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Strength training: 3 leg exercises to build lower body strength

Posted by for Strong Women

Working on rebuilding your leg muscles after a year of sitting down and minimal steps? Add these lower body strength training exercises to your at-home or gym workout routine for maximum burn. 

Once upon a time, we were smashing our leg day PBs and it felt pretty easy to hit 10,000 steps in a day. But after over a year of lockdowns and a lot of sitting down, our leg muscles aren’t quite what they once were. 

But these three exercises are the ultimate antidote - and will have your lower body burning in no time. This quick 10-minute workout strengthens all the leg muscles and can be followed at home, or the gym

BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT

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Make your strength training more challenging by lowering down slowly into the split squat.

You’ll need a bench or chair to prop your leg on. 

  1. Grab your dumbbells in each hand and keep your arms down by your side. 
  2. With your back towards the chair, place one foot in front of you and the toes of your opposite foot resting on top of the chair. 
  3. Lower down into a one-legged lunge. 
  4. Your shins should be relatively upright and the knee should not reach too far over the toes. 
  5. Drive through your front foot to return to standing position. 
  6. You can make this move more challenging by lowering down slowly. 


Do 10 reps each side

SINGLE-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

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Single leg Romanian deadlifts make a great addition to your strength training routine.
  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand (or using whatever you have at home), stand with a slight bend in the knees. 
  2. Keeping your back straight, place your right foot behind you and raise your opposite foot off the floor. 
  3. Hinging forward at the hips, lower the weights down slowly, until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your standing leg’s thigh. 
  4. The weight should come down to just below the knees. 
  5. Push your hips forward and use your hamstrings to pull back up to standing position. 


Do 10 reps each side

SHINBOX WITH HIP EXTENSION

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Remember to engage your core in this strength training move.
  1. Sitting on the floor, place the soles of your feet on the ground in front of you (feet slightly wider than hip-width apart). 
  2. While holding your kettlebell up to your chest (elbows resting on the inside of your thighs), slowly lower both knees toward the ground to one side (keeping your spine as straight as possible). 
  3. Engage your core and tuck the hips under to raise yourself up onto both knees. 
  4. Sit back down and repeat the same on the opposite side. 


Do 20 reps (alternating on each side). Complete 3 rounds of entire set.

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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