Best Leg Exercises for Women That You Can Do At Home

Published May 18, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

best-leg-exercises-for-women
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"Best Leg Exercises for Women That You Can Do At Home", "datePublished":"May 18, 2019", "description":"Tone your butt, shape your thighs, and show off your calves with these 7 awesome leg exercises for women.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/05/best-leg-exercises-for-women-home-0170.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">Benefits of Strong Legs For Women</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Are The Best Leg Exercises?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">How Can I Build My Glutes and Legs?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Best Leg Exercises for Women</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Leg Exercises For Women—Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p align="justify">When it comes to their legs, most women want the same thing: a nice butt, toned thighs, and good-looking calves. And you know <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">exercising</a> and <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">eating healthy</a> are the keys to looking good in your lower half.</p> <p align="justify">Maybe you also know—or maybe you don’t—that strength training is good for a lot of other things <i>besides</i> looking good. </p> <p align="justify">In fact, strength training, especially for your legs, might actually be <i>more beneficial</i> for women than men. </p> <p align="justify">In this article we’ll look at the seven best leg exercises women can do right at home and the benefits available for women with strong, toned legs.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>Benefits of Strong Legs For Women</h2> <p align="justify">Besides looking good at the beach, strong legs offer a ton of benefits for women. </p> <h3>1. Strength Training Delays Osteoporosis</h3> <p align="justify">One thing that’s particularly beneficial for women about strength training is that it increases bone density. </p> <p align="justify">Women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men <sup>1</sup>. One way to combat or delay osteoporosis is to exercise, especially resistance exercises like squats and lunges during leg workouts.</p> <p align="justify">Strong legs and a strong core keep your joints healthy, ward off osteoporosis, increase strength and muscle size, and protect you from injuries.</p> <p align="justify">For this reason alone, strength training may actually be more important for women than it is for men.</p> <h3>2. Improved Core Strength and Posture</h3> <p align="justify">You’d be hard pressed to find leg workouts that don’t require you to use your core. Many of your leg muscles connect to your core, meaning the core muscles get stronger when you train your legs.</p> <p align="justify">Strong legs—especially <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">strong glutes</a>—improve your posture and can decrease or eliminate lower back pain. </p> <p align="justify">The midsection stays healthier and looks better when women train their legs.</p> <h3>3. Helps With Weight Loss</h3> <p align="justify">It’s easier to lose weight when women add lean muscle to their legs. This is because lean muscle burns more calories, even when you’re sitting around. Even while you sleep, you’ll burn more calories due to an increased metabolism.</p> <p align="justify">The legs should be the area you target for adding muscle. The right and left leg make up about 20 percent of your total bodyweight <sup>2</sup>, after all. Because those muscles are so big, you can seriously boost your metabolism and lose weight faster by training your legs. </p> <p align="justify">The right exercises help you burn more calories during <i>and</i> after workouts.</p> <h3>4. More Lean and Toned Appearance</h3> <p align="justify">Conventional wisdom used to be that women shouldn’t strength train unless they want to get bulky. But that’s simply not true. </p> <p align="justify">Due to hormonal differences (lower levels of testosterone), women have a much harder time getting bulky than men do <sup>3</sup>. And if they do get bulky, it’s probably because they’re using bodybuilding exercises that isolate individual muscle groups.</p> <p align="justify">By using full-body, <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">functional exercises</a> and eating quality protein, you can <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/top-7-post-workout-foods-for-lean-muscle/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">add lean muscle</a> slowly and evenly in your legs (and arms) without getting bulky.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Are The Best Leg Exercises?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"The best leg exercises depend on the area you wish to tone or strengthen. Pick exercises that make you feel a “burn” in the desired area.\n\nIt’s an added benefit if the leg exercises you pick fit into fat-burning workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit workouts.\n\nMost functional exercises do have a carry over effect, meaning most full-body fitness exercises kill two birds with one stone.\n\nFor example, a squat—and the many squat variations—trains both your glutes and quads. You can tone up your butt muscles and add muscle to your thighs at the same time by adding squats to your workouts.\n\nAnother example is walking. Walking strengthens the calves, but also burns calories and fat, which over time will help you show off new muscle in other areas of your body."}}]}</script> <h2>What Are The Best Leg Exercises?</h2> <p align="justify">The best leg exercises depend on the area you wish to tone or strengthen. Pick exercises that make you feel a “burn” in the desired area.</p> <p align="justify"> It’s an added benefit if the leg exercises you pick fit into fat-burning workouts like <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) or <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">circuit workouts</a>.</p> <p align="justify">Most functional exercises do have a carry over effect, meaning most full-body fitness exercises kill two birds with one stone.</p> <p align="justify">For example, a squat—and the many <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">squat variations</a>—trains both your <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">glutes</a> and quads. You can tone up your butt muscles and add muscle to your thighs at the same time by adding squats to your workouts.</p> <p align="justify">Another example is walking. <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-5-best-calf-exercises/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Walking strengthens the calves</a>, but also burns calories and fat, which over time will help you show off new muscle in other areas of your body.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"How Can I Build My Glutes and Legs?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"What are the biggest muscles in your body? The ones in your legs. Therefore, it’s necessary to train specific muscles if you want to target a specific area.\n\nWe already talked about how functional exercises carry over, so let’s look at the two other keys for building muscle in your legs.\n\nFirst, and most important: consistency. Working out three times per week and eating quality foods will help you strengthen your legs and add lean muscle over time. Results come from consistency, not the perfect leg workout.\n\nSecond: focus on good exercise progressions. Try to get a little better each time you workout. This might mean adding reps, time to your circuit workout, or moving from a beginner exercise to something more intermediate or advanced.\n\nOver time, those tiny, one percent advancements will compound into the results you’re looking for."}}]}</script> <h2>How Can I Build My Glutes and Legs?</h2> <p align="justify">What are the biggest muscles in your body? The ones in your legs. Therefore, it’s necessary to train specific muscles if you want to target a specific area.</p> <p align="justify">We already talked about how functional exercises carry over, so let’s look at the two other keys for building muscle in your legs.</p> <p align="justify">First, and most important: consistency. <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Working out</a> three times per week and <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">eating quality foods</a> will help you strengthen your legs and add lean muscle over time. Results come from consistency, not the perfect leg workout.</p> <p align="justify">Second: focus on <i>good exercise progressions</i>. Try to get a little better each time you workout. This might mean adding reps, time to your <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">circuit workout</a>, or moving from a <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">beginner exercise</a> to something more intermediate or advanced.</p> <p align="justify">Over time, those tiny, one percent advancements will compound into the results you’re looking for.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nice-butt-exercises-women-0170.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nice-butt-exercises-women-0170.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nice-butt-exercises-women-0170.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nice-butt-exercises-women-LR-0170.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="butt-exercises-women"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Best Leg Exercises for Women</h2> <p align="justify">We’ve broken our favorite leg exercises down into three sections: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer" title="glutes">glutes</a>, quads, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-5-best-calf-exercises/" rel="noreferrer" title="calves">calves</a>. </p> <h3>1. Best Glute Exercises for Women</h3> <p align="justify"><b>Our Favorite Exercise</b>: Shoulder Bridge Lifts and Holds </p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SHOULDER-BRIDGE-LIFTS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SHOULDER-BRIDGE-LIFTS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <p align="justify">Shoulder bridges are perfect for building your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer" title="glutes">glutes</a>. They’re also easy to modify or make harder based on your fitness level.</p> <p align="justify">For this exercise, you have two options. You can perform sets of ten of the shoulder bridge lifts (see above), or do them as an isometric hold (hold position at the top of the movement).</p> <p align="justify">Both will help <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer" title="glutes">wake up your glutes</a> and strengthen them, but depending on your workout, one might be better. </p> <p align="justify">If you’re doing a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" rel="noreferrer" title="circuit workout">circuit workout</a> or want to get in some cardio, use shoulder bridge lifts.</p> <p align="justify">The shoulder bridge holds work great in a warmup or for a workout challenge. Try them at the end of a session and try to add three to five seconds each time.</p> <p align="justify">If you really want to test your fitness, try doing a one-leg variation. With your right leg off the floor, bridge up on the left leg to a lockout, then repeat on the other side.</p> <p align="justify"><b>Try this glute workout</b>: Do 10 to 15 shoulder bridge lifts, then roll over to your stomach and hold a 30 to 45 second <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer" title="plank">plank</a>. Rest for one minute, then repeat two more times.</p> <h3>2. Best Quad Exercises for Women</h3> <p align="justify"><b>Our Favorite Exercise</b>: Squats—and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt" rel="noreferrer" title="squat variations">the many variations.</a></p> <p align="justify"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/step-by-step-guide-on-how-to-do-perfect-squats" rel="noreferrer" title="Squats">Squats</a> aren’t just a great quad exercise, but a candidate for our favorite exercise <i>period</i>. </p> <p align="justify">They’re a top candidate for the best “desert island” exercise. As in: if you found yourself trapped on a desert island and could only do one exercise for the rest of your life—it’d be squats. (Because, obviously your fitness is what you’d be most concerned about if you were trapped on a desert island.)</p> <p align="justify">In any case, you can’t go wrong with squats.</p> <p align="justify">They’ll tone up your legs while strengthening multiple muscles in your legs and core. And depending on <i>how</i> you add them to your leg workouts, even improve your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/7-low-impact-cardio-exercises/" rel="noreferrer" title="cardio fitness">cardio fitness</a>.</p> <p align="justify"><a target="_blank" href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Qs1GirYrNOxIamWGKj3FzNrD-df-Bt1IjxjLHcB1TYM/edit" rel="noreferrer" title="beginners">For beginners</a>, we like these three exercises for toning your quads: <i>sit to stands, sumo squats, and bear squats.</i></p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <p align="justify">Sit to stands offer all the benefits of regular squats but help you ease into the exercise with a target to aim for behind you. Drive through your heels when you sit down and squeeze your butt at the top to make this a great exercise for your quads <i>and</i> glutes.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SUMO-SQUATS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SUMO-SQUATS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <p align="justify">Sumo squats reduce the range of motion for each squat but still work the quads hard. Plus they get your heart rate up, helping you burn more calories and fat.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/BEAR-SQUAT.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/BEAR-SQUAT.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <p align="justify">Have bad knees or other limitations? Think you can’t tone your quads? Use bear squats. They’re low-impact but target your quads, core, and even upper body muscles. If you can hold a downward dog yoga pose, you can do bear squats.</p> <p align="justify"><b>Try this quad workout</b>: Do a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you" rel="noreferrer" title="HIIT">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) workout with sit to stands and push-ups (modify the push-ups as needed). Do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 12 total rounds (6 rounds for each exercise).</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-tieing-running-shoes-0170.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-tieing-running-shoes-0170.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-tieing-running-shoes-0170.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-tieing-running-shoes-LR-0170.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="running-shoes"> </picture> <h3>3. Best Calf Exercises for Women </h3> <p align="justify"><b>Our Favorite Exercise</b>: Walking (or Other Cardio)</p> <p align="justify">If you’re thinking, “Walking, really?” then you need to check out the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/10-reasons-why-walking-is-the-best-exercise/" rel="noreferrer" title="walking">ten reasons we love walking</a>. Besides the great workout for your calves, walking boosts your mood, promotes recovery after workouts, and burns more calories than you think.</p> <p align="justify">If you’re looking for other <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-5-best-calf-exercises/" rel="noreferrer" title="calf exercises">beginner calf exercises</a> you can do right at home, try step jacks.</p> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <video autoplay loop muted> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/STEP-JACKS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/STEP-JACKS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> <p align="justify"><b>Try this calf workout</b>: Go for a 30 minute walk today or tomorrow. And if you’re really up for something new and full of health benefits, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/10-reasons-why-walking-is-the-best-exercise/" rel="noreferrer" title="walking barefoot">walking barefoot</a>. </p> <p align="justify">When you get home, do 75 to 100 <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer" title="step jacks">step jacks</a> before going inside (or in your living room). Break them up in as few sets as possible.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Leg Exercises For Women—Wrapping Up</h2> <p align="justify">Whether your goal is to look good, feel better, or burn more fat, there are plenty of benefits available to women who use leg exercises in their workouts. </p> <p align="justify">Because the legs are big muscles, use exercises that target the specific areas you’d like to improve. Or just use <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you" rel="noreferrer" title="functional exercises">functional exercises</a>, which nearly always train multiple muscle groups at once and prevent you from getting bulky.</p> <p align="justify">If you like the idea of losing weight, improving your health, and looking better right from home, join <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" rel="noreferrer" title="Warrior Made’s fitness tribe">Warrior Made’s fitness tribe</a>. Each week you’ll get three high-quality workouts you can follow along with, right in your living room.</p> <p align="justify">You can get results and have a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" rel="noreferrer" title="total-body transformation">total-body transformation</a> in less than <i>one hour per week!</i></p> <h3>Resources</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/" rel="nofollow noreferrer" title="What Women Need to Know">What Women Need to Know</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://exrx.net/Kinesiology/Segments" rel="nofollow noreferrer" title="Mean Segment Weights">Mean Segment Weights</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2016/ladies-lifting-heavy-wont-make-you-bulk-up" rel="nofollow noreferrer" title="lifting ">Ladies, lifting heavy won’t make you “bulk up”</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

Previous Post

Back to Exercise

Next Post