The Most Effective Leg Exercises For Women

Having strong legs is essential. While you want to look great from behind, your legs are what keeps you moving throughout the day. Building strength in the legs and booty is crucial.

However, most people neglect leg day workouts because they think they’re already doing enough with routine walking and movement. Also, they worry the leg muscles are so big that it will take too long to see results. You shouldn’t do that. Instead, you should train the legs once or twice a week.

It’s easy to start a new leg routine by adding three to four new moves into your routine. You should also switch exercises every few weeks. Just because you don’t immediately see a difference doesn’t mean changes aren’t happening.

Goblet Squats

To do this exercise, you should stand up straight with the feet about hip-width apart. Pick up and hold a kettlebell in front of you with your elbows toward the floor. Now push back the hips while bending the knees, lowering into your squat position. Push up (but gently) to get back to the starting position. That is one repetition, and you should do three sets, each with 12 reps.

This is a great squat variation because it tones the thighs and legs while also strengthening the hip flexors, quads, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and calves. Holding the kettlebell can also tone up the lats.

Single-Leg Deadlift

While holding a kettlebell in your right hand (you can also perform this move without extra weight until you’re used to it), stand on the left leg and hold the palm down by the thigh. With your left leg staying slightly bent, lean forward. At the same time, extend your right leg behind the body and keep bending forward until the torso is parallel with the floor. Lower the kettlebell straight down while doing all this. It should almost touch the floor. Now, push into the left heel and return to your starting position.

If you’d like more of a challenge, you can also lift the right leg to a 90-degree angle while returning to a standing position. You should try to complete three sets of 12 repetitions for each side.

Of course, this exercise works the glutes and hamstrings, but it also challenges your core strength and stability.

Banded Lateral Walk

Using a mini resistance band, slide it under the feet, standing with your feet hip-width apart. Your knees should also be slightly bent. Tighten the core muscles and keep them taut throughout the exercise. Now, step the left foot to the side and then meet it with the right foot. Next, step back out to hip-width apart with the left foot. This is one repetition. You should complete three sets, each with ten reps (going in each direction).

You’ll find that this move can activate your glutes while building up the sides of your booty.

Romanian Deadlift

To perform the Romanian Deadlift exercise, you will hold one or two kettlebells in your hand. Stand with the feet about hip-width apart, and your knees should be bent slightly. Place the kettlebell in front of the thighs with the palms facing toward the body. While keeping the knees bent, press your hips backward while bending at the waist and lowering the kettlebells to the floor. When you go to stand back up, squeeze your glute muscles. This is one repetition. Try to complete three sets, each with 12 reps.

This routine is a great muscle-building move and works the lower back, hamstrings, glutes, and hip joints.

Lateral Lunge

The Lateral Lunge starts with your feet about hip-distance apart, and your hands clasped in front of the chest. Take one large step to the side with the right leg and then push back the hips. You’ll also bend the right knee and lower the body so that the knee is about 90-degrees bent. This should take just a few seconds. Now, you’ll push back to the starting position, which is one full repetition. Try to complete three sets of 12 reps for each side (making a total of six).

You’ll find that this move is a variation of the standard lunge. It is ideal for working the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.

Staggered-Stance Deadlift

While holding a kettlebell in front of the thighs and facing the palms inward, you’ll stagger your legs. This means stepping back with the right foot and bringing your left foot forward a bit. The right heel should stay off the ground. Carefully push back the hips while you hinge forward, keeping a straight back. Your kettlebell will naturally lower, though you should keep it close to the legs. When your hips are at a 90-degree angle, return to your starting position. This is one repetition. You’ll strive for three sets, each with 12 reps. That’s for each side, so you’ll do a total of six sets.

You’ll find that this is yet another deadlift variation, which primarily targets the glutes, lower back, and hamstrings. However, the kettlebell also adds more weight to the move.


Hold dumbbells next to the shoulders (in front of the body) with your palms facing toward each other. Stand up straight with the feet at shoulder-width apart. Make sure the torso is upright throughout the movement. Now, lower the body until the top of your thighs are running parallel with the floor. Push yourself back up to a standing position while also raising the dumbbells overhead. Lower them to the starting position, and this is one repetition. Consider trying to complete three sets, each with 12 reps.

You’ll find this exercise works the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps – all of the major muscles in the leg. They all have to work hard for the squat part of the thruster. The force is transmitted to your upper body through the low-back muscles and abdominals.

Bulgarian Split Squats

While holding a dumbbell in each of your hands, stand in front of a step, about two feet away. Extend the right leg backward and put your foot directly on the step. Bend the knees so that your body is lowered as far as you safely can or until the knee is right above the ground. When doing this, make sure that your chest, shoulders, and back remain upright. Pause briefly and then press through the left heel to get to your starting point. That’s one repetition. You should aim to complete three sets, each with 12 reps.

Primarily, this split squat variation is designed to work the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Using dumbbells adds more weight and challenge while keeping muscular balance within the body.

Box Jumps

You’ll need a ‘box’ for this routine, but you can use a regular six-inch exercise step. Beginners can use a lower step, and more advanced exercisers can use one up to 14 inches tall. Start in an athletic stance, your knees bent slightly, and most of your weight on the balls of your feet. Jump quickly onto your step, aiming for the center to be safe. Immediately after, jump back to the starting position on the floor. Make sure to land softly to protect the knee joints. This is one repetition. Strive to complete three sets, each with ten reps.

Plyometric moves, such as this one, are designed to build your type-two muscle fibers within the glutes. It can create a cardio effect, as well.

Sumo Squats

With your heels about shoulder-width apart, turn your toes so that they are pointed outward just slightly. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of you, right about hip level. Bend the knees while reaching back with your hips, getting into a squat position. The arms should hang down, so the kettlebell is underneath the shoulders. Lower the body until the hips are just below your knees. Pause for about two seconds in this position and drive upward with the heels so that you can stand up. Make sure the kettlebell doesn’t move much during this explosive push. This is one repetition. Try to work up to doing three sets, each with 12 reps.

The sumo squat is a variation of your standard squat and puts more emphasis on your inner thigh adductors. These are moving the legs into the body, as well as the glutes.

Ice Skater

Start this exercise while standing up straight and the feet about shoulder-width apart. Cross the left leg behind the right one while you bend the right knee to 90 degrees. While doing this, extend out the right arm to the side, swinging the left one across to the right leg. Jump to the other side while switching positions with your legs and arms. That’s one repetition. Strive to do three sets, each with 15 reps on each side.

The goal of this exercise is to challenge your balance a little while engaging the core. It will also work the hips, lower back, outer thighs, and booty.

Reverse Lunges

Stand with the feet about hip-width apart while holding a kettlebell in front of the chest. Now, you’ll step back with the right leg while bending both knees and lowering the body until the left knee is bent at about 90-degrees. Then, you’ll stand up pushing through the left foot and raising the right leg to a 90-degree angle in front of you. Put the foot back down and repeat it on the other side. This is one repetition. You’ll want to do three sets, each with 12 reps. Remember to do three sets on each side.

Reverse lunges are often safer for your knees because they don’t put as much pressure on them as regular lunges can. Plus, people often push the knees forward too far, which can cause significant pain. This move primarily works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Calf Raises

To complete this movement, you will stand on one foot and raise the other leg to a 90-degree angle. Make sure you’re standing with a tall, long spine and keep the abs drawn in tight. Rise onto the ball of the foot, keeping the knee straight but not locking it out. Pause briefly at the top while squeezing the calf muscle. Lower down slowly so that the heel is on the floor, which is one repetition. You’ll need to perform three sets, each of 15 reps on one leg, and then repeat them for the other leg.

Of course, the name of the exercise tells you what it works – the calves. However, it also works balance and your core muscles.


It’s important to understand that you should work the legs like you would any other muscle in the body. Strong legs are ideal because they will carry you throughout life easier and can also prevent back pain and knee issues. If you enjoyed learning about the many leg exercises out there, consider following us on Facebook to get more helpful tips and ideas.

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