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Your Complete Lower Body Workout Routine

Published June 01, 2019 (Revised: April 15, 2020) Read Time: 9 minutes
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.

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/04/lower-body-workout-thumbnail.jpg" } }, "headline":"Your Complete Lower Body Workout Routine", "datePublished":"2019-06-01", "dateModified": "2020-04-15", "description":"Many online leg workouts don't give you everything you need. But this complete lower body workout routine does, along with 3 additional workouts you can do right at home.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/04/lower-body-workout-thumbnail.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How do I build my lower body?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "To build up the muscles in your lower body, you should: Add lean muscle to your legs- Choose strength training exercises that focus on your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Tone your muscles using high-intensity workouts. Follow a diet that promotes your fitness goals" } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What are good lower body workouts?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Good lower body workouts target the major muscles in your legs—the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves. These muscle groups make up the majority of your lower body musculature, help support your core and upper body, and make nearly any type of athletic movement or exercise possible." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">How Do I Build My Lower Body?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Are Good Lower Body Workouts?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Lower Body Warmup</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Lower Body Exercises</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Lower Body Cool Down</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">3 Lower Body Workout Routines</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Many lower body workout routines that you find on the internet are flawed.</p> <p>For starters, a lot of them call for weights or fancy equipment. So if you don't have a gym membership—which is the case for about 3 out of 4 Americans—you're out of luck.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/abbyschneiderman/2020/01/31/that-new-gym-membership-could-cost-you-when-it-comes-time-to-cancel/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup></p> <p>Second, a majority of these workouts skip right over the warmup and cool down portion.</p> <p>This isn't ideal, since not warming up before exercising increases your risk of injury, and cooling down helps promote recovery.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18027995" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup></p> <p>Basically, many of these 'complete' internet leg workouts aren't accessible to everyone, and don't even include how to start and end your session.</p> <p>That's why we put together a truly complete lower body workout routine. </p> <p>Here's a brief introduction to building up your leg muscles, and 3 additional workouts (along with a warmup and cool down!) that you can do right at home.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>How do I build my lower body?</h2> <p>To build up the muscles in your lower body, you should:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Add lean muscle to your legs</strong>- Choose <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/functional-strength-training/" rel="noreferrer">strength training exercises</a> that focus on your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/gluteus-maximus-exercises/" rel="noreferrer">glutes</a>, hamstrings, quads, and calves*. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">Functional exercises</a> are your best option because they target multiple muscles at one time and mimic everyday movements, meaning your fitness translates into everyday life.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31125325" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup> <p><i>*This <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmKt6aZAl-s&t=3s" rel="nofollow noreferrer">lower body workout video</a> is a great place to start!</i></p></li> <li><strong>Tone your muscles using high-intensity workouts</strong>- Turning those exercises into high-intensity interval workouts will help you build strength and endurance in your legs, and will also help you shed body-fat. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407969/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup></li> <li><strong>Follow a diet that promotes your fitness goals</strong>- Eat plenty of quality protein (meat, fish, eggs) to rebuild muscle, as well as healthy veggies to fuel your body with energy and micronutrients so you can perform your absolute best. And if your goal is to build strong, lean legs, avoid processed and sugary foods that promote body-fat. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142015/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2585731/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5787353/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup></li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>What are good lower body workouts?</h2> <p>Good lower body workouts target the major muscles in your legs—the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves.</p> <p>These muscle groups make up the majority of your lower body musculature, help support your core and upper body, and make nearly any type of athletic movement or exercise possible.</p> <p>A good lower body workouts is designed to help you achieve a <i>specific</i> fitness goal: adding strength, toning, or cooling down. It does more than just make you sweat.</p> <p>Many workouts you find online are generic, and simply designed to make you sweat a lot. But a specific workout tailored to your goals will help you get results faster (which is why we've put together multiple workout options below for different types of goals).</p> <p>You'll find complete movement descriptions for each exercise at the bottom of this section. Let's start with a warmup!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Lower body warmup</h2> <p><strong>Time:</strong> ~5 minutes</p> <p><strong>Warmup:</strong></p> <p>Do each exercise (or hold each stretch) for 20 to 30 seconds.</p> <p>Move through the list of movements at a steady pace (you should be breathing more deeply by the end, but not exhausted).</p> <ol> <li>Step/jumping jacks</li> <li>Hip/ham stretch</li> <li>Hip 90/90</li> <li>Side lying hip circles</li> <li>Spiderman stretch</li> <li>Bootstrappers</li> </ol> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/STEP-JACKS.gif" alt="Step jacks"> <h3>Step jacks</h3> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet together.</li> <li>Step your right foot out to the side; lift your arms overhead.</li> <li>For a moment, your feet will be wide and hands will be above your head. Step your left foot back over to join your left; lower your arms to your side. Repeat.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/STANDING UNSUPPORTED HIP HAM STRETCH.gif" alt="Hip/hamstring stretch"> <h3>Hip/hamstring stretch</h3> <ul> <li>Start in a lunge.</li> <li>Sitting upright, lean forward to feel the stretch in your right hip.</li> <li>Return to lunge; from here, lean forward with a straight left knee to stretch your hamstring. Repeat 4 times on each side.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/FLOOR UNSUPPORTED HIP 90_90S.gif" alt="Hip 90/90 stretch"> <h3>Hip 90/90 stretch</h3> <ul> <li>Sitting on the floor, stretch your left your lead leg in front of you, bent at 90 degrees.</li> <li>Place your right leg to the side, also at a 90 degree angle from the knee (so your leg projects out to the side and then back behind you). Sit up as tall as you can to start.</li> <li>Now, lean forward. Think about bringing your belly button toward your front knee. Go slow as you lower down and come back up. Switch sides.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/SIDE LYING HIP CIRCLES.gif" alt="Side lying hip circles"> <h3>Side lying hip circles</h3> <ul> <li>Lie on your right side with your legs stacked on top of each other. <ul> <li>Bend the right knee (the one making contact with the floor), keeping your left leg straight.</li></ul></li> <li>Gently lift your left, straight leg in the air—6 to 12 inches is good.</li> <li>Initiating from the hip, slowly draw a circle with your left leg. Carefully lower your leg and then do the warmup again until you are ready to switch sides.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/SPIDERMAN STRETCH WITH HANDS ON GROUND.gif" alt="Spiderman stretch"> <h3>Spiderman stretch</h3> <ul> <li>Start in a push-up or the top of a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises/" rel="noreferrer">plank</a> position.</li> <li>Bring your right foot up to your shoulder; driving the knee out to the side; drop your hips towards the floor.</li> <li>Feel the stretch on the inside of your thigh and groin area. Repeat on the other side.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/BOOTSTRAPPERS.gif" alt="Bootstrappers"> <h3>Bootstrappers</h3> <ul> <li>From the top of a squat position (standing tall; feet at a 45-degree angle), lean forward at the waist and grab your toes. It's okay to round the back slightly.</li> <li>Drop into a squat; pull your back flat as your hips move toward your feet. Drive the knees outward.</li> <li>Return to a stand, then repeat.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Lower body exercises</h2> <p>Use the cues below to ensure your form is perfect.</p> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/FAST-JUMPING-JACKS.gif" alt="Jumping jacks"> <h3>Jumping jacks</h3> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet together and your arms by your side.</li> <li>Jump both feet out to the sides; at the same time, lift your arms over your head as high as possible. Your body should look sort of like a star.</li> <li>Jump to bring both feet back together as your arms return to your side.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/SQUATS-WITH-FEET-TOGETHER.gif" alt="Squats"> <h3>Squats</h3> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes at a 45-degree angle; kick your hips back toward the wall behind you as you lower yourself toward the floor. Your knees will bend too.</li> <li>Lower your butt until your thigh is parallel with the ground. </li> <li>Drive through your heels to return to a stand.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/FROG-DEADLIFTS-WITH-HANDS-TO-GROUND.gif" alt="Frog deadlifts"> <h3>Frog deadlifts</h3> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart; toes pointed at a 45-degree angle, bodyweight in the heels.</li> <li>Place your arms inside your legs.</li> <li>With a flat back, reach your hips back as you reach for the floor (think about bending over to pick something heavy up with a straight spine). Return to a standing position.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/LOW-SIDE-LUNGES.gif" alt="Alternating side lunges"> <h3>Alternating side lunges</h3> <ul> <li>Start in a wide stance with your toes pointed at a 45-degree angle; bring your arms up in front of you for balance.</li> <li>Bend your right knee, and lean to the right, lowering yourself to the ground. </li> <li>Press through your right foot, shifting the bodyweight to the left side; repeat on left side.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/STANDING CALF ROCKS.gif" alt="Calf rocks"> <h3>Calf rocks</h3> <ul> <li>Raise yourself up on your toes; hold for a second.</li> <li>From there, allow your feet to "rock" back onto your heels (pull the toes up towards you).</li> <li>From your heels, go back to your toes. Keep this cycle going.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/DRINKING-BIRDS-WITH-HANDS-OVERHEAD.gif" alt="Drinking birds"> <h3>Drinking birds</h3> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet shoulder width apart; place your body weight in your heels, and your hands above your head, arms may be slightly.</li> <li>With a straight back, hinge forward at the hips. Press your butt to the wall behind you.</li> <li>Go down as far as you can with a straight back—you may feel your hamstrings get tight. Pause. Slowly return to the starting position.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/GLUTE-BRIDGE.gif" alt="Glute bridges"> <h3>Glute bridges</h3> <ul> <li>Lie on your back with your knees bent and your heels slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground; place the arms on the floor, palms facing the ceiling.</li> <li>Press through your heels. Lift your hips until you feel your glutes activate.</li> <li>Pause at the top for one second.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/JUMP-SQUATS.gif" alt="Jump squats"> <h3>Jump squats</h3> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes at a 45-degree angle.</li> <li>Kick your hips back toward the wall behind you (your knees will bend too); lower your butt until your thigh is parallel with the floor (or as low as you can go)</li> <li>Driving through your heels, explode up with both feet. Use your arms for momentum and balance.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/BURPEES.gif" alt="Burpees"> <h3>Burpees</h3> <ul> <li>Start in a standing position; squat down and hinge forward at the hips; bring your hands to the floor.</li> <li>Kick your feet out from under you, behind your body into a plank position. If you can, do a pushup. </li> <li>Return to the top of a plank; jump your feet to your hands; squat up and jump up from the ground.</li> </ul> <img style="max-width:100%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://wm-blog-content.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/MOVEMENTS/ALTERNATING-ONE-LEG-SQUATS.gif" alt="Alternating one leg squats"> <h3>Alternating one leg squats</h3> <ul> <li>Start in a standing position, balanced on one leg; put your arms and free leg out in front of you for balance.</li> <li>Squat down on one leg as far as you can go while keeping the other foot off the floor (if it's only a few inches, that's fine.)</li> <li>Drive through the heel to return to the top. Repeat.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Lower body cool down</h2> <p><strong>Time:</strong> ~5 minutes</p> <p><strong>Cool down:</strong></p> <ul> <li>5/5 Spiderman stretch</li> <li>3 slow down dog to cobra</li> <li>:90 couch stretch/side</li> <li>:90 hamstring stretch/side</li> </ul> <p>Move through these slowly—you've completed the hardest part of your workout already. Now it's time to ramp down the intensity and take care of your leg muscles with stretching!</p> <h3>Slow downward dog to cobra</h3> <ul> <li>Start in a downward dog position; hands pressed through the floor, heels touching the ground, hips high in the air (you should look like an upside down 'V')</li> <li>In one slow, controlled motion, bring your hips down to the floor.</li> <li>Maintain straight arms, keep your elbows tucked beside you; keep your chest off the floor.</li> </ul> <h3>Couch stretch</h3> <p>You'll need a couch or a chair for this exercise. </p> <ul> <li>Bend your right knee; place the top of your foot on the chair or couch behind you (the bottom of your toes should be facing the ceiling).</li> <li>Place your left foot in front of your body at a 90-degree angle (from the side, it looks like you're doing a lunge).</li> <li>Sit up tall; gently lean your torso forward to feel the stretch in your hip flexor.</li> </ul> <h3>Seated hamstring stretch</h3> <ul> <li>From a seated position on the ground, put your right leg out straight in front of you. Position your left leg so your knee is bent and your foot is touching your inner right thigh.</li> <li>Lean forward from the waist; reach both hands towards your toes. </li> <li>The goal is to reach for your feet here—if you can't, aim for the knee, shin, or ankle. As you hold the exercise try to move inches or even centimeters forward.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section6"> <h2>3 Lower body workout routines</h2> <p>Below you'll find three separate workout routines. Be sure to do the warmup first and cool down after to make this a complete lower body workout!</p> <h3>Interval workout</h3> <p><strong>Good for:</strong> Building lean leg muscle, burning body-fat and improving your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/low-impact-cardio/" rel="noreferrer">cardio</a> fitness.</p> <p><strong>Time:</strong> This is a quick workout and should only take about 5 minutes. If you need to, rest in between each round but try to keep moving if you can.</p> <p><strong>Workout:</strong></p> <p>30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest x 5 rounds:</p> <ul> <li>Jumping jacks</li> <li>Squats</li> <li>Frog deadlifts</li> <li>Jumping lunges</li> </ul> <p>To track your progress, count and record your total reps, then try to beat it next time!</p> <h3>Toning workout</h3> <p><strong>Good for:</strong> Adding lean muscle to your legs.</p> <p><strong>Time:</strong> This should take about 20 minutes but if it takes longer that's ok. Make sure to move at a steady, consistent pace that’s right for you.</p> <p><strong>Workout:</strong></p> <p>3 rounds </p> <ul> <li>30 alternating side lunges</li> <li>30 calf rocks</li> <li>30 side lying hip circles each side</li> <li>30 drinking birds</li> <li>30 glute bridges</li> </ul> <p>The goal of this workout is to complete 450 reps with perfect form. If you'd like to record your time that's fine, but don't rush through reps just to finish quicker.</p> <h3>Challenge workout</h3> <p><strong>Good for:</strong> Testing your lower body fitness (and also for getting a killer strength/cardio workout).</p> <p><strong>Time:</strong> As fast as you can with good form! (A good goal to aim for is under 25 minutes.)</p> <p><strong>Workout:</strong></p> <p>1-2 rounds</p> <ul> <li>50 jump squats</li> <li>50 burpees</li> <li>50 alternating one leg squats</li> </ul> <p>This is a hard workout, so it's best to only do it once every month or so. That way, you give your body time to get better and you can beat your score next time.</p> <p>For more at-home workouts like this, check out the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise section</a> of our blog.</p> </section> </article>

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