If your core is your body's tree trunk, the legs are the roots. They anchor your body, which is why leg day is oh-so-important. Stronger lower-body muscles also help reduce your risk of injury and provide stability.
Plus, a stronger lower body may even positively affect your upper-body strength, according to a January 2018 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
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Ready to sculpt stronger legs? Do this beginner leg day workout the next time you hit the gym — or try it at home!
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here – we've got something for everyone.
A 20-Minute Leg Day Workout for Beginners
Noam Tamir, CSCS, owner of TS Fitness, designed this leg day workout with newbies in mind, but more advanced exercisers can up the reps or weight to make it more challenging.
After you run through the warm-up, you have three supersets. Do each exercise back-to-back for three rounds total, resting 30 seconds between sets. Then, give yourself a minute break before you move on to the next superset.
Move 1: Standing Knee Grab
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your core tight as you grab your left knee and pull it up and toward your chest.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then release.
- Repeat the motions with your right leg.
Move 2: Kickout
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and brace your core.
- With your feet flexed, raise your left foot off the ground, as you bring your right arm to meet the leg.
- Repeat the motion with your right leg, as you bring your left arm to meet it.
- Do 10 reps per side.
Superset 1: Strength Focus
Move 1: Dumbbell Front Squat
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders. Make sure one end of each dumbbell is resting on top of each shoulder with your elbows facing forward.
- With a straight back and tall chest, squat down by bending your hips back. Lower into the squat until your thighs are at or slightly below parallel to the floor (or however far down your mobility allows).
- Return to the start by pressing through your heels and extending your knees and hips. Clench your glutes as you stand.
For all of the dumbbell exercises in this workout, Tamir suggests beginners grab 8- to 12-pound weights. For a more challenging workout, grab a pair of 15- to 25-pound dumbbells.
Move 2: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
- Keeping your core tight, shoulder blades together and chest high, position yourself with feet about shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells in front of your thighs.
- Push your butt back and bend your knees slightly until as you lower the weight toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- Using the muscles in the back of your body, stand up.
Superset 2: Stability Focus
Move 1: Single Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward. Keep a tight core, making sure your shoulders are down and back, chest is out and spine is neutral. Hold the dumbbell by your left side with a straight arm.
- Step directly back with your left foot, making sure your chest is up and your feet are in alignment.
- Return to the starting position and repeat. Switch the dumbbell to your right arm when stepping back with the right leg.
- Do 12 reps per leg.
Move 2: Body-Weight Single-Leg Deadlift
- Start with your feet hip-width apart. Balance on one leg, pushing your left leg up and back while you inch your upper body forward.
- As your upper body comes forward, core braced, use your left arm to help stabilize yourself.
- Return to standing.
- Do 12 reps on each leg.
Superset 3: Endurance Focus
Move 1: Marching Bridge
- Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and feet near your butt.
- Lift your hips upward into a glute bridge.
- From this position, lift your left foot and bring the knee in toward your stomach.
- Set your left foot back down and repeat with the other leg.
- Do 15 reps per leg.
Move 2: Offset Stance Body-Weight Squats
- Start in a regular squat position, with feet about shoulder-width apart. Take one foot and slide it back, so that the ball of the foot is about 12 inches behind the other foot.
- Keep the heel of the back foot elevated and push the hips down as you would in a typical squat.
- Come back up to starting position.
- Do 15 reps on each side.