Beginner Leg Day Workouts You Can Do at Home

They say you should never skip leg day. Though we're still trying to figure out who exactly "they" are, it's pretty good advice. Your lower body has some of your biggest and strongest muscles (lookin' at you, glutes), so it's important to include exercises that challenge them in your weekly workout schedule — even if you can't make it to the gym.

You can do these two lower body workouts pretty much anytime, anywhere. (Image: Petri Oeschger/Moment/GettyImages)

So when you're stuck at home or just don't feel like trekking to your gym, here are two lower-body focused workouts you can do — one that targets your entire lower body and one that puts a specific emphasis on your derriere.

At-Home Lower-Body Circuit Workout for Beginners

To focus on all of the major muscles of your lower body, Amanda Dale, ACE-certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition-certified nutrition coach, created this at-home workout.

Warm-Up

Do: 30 seconds of each of the following exercises. Repeat the circuit two times.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Body-weight squats
  • Alternating side lunges
  • Alternating front lunges

Move 1: Jumping Jack

  1. Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides.
  2. Hop and bring each foot about one to two feet out from the midline and arms up and overhead.
  3. Jump your feet back to the start and lower your arms.

Move 2: Body-Weight Squat

  1. Start with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down into a squat with your thighs parallel to the floor (or as far as your strength and mobility will allow).
  3. Press through your heels to return to stand.

Move 3: Alternating Side Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet together.
  2. Take a big step out to the right. Lean to the right and straighten your left leg. Stick your butt back and put your weight onto the heel of your right foot.
  3. Press through the right heel and step back to the center
  4. Repeat on the opposite side, alternating with each rep.

Move 4: Alternating Front Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet together.
  2. Step forward with your right foot and lower down into a lunge, keeping your torso upright. Both knees bent at 90-degree angles.
  3. Press through your right heel to return to start.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

Circuit #1

Do: 20 reps of each of the following exercises. Repeat the same exercises for 16 reps each, then 12, and finally eight reps for a total of four sets.

  • Walking lunges (all reps on each leg)
  • Glute bridges
  • Kneeling to squatting
  • Step-ups

Move 1: Walking Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet together.
  2. Step forward with your right foot and lower down into a lunge, keeping your torso upright. Both knees bent at 90-degree angles.
  3. Press through your right heel and step your left leg forward to perform a lunge on the opposite leg.
  4. Continue "walking," alternating legs with each rep.

Move 2: Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and pointed up to the ceiling, arms by your sides.
  2. Press into your arms and feet to lift your butt, lower back and mid-back off the ground.
  3. Hold for one to two seconds before returning to the start.

Move 3: Kneeling to Squatting

  1. Start kneeling (place a towel or yoga mat under your knees if you want).
  2. Come to a squatting position one leg at a time.
  3. Lower back down to kneeling one leg at a time.
  4. Each time to raise and lower, lead with the opposite leg.

Move 4: Step-Up

  1. Stand in front of a box, step, chair or other sturdy, knee-height object.
  2. Step up onto the box one foot at a time.
  3. Lower back down to the ground one foot at a time.
  4. With each rep, lead with the opposite leg.

Circuit #2

  1. Set a timer to go off every minute for six minutes.
  2. During each odd-numbered minute (1, 3, 5), try to complete 15 squat jumps.
  3. During each even-numbered minute (2, 4, 6), aim to do a wall sit until the timer goes off.

Move 1: Squat Jumps

  1. Start with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down into a squat with your thighs parallel to the floor (or as far as your strength and mobility will allow).
  3. Press through your feet and jump up into the air.
  4. Land with knees slightly bent and go directly into the next rep.

Move 2: Wall Sits

  • Press your back against a wall and lower into a squat (as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair).

At-Home Butt Workout for Beginners

Here's one more lower-body workout; this time from celebrity trainer Mike Donavanik, CSCS, creator of the Sweat Factor workout app. Because who doesn't want a bootylicious backside and strong legs?

Do: Three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each of these exercises.

  • Body-weight squats
  • Step-ups
  • Glute bridges
  • Fire hydrants
  • Body-weight good mornings

Move 1: Body-Weight Squat

  1. Start with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down into a squat with your thighs at or below parallel to the floor.
  3. Press through your heels to return to stand.

Move 2: Step-Up

  1. Start standing in front of a step or bench with your feet together and arms by your side.
  2. Step up onto the step or bench with your right foot. Bring your left foot up to meet it.
  3. Step back down; repeat leading with the opposite leg.

Move 3: Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the ground with your heels a foot away from your butt.
  2. Drive your hips up while keeping your upper back, head and arms on the ground. The higher you can press your hips up, the harder your glutes work.
  3. Lower back to start.

Move 4: Fire Hydrant

  1. Start on all fours with your toes curled under and your feet flexed.
  2. Line up your knees directly under your hips and your shoulders directly over your wrists.
  3. Keeping the 90-degree bend in the right leg, slowly lift and open that bent leg outward.
  4. Keep your neck long and jaw away from either side of your shoulders, avoiding hunching your shoulders.
  5. Lower your right leg back to the start.
  6. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Move 5: Body-Weight Good Morning

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head.
  2. Engage your core and hinge forward at the hips with a slight bend in your knees, keeping your back flat.
  3. Lean forward until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
  4. Then, return to standing.
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