This Leg and Butt Workout Builds a Super Strong Lower Body in the Gym

POPSUGAR Photography | Matthew Kelly
POPSUGAR Photography | Matthew Kelly

You know you've done an intense workout when it leaves you sore for the next three days. Now, you do not need to feel that sore to have done a good workout, but if you love that type of sweat sesh, this intense, hour-long leg and butt gym workout is for you. It targets all the big muscle groups in your lower body, including your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstring, by using powerful compound exercises.

This is not a beginner workout; it's an intermediate to advanced leg and butt workout that you should only attempt once you have a good base level of strength. (Beginners, no shade! Try some of these bodyweight lower-body exercises or this lower-body dumbbell workout instead.) To scale it down, you can also try these moves with lighter weights to start. If you're ready to go HAM during your next gym session, tackle this tried-and-true leg and butt workout straight from a trainer.

60-Minute Leg and Butt Gym Workout

Directions: Start with a dynamic warmup. Do each exercise for the indicated number of sets and reps, resting 60 to 90 seconds between each set. To finish, do a cooldown or some static stretching.

  • Barbell Front Squats: Three sets of eight reps
  • Dumbbell Walking Lunges: Three sets of 10 reps per leg
  • Barbell Hip Thrusts: Three sets of 10 reps
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: Three sets of 12 reps per leg
  • Hex Bar Deadlift: Three sets of 10 reps
  • Single-Leg Leg Extension: Three sets of eight reps per leg
  • Hamstring Curls: Three sets of 12 reps

Take 60 to 90 seconds of rest in between each set.

Barbell Front Squats
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Barbell Front Squats

  • Start with a loaded barbell racked on a squat rack at chest height. If you're newer to the movement, use just the barbell, gradually adding weight as you become stronger.
  • Position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the barbell, and lightly grip the bar, palms facing away from you.
  • Step under the bar. Rest the bar on your clavicle and shoulders as you lift your elbows up. Your elbows should go as high as your mobility allows.
  • With your feet about hip-distance apart, lift the barbell off the rack. Take one to two careful steps backward.
  • Shift your weight back into your mid-foot and heels. Brace your core as you begin to lower into a squat, keeping your head and back straight. Your knees should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
  • With your core still braced, drive through your feet to stand back up. Be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of your squat. That's one rep.
  • When you're done with one set, carefully step forward and rerack the bar on the squat rack.
  • Do three sets of eight reps.
Dumbbell Walking Lunges
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Dumbbell Walking Lunges

  • Start standing with feet together, holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  • Take a controlled step forward with your left leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. The back knee should point toward but not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over the ankle.
  • Press your left heel into the ground, and push off with your right foot to bring your right leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side. That's one rep.
  • Do three sets of 10 reps on each leg.

Barbell Hip Thrusts
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Barbell Hip Thrusts

  • Sitting on the floor with your legs extended, rest your back against a stable bench.
  • Place a towel or shoulder cushion on the bar for comfort (optional). Roll the barbell over your thighs until the bar is directly above your hip joints.
  • Brace your core. As you drive your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips up to full extension, meaning your hips are even with your knees.
  • With control, lower back down to the ground. That's one rep.
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.

Bulgarian Split Squat
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Stand just in front of a bench, box, stair, or chair, facing away from it, and hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Extend your left leg backward to place the toes of your left foot on the bench.
  • Make sure your right foot is out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle. (This may take a little adjusting.)
  • Bend your right knee, squeeze your left glute, and lower your pelvis toward the ground. Pause when your front thigh is parallel to the ground, or you've gone as low as is comfortable.
  • Press your right heel into the ground to straighten your right knee. That's one rep.
  • Do three sets of 12 reps on each leg.
Hex Bar Deadlift
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Hex Bar Deadlift

  • Load the hex bar with the weight of your choice. If you're new to the move, start by just using the bar without any additional weight.
  • Stand in the center of the hex bar with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend at your hips and knees as you grab the handles of the hex bar. Raise your hips up slightly, keeping your back flat, to create tension in the back of your legs (your hamstrings will feel tight).
  • Keeping your back flat and shoulders relaxed, drive your heels through the ground as you stand straight up.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of the lift to ensure you get full hip extension.
  • Continue to grasp the handles as you lower the weight to the ground with control. Be sure to keep your chest open and your back flat. That's one rep.
  • Do three sets of 10.
Single-Leg Extension
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Single-Leg Extension

  • Select your desired weight on the weight stack and insert the pin. A good weight to start with for beginners is five pounds. If you're more advanced, try 10 to 17.5 pounds.
  • Start in a seated position on the machine with your back flat against the backrest and your legs underneath the pad. Make any necessary adjustments to the pad so that it's right above your ankle.
  • With only your left leg, use your quadriceps to extend your leg until it's straight. (Your right leg should remain relaxed, hanging off the seat.) Hold for one second.
  • Slowly lower back down to your start position. That's one rep.
  • Do three sets of eight reps with each leg.

*To modify this exercise, extend both legs at the same time and increase the weight to 20 to 30 pounds.

Hamstring Curls
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

Hamstring Curls

  • Start by lying face down on the hamstring curl machine. The pad of the machine should be on the back of your legs at the bottom of your calves.
  • Keeping your body flat on the bench, lightly grasp the handles near the front to stabilize your upper body. Bend your knees to bring your heels toward your glutes, stopping once your knees have reached a 90-degree angle. Hold for one second.
  • Slowly lower down for three seconds. That's one rep.
  • Do three sets of 12.