...
  • Lunges. Muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings. ...
  • 1 Leg Wallsit. ...
  • Jumping Jacks. ...
  • Pull Ups. ...
  • Calf Raises.
20 Oct 2022

What are the 20 20 20 exercises? ›

The 20/20/20 class is designed to give you the ultimate challenge and total body workout. Sweat through 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training, and 20 minutes of stretching and core work.

What is the 21 exercise? ›

Most often applied to biceps curls, 21s combine full and partial reps in the same long (you guessed it) 21-rep set, which is typically split into three parts and performed without pausing to rest: The first 7 reps focus on the bottom of the movement, stopping when the elbow is bent 90 degrees.

How do you get nice legs? ›

10 exercises for toned legs
  1. Squats. The squat is one of the best exercises to tone legs. ...
  2. Lunges. Lunges work your thighs, butt, and abs. ...
  3. Plank leg lifts. Regular planks target the upper body, core, and hips. ...
  4. Single-leg deadlifts. ...
  5. Stability ball knee tucks. ...
  6. Step-ups. ...
  7. 7. Box jumps. ...
  8. Speedskater jumps.
30 Nov 2018

What is a good leg day? ›

Squats are the king of all leg exercises. They're the best movement for building big legs because they activate every muscle group in your legs. This compound movement will activate your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Performing squats will also help build a strong core, which is very beneficial.

How can I shape my legs fast? ›

Target your thighs all over by doing curtsy lunges, sumo squats, and goblet squats. Focus on your inner and outer thighs with lateral lunges and band leg side raises; and hit your hamstrings with deadlifts, reverse leg curls, and bridges with hamstring curls.

How do you build killer legs? ›

  1. Barbell Squat. (4 sets, 6-10 reps) Make a hip-width stance with your toes facing slightly outward. ...
  2. Hip Thrust. (4 sets of 8-12 reps) ...
  3. Weighted Walking Lunge. (3 sets 10-14 reps per side) ...
  4. Lying Leg Curls. (3 sets, 8-12 reps) ...
  5. Calf Raises. (4 sets, 15-20 reps)
16 Nov 2021

How can kids get strong legs? ›

Leg Exercises for Kids
  1. Duck Walk. Animal exercises are perfect for getting kids engaged in activities that strengthen their legs -- they might not even know they're exercising! ...
  2. Frog Jump. Another fun animal exercise, frog jumps build leg strength and agility. ...
  3. Jump Ups. ...
  4. Wall Sits. ...
  5. Tippy Toes. ...
  6. Side Shuffles.

Why are my legs so skinny? ›

The main reason that you may have skinny legs is your genetics. Everyone is predisposed to carry fat and muscle in different areas of the body. It's possible that your genetics make it difficult for you to grow big legs, even if you're able to easily build muscle in your upper body.

How can I train my legs everyday? ›

Squat every day

The squat serves as the foundation for all lower-body exercises. So if you want the best results, you need to spend time in a squat position daily. This doesn't mean you need to squat heavy or even underload every day.

What exercise makes your legs the strongest? ›

Squats — Squatting is one of the best resistance workouts you can do. This exercise works almost all of the muscles in the lower body and is a great way to build leg strength.

What exercises make legs stronger? ›

9 Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Legs
  • Alternating Knee Lifts. It's smart to start any strength training workout with an exercise that doubles as cardio and a muscle builder. ...
  • Squats. ...
  • Lunges. ...
  • Calf Raises. ...
  • Side Hip Raises. ...
  • Knee Extensions. ...
  • Knee Curls. ...
  • Leg Extensions.
21 May 2020

Is 2 leg days a week too much? ›

You need to stimulate the muscles to help them grow, but training them too much can be counterproductive, as that doesn't give them time to rest, repair and rebuild. Train your legs muscles at least twice per week but no more than four times weekly on non-consecutive days.

Is it OK to miss leg day? ›

It can be tempting to skip “leg day” when the results from your upper body and core workouts are more noticeable. But it's essential to work all muscle groups for your overall health and well-being, says Marquese Stallworth, EP-C, a Piedmont exercise physiologist.

Is 3 leg days too much? ›

Absolutely it is, as long as you're not legitimately destroying them every time you train them. I personally train legs 3–4 times a week doing full body workouts. Right now I'm doing mostly squats when I train legs, and just variations of squats. For example, back squats, front squats, cyclist squats, Anderson squats.

What does a bro split look like? ›

A “bro split” refers to any workout routine (or “split”) that trains different body parts (or muscle groups) on different days. For instance, training arms one day, chest another, shoulders another, and so on.

Is 1 leg day a week good? ›

According to science and the in-the-gym trenches experience of many experts, training legs once per week is not the best option for effective training for muscle growth. Your exercise routine should involve working your legs twice per week to provide adequate time for recovery and for the best muscle-building results.

Does leg day make you taller? ›

Leg day will help develop your muscles and keep you fit but it can't make your leg bones grow longer than what they are genetically programmed to do.

Why do I feel sleepy after leg day? ›

It's common to get tired after a long or tough workout. In general, this occurs because your muscles run out of energy. Your central nervous system also loses its ability to keep moving your muscles. This causes muscle fatigue, making you feel tired.

Why does no one like leg day? ›

Leg Workouts Make You Feel Ill

However this puts immense pressure on your body, particularly when you are doing squats, and so you can sometimes feel dizzy and sick if you really push yourself to the limit, which is obviously not a nice feeling, and is sometimes enough to put many people off leg workouts altogether.

Why do most people skip leg day? ›

Leg day is hard

This means leg workouts really get your heart-rate up and cause more work on your body than traditional upper-body workouts. For this reason, many people shy away from working their legs out and stick to exercises, especially upper body movements that they're more comfortable with.

What is the best workout for legs? ›

Best Leg Exercises
  • Back Squat.
  • Front Squat.
  • Bulgarian Split Squat.
  • Leg Press.
  • Hack Squat.
  • Romanian Deadlift.
  • Nordic Hamstring Curl.
  • Landmine Goblet Squat.

What exercises work entire legs? ›

Squats are the king of all leg exercises. They're the best movement for building big legs because they activate every muscle group in your legs. This compound movement will activate your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Performing squats will also help build a strong core, which is very beneficial.

What exercise works the entire leg? ›

Lunges work both your legs and your core muscles. They work your upper legs including the hamstrings, glutes (or butt muscles), hips, and quadriceps. If you have knee pain, you may want to avoid this exercise. Check with your doctor to make sure lunges are a good exercise for you.

Is 3 exercises enough for legs? ›

The ideal number of exercises per workout session is 3-4 exercises. If you select your exercises appropriately and train them with sufficient volume and intensity, this will be more than enough to make great progress.

Is 1 day leg day enough? ›

Is One Leg Day a Week Enough? You can still hit your legs once a week and make progress. Training them twice a week may well give you faster results, but one leg workout a week is still enough to make your quads and hamstrings bigger.

Should everyday be leg day? ›

The bottom line. Train your leg muscles along with your entire body regularly if you want to gain strength and improve overall fitness. It's okay to skip a day every so often, especially if you're sick or injured. If you feel stressed or guilty about missing a day, make a plan for how you will make up the lost time.

How can I grow my butt and legs? ›

Exercises and Strategies for a Bigger, Firmer Butt
  1. Glute bridge.
  2. Jumping squats.
  3. Walking lunge.
  4. Single-leg deadlift.
  5. Clamshell.
  6. Banded side step.
  7. Donkey kicks.
  8. Weight training.
2 Jul 2021

Videos

1. Killer Home Leg Workout (BODYWEIGHT or DB!)
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4. 15 MIN LEG WORKOUT - Thighs, Booty, Calves (No Equipment)
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5. The MOST EFFECTIVE BODYWEIGHT LEG WORKOUT | At HOME | No Equipment
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