The Beginner Lower Body Workout You've Been Looking For

woman stretching hamstrings and smiling at camera
Developing your lower body is beneficial for several reasons.

Your lower body consists of some of your biggest muscle groups: your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Don't worry if you're new to exercising or not super confident about doing lower body exercises. Each of these muscle groups can be developed with a simple beginner lower body workout.

Developing your lower body is beneficial for several reasons. First and foremost, working your leg muscles will improve the strength and flexibility of your body's foundation. Think of your body like a house; a strong foundation typically means less reconstruction (and visits to the doctor!). Your lower body is responsible for lots of functional activities. Things like sitting down, standing up, climbing stairs and moving around awkward objects, like getting into the bathtub or stepping over the pet pooch who's sleeping in the kitchen doorway (again).

Lunges can help to correct — and in some cases prevent — any muscle imbalances. Nobody wants one leg bigger than the other! Single leg exercises can also improve the stability of your joints; lunges can help you reduce, or even avoid, knee pain. But a broader beginner lower body workout plan is good to have in place so you can approach your fitness from a more cohesive perspective.

Warm Up

Before you start, it's important to warm up so that you can get the most out of your workout and reduce the chance of any injuries. It's a good idea to spend a few minutes on a stationary bike to warm up your muscles, followed by some leg swings and ankle rolls to prepare your joints for the workout ahead.

If you're unsure how to perform any of the following movements, it's definitely OK to ask a trainer for assistance. Trainers can help you ensure you're performing exercises safely and effectively, so your time at the gym is productive (and rewarding).

Main Workout

Box Squat: 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions

  • Squat down to a bench or box, until you just touch it, then return to the start position.
  • Keep your stomach muscles tight throughout the movement.
  • Make sure your knees remain in line with your toes.

Stationary Lunge: 3 rounds of 10-20 repetitions, each side

  • Find your preferred lunge position, then bend the knees until the back knee is almost touching the ground. Then return to the start position.
  • Try to keep your legs in line. Your knees should track over your toes.
  • Keep your stomach muscles tight and your chest up throughout the movement.
  • If one leg is stronger than the other, perform this exercise on the weaker leg first, then do the same number of repetitions on the other leg — even if you feel you can do more!

Calf Raise: 3 rounds of 10-20 repetitions

  • Stand with feet hip-to-shoulder distance apart, with soft knees.
  • Come up onto your tip toes, then slowly lower back down.

Glute Bridge: 3 rounds of 10-20 repetitions

  • Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent and stomach muscles tight.
  • Squeeze your glutes to raise the hips up toward the ceiling, then return to start.
  • The movement should come from your glutes — NOT your lower back.

Cool-Down

Walk for five minutes, gradually decreasing your pace, to improve blood flow and reduce the heart rate. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps (the large muscle at the front of the thigh) and glutes for 20 to 30 seconds each.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.