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Strengthen the Lower Body

Feb/22/2022 / by KT Hall
lower body
Image credits: Shutterstock

Are you looking for lower body strength exercises? Part of having a strong body is starting with a solid and firm foundation. While you might not realize it, lower body exercise should be a core part of any workout regimen. Not only are you able to build strength in your legs and thighs, but you can tone up your glutes, too, for a more fabulous physique.

Even if you’re not training your muscles like a professional bodybuilder, learning how to do a lower body workout can help you get fit and avoid injuries, so let’s do this!

Creating a Lower Body Workout

For an effective routine you can do anytime, choose a few of the exercises below to start with. Ensure that each workout targets your hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. However, don’t do the same exercises every day.

Your body will become accustomed to the weight and routine over time, so, like your music playlist, mix it up! Include lunges, hip hinges, squats, and clamshells when you do lower body exercises at home.

Additional lower body strength exercises to add include those that tone the hip adductors, abductors, and your calves. Exercising muscle groups equally can also prevent muscle imbalances and stress fractures. It can also keep you injury-free.

For recovery time, do split routines and work different groups of muscles on alternate days. For example, do upper body Monday (pushing patterns), Wednesday (pulling patterns) and Friday (pushing patterns). Work on your lower body on Tuesday (pulling patterns) and Thursday (pushing patterns). And, do combinations on Saturday and Sunday. But, what if you don’t have time? Aim for 3-4 workouts a week and target every muscle group.

Lower Body Exercises

We are going to dive right into the best lower body exercises that can help strengthen your core, give you that poppin’ booty, strong legs and more power. These exercises will also help to improve your neuromuscular coordination. Feel free to hop around to the exercises you want to start with first.

Are you a beginner? Click on the links below for the lower body workout video examples. You will find that the best lower body workouts can help build and tone your body in no time (get ready for your body transformation!). Note: Stretch before/after and drink plenty of water!

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Stand in front of a small, stable and put one foot behind you onto the bench.
  • Hold the dumbbells at your sides. As you keep your chest up and abs tight, lower your body until you become parallel with the floor.
  • Hold this pose and then get back into the starting position and do the other side.
  • Do equal sets/reps 10-15 times on both sides.

Clamshell Exercise

  • Lie on your side with your head resting on your arm and your feet together.
  • Bend your knees, engage your abs and spread your legs open 90-degrees.
  • Go as wide/high as you can while you keep your feet together. Hold this for 1-2 seconds as you squeeze your butt muscles. Then, bring your legs back together.
  • Do 10-reps total before switching to the other side.

Curtsy Lunge

  • With your feet hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell in front of you near your chest similar to a goblet squat.
  • Keep your upper body tall and straight and take a step back with your left leg placing it behind the right leg like you’re going to bow/curtsy.
  • Bring your hips down where your thigh is almost parallel with the ground. Your left knee should be about 1-2 inches above the ground.
  • Return to your standing position. Do 10-12 reps and then change sides.

Dumbbell Goblet Squats

  • Hold a dumbbell vertically like a champagne goblet (but don’t fill it up) in front of your chest with both hands cupped at the top of one weight.
  • Bend at the knees the same way you would with the dumbbell squat pose.
  • Pause and hold this pose (as you await the applause) and then stand up.
  • Do equal sets 10-15 times on both sides.

Dumbbell Squats

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold dumbbells in both hands at your sides.
  • While your back is flat and your chest stays up, push back with your hips and bend at the knees.
  • Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Hold that pose and then stand back up. Do equal sets 10-15 times on both sides.

Forward Lunge

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing in.
  • Keep your back, chest and head up and straight and take one step forward.
  • Bring your body down until your thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your back knee is at a 90-degree angle. It’s like bowling without the ball. Hold the pose and then stand back up.
  • Do this 10-times and then alternate legs.

Glute Bridges

  • Lie on the floor and keep your arms down at your sides. Bend at the knees and keep your feet flat on the ground (and try not to fall asleep).
  • Pull up from your stomach, tighten your butt muscles and push your hips up from your shoulders to your knees (stay straight, don’t arch).
  • Your head should stay centered while you look up at the ceiling (avoid turning as you have sensitive neck muscles).
  • Hold this pose, then lower and repeat 10-times.

Lateral/Side Lunges

  • With both your feet hip-width apart, hold dumbbells at your side and have your palms facing in.
  • While your right leg stays straight, step to the left and lunge with your left leg. As you do this bend, try to keep your chest and core up and your hips back.
  • Go down until your left thigh is parallel with the ground. Like you’re picking up roses thrown to you from the audience, “Aww, for me?”
  • Hold this pose, stand back up and do the other side. Do equal sets 10-times on both sides.

One Leg Hinge with a Band

  • Place a therapy band on your left foot and hold it with your right hand as you stand up. Your feet should be hip-width apart and knees bent slightly. You can also do this kneeling on the floor.
  • Engage your core and keep your back straightened as you lift your right leg up off the ground 5-6 inches and hoist it forward until your abs are almost parallel with the ground.
  • In this lowered stance, you can kick your right leg back. Bring your right hand down with the band and use your left hand to balance yourself.
  • Go back to the one-leg standing pose and do this move 10-times and then switch to the other side and do it 10-times. Feeling tight glutes? Stop and stretch.

Reverse Lunge

  • Similar to the forward lunge, this time you will take one step back. Keep your feet hip-width apart and hold dumbbells by your side palms in.
  • Keep that chest, back, head and core up and straight. Then, take a step back and lower your body. Your thigh should be parallel to the ground and your knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold this pose and push from your foot to get back up (or clean under the sofa or bed since you’re already down there).
  • Do this 10-times and then alternate legs.

Seated Calf Raise

  • Sitting on a chair or weight bench, put your feet flat out in front of you and hold heavy weights over your knees but not directly on your kneecaps.
  • Keep your upper body tall and lift from your heels as high as you can to stretch and strengthen your calf muscles. (Arrow up onto the link to see the example).
  • Bring your heels back down.
  • Repeat this 10-times. Then switch to the other side.

Seated Camel

  • Get in a kneeling position where your glutes are resting on your heels and your feet are on the floor.
  • Hold a heavy weight near your chest with both your hands.
  • With your shoulders straight back and your chest up and abs tight, squeeze your butt muscles and push your hips out to fully extend them as you shift your weight to your knees.
  • Push from your hips and lower yourself back to where your butt is on your heels again and repeat this 10-12 times.

Side Leg Lift with a Therapy Band

  • Lie on one side and put a therapy or resistance band around your ankles.
  • Lift your upper body on your forearm.
  • Then, with your legs straight and on top of each other (toes forward), lift your top leg and lower it.
  • Repeat this for 10-12 reps and then change sides. Stop and stretch if you need to.

Standing Calf Raises (on An Elevated Surface)

  • Stand with a dumbbell in one hand and put the ball of your left or right foot on an elevated surface like the base of a table or weight bench, something that’s about 3-5 inches off the floor.
  • Let the heel of your foot hang and keep your head high as you engage your core.
  • Raise your heel as high as you can and then lower it. You will feel a calf stretch. You don’t need to lift the weight with your arms, it’s just added resistance (like cheesecake and chips).
  • Do this 10-12 times and then alternate to the other foot.


  • Standing with dumbbells in your hands and your palms in, Put one foot on a bench so your thigh is at a 90-degree angle.
  • With your upper body tall and straight like the Statue of Liberty, push up from your calf until it’s straight, but keep the other foot elevated.
  • Hold that position and then get back into your starting position.
  • Do 10-12 reps before switching legs. Then applaud yourself for a job well done! Go, girl!

Like this story? Then you might enjoy checking out Health Is Where the Heart Is


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