Pick and Choose From Over 40 Leg Exercises to Customize Your #LegDay
It's our favorite day — leg day! But not everyone loves lunges, and some people hate squats! It's OK, because you can customize your leg day and create a plan that works for you. We have over 40 exercises to choose from — weights, no weights, on the floor, standing up, all the squats you can imagine . . . the possibilities are endless. Choose your favorites and create the leg-day workout of your dreams.
- Stand with the feet together, arms out wide. Raise your right leg out to the side, balancing on your left foot.
- Swing the right leg in front of the left, and then swing it back out to the side.
- Repeat on the left side.
Standing Dirty Dog
- Start standing with your feet hip-width distance apart, hands on the hips.
- With your core engaged and a solid standing right leg, lift your left leg out to the side, squeezing your waist and hip.
- Lower the left leg down, barely touching the ground with your left toes, then lift that leg again.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Lie on your back and place your hands on the floor for stability as you bend one leg and lift the other leg off the ground.
- Pressing your heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a stiff bridge position.
- Slowly lower your body to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms reaching overhead, pulling your abs away from the floor to protect and lengthen your lower back. Lift your legs, arms, and head off the mat.
- Keeping your knees straight, lift your entire right leg and left arm a few inches away from the floor. As you lower your right leg and left arm, lift your left leg and right arm away from the mat to complete one rep.
- Continue alternating sides in a slow, controlled manner, keeping your torso stable.
Pilates Inner-Thigh Leg Lifts
- Lying on your side, lengthen your bottom leg and cross your top leg over it. Rest either your knee or foot on the floor. Prop your head up with your hand or rest your head on your arm.
- As you exhale, lift your bottom leg up and inhale as you lower it back down. Your torso should stay still while you do this.
Side Saddle Leg Lifts
- Start on your side with your legs extended, flexing both feet. Place your top hand on the ground in front of your abs and your supporting arm under your head. Make sure your bottom leg stays extended for the whole duration of the series.
- Keeping the energy reaching out through your flexed heels, lift your top leg up about six to eight inches from the floor. From here, make tiny pulses upward 20 times. Holding your leg at the highest point of your lift, draw one-inch circles with your heel for 20 reps.
- Keeping your top leg lifted, bend and straighten your knee. Do this 20 times while not letting your thigh lower as you press through the heel to lengthen your top leg to the straightened position. For an even greater burn, finish this series with lifts in a bigger range of motion, taking the foot all the way toward the ceiling and back down 10 to 20 times.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor.
- Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position.
- Do one basic push-up, bending the elbows and then straightening back to a plank.
- Jump the feet forward to the hands and come into a squat.
- Do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can.
- Begin in a plank position. Jump your feet to the outside of your hands, coming into a deep squat and keeping your hands on the floor.
- Jump your feet back to a plank.
- Begin in the plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your body in one straight line, and your feet together.
- Like the motion of jumping jacks, jump your legs wide apart and then back together to complete a rep. Jump as quickly as you want, but keep your pelvis steady and don't let your booty rise toward the ceiling.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips (or at the back of your head) with your elbows opened wide.
- Pull your abs to your spine and keep your back neutral while pressing your butt backward, hinging at the hips until your back is almost parallel to the floor.
- Keep a slight bend in your knees as you hinge forward.
- Return to standing, squeezing your glutes when you are upright to reset. This completes one rep.
- Stand holding a pair of medium-weight dumbbells in each hand, arms at your sides, with your knees slightly bent.
- Keeping your arms straight and knees slightly bent, slowly bend at your hip joint (not your waist) and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight. Looking forward, not at the ground, will help you avoid rounding your back. Keep the weights close to and almost touching your legs.
- Squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up. Be sure not to use your back or round your spine!
Split Squat With Overhead Press
- Holding the weights at your shoulders with your palms facing out, step backward about three feet with your left foot. Press the weights up to the ceiling.
- Lower the weights to your shoulders as you bend your knees, making 90-degree angles with both legs.
- Straighten both legs as you press the weights back toward the ceiling. This completes one rep. Switch legs and repeat.
Side Lunge With Biceps Curl
- Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand with your feet and knees together. Perform a biceps curl by bending your elbows to bring the weights to your shoulders.
- Lower your arms toward the floor as you take a large step to the left with your left foot, lunging toward the floor. Make sure your left knee does not extend past your toes and keep your right leg relatively straight.
- As you push off through your left foot to return to standing, perform a biceps curl.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width with your toes pointed slightly out. Hold your dumbbell at chest level with both hands. Keeping your back flat, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your elbows touch your knees.
- With your weight focused in your heels, push yourself up to the starting position.
- Come into a lunge with your right leg back. Swing your right leg forward to hop up on your left foot and land softly back in a lunge.
Alternating Reverse Lunge
- Stand with feet together. Take a controlled lunge (or large step) backward with your left foot.
- Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor and your right knee is positioned directly over your ankle. Keep your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor. Your left heel should be lifted.
- Step the left foot in, and lunge back with the right foot.
Split Lunge Jumps
- Stand with your feet together and your knees soft. Jump and come into a lunge with your left leg forward.
- Push off with both feet, jumping them together, then hop into a lunge with your right leg in front.
- Jump your feet back together to complete one rep.
Reverse Lunge and Press
- Stand with your feet together, holding the weights at your shoulders with your palms facing out.
- Step your left foot back, coming into a lunge, making 90-degree angles with your front and back knees.
- Push off your left foot, bringing your left knee forward so it is even with your left hip while raising your arms above your head. Do this motion with control.
- Without touching the floor with your left foot, step back into the lunge to start your second rep.
Glider Side Lunge
- Stand with your feet a few inches apart with your right foot on a plastic lid or paper plate. Make a fist with one hand and cup your other hand over it. Keep your hands in front of your chest throughout the exercise to help you stay balanced.
- Put weight into your left leg, and as you slowly bend your left knee and squat down, slide your right foot out to the side. Then, as you slowly straighten your leg, slide the right foot back in. Most of your weight remains in the leg that's not moving.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand or a medicine ball. Extend your arms down at your sides if you are holding dumbbells, or hold the medicine ball in front of you with arms extended.
- Take a large step diagonally forward with your right foot, planting your foot at the 11 o'clock position. Sink down until your thighs form right angles. As you bend your knees, curl the dumbbells toward your upper arms or the medicine ball toward your chest.
- Extend your legs, lift your right knee and bring it in toward your chest, and lower your arms. Step back with your right leg, this time lunging behind your torso and stepping back to the 8 o'clock position. As you sink down into the reverse lunge, complete another biceps curl. This completes one rep.
Side Lunge to Curtsy
- Holding a five- to 10-pound weight in your right hand, side lunge to the left, bringing your right hand to your right foot. Lower your butt as much as possible while sinking back into your heels. Keep your toes pointed forward and your left knee bent to no more than 90 degrees.
- Push off gently with your left foot, and come into a curtsy position with your left leg crossing behind your right as you press your weight overhead. Keep your hips square and your curtsy tight. Both feet should be pointed forward. This completes one rep.
- Repeat by stepping immediately into a side lunge from the curtsy.
- Stand with your feet touching. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest to help you stay balanced and bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, bringing your thighs parallel with the floor if you can. Be sure to keep weight back in your heels.
- Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
- This counts as one rep.
Squat and Reach
- Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
- Keeping your weight in your heels, sit back into your deep squat. Make sure your knees do not go beyond your toes.
- Holding your squat, raise both of your arms overhead. Hold this position for a moment, and then return to standing while lowering your arms to your sides. This completes one rep.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.
- When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
Jump-Squat Heel Click
- Begin with the feet slightly wider than your hips, bend your knees, and, keeping your weight in your heels, squat.
- Jump up as high as you can and bring your feet together so they touch.
- Land quietly back into a squat. This makes for one rep.
- Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your weight back in your heels.
- Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most from the exercise.
Pulsing Sumo Squat
- Start in second position with your legs opened wide to the sides and your toes turned slightly outward. Placing your hands on your hips, bend your knees, going as low as you can. Make sure your shoulders remain directly over your hips and your knees are in line with your feet.
- While holding second position, make small pulses up and down, moving about an inch.
Sumo Squat Jump
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out, arms resting on your hips.
- Bend your knees and plié, then jump up explosively. Keep your core engaged.
- Land with control, lowering your body back into the squat position to complete one rep.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell at each shoulder.
- Slowly bend your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair, keeping all the weight in your heels. Don't let your knees move beyond your toes, and don't let the knees roll out or in. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest lifted, your spine long, and your shoulders relaxed.
- Press through your heels and slowly straighten your legs to stand up. Make sure to keep your spine neutral. Do not round your back.
Narrow Squat With Back Kick
- Stand with your feet touching. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest or on your hips and bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Be sure to keep weight back in your heels.
- Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, and lift the left leg behind you for a back kick. Lower the foot back to the floor in a narrow squat position.
- Do another squat, then straighten the leg, do a back kick with the right leg, and step the right foot back to meet the left.
- This counts as one rep.
Basic Squat With Side-Leg Lift
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, feet parallel. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor, keeping your weight back in your heels.
- Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and lifting the right leg out to the side, squeezing the outer glute.
- As you step the foot back into shoulder-width-distance position, squat down again. Then stand up and do a side leg lift on the left side. Lower the leg back to the starting position.
- This counts as one rep.
- Find a step or a bench so when you place your foot squarely on it, your knee is at a 90-degree angle or larger.
- Step up with the right foot, then the left, bringing both feet completely onto the bench.
- To return to the starting position, lead with the right foot to step down to the floor, then the left, until ending with both feet on the ground.
- Switch legs and start stepping with the left foot.
- Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet about two feet in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart.
- Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90-degree angles. Your knee joints should be over your ankle joints, so you may need to inch your feet farther from the wall to create proper alignment. Don't let your knees fall into the midline of your body or sway outward.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, and then stand up.
Elbow Plank With Leg Lift
- Place your right elbow on the ground. Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line and you're balancing on the outside edge of your right foot. Flex both feet if you can, and rest your left hand on your upper hip.
- Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip. Then slowly lower it back to your bottom leg.
- Keep your waist up and lifted, and don't sink into your bottom shoulder.
- Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- Keep your right knee at a 90-degree angle as you slowly raise your leg behind you until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Pulse your flexed foot toward the ceiling by squeezing your glutes. Your back should remain perfectly still in a neutral spine. The motion should be small and controlled with the muscle doing the work and not momentum.
- Return to start position to complete one rep.
Weighted Donkey Kick
- Start on all fours and place a dumbbell in the crease of your right knee.
- Keeping your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your back straight, lift your right leg up until you feel your right glute engage. Flex your foot and slowly pulse the foot toward the ceiling by squeezing your glute. Do not move the torso at all — the motion is just in the hip joint.
Plank Booty Leg Lifts
- Lie on your belly on an exercise ball and walk your hands out so the ball is underneath your shins. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders.
- Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your abs, which will help keep your spine straight and your body stabilized.
- Lift your left leg up into the air, and then slowly lower it back toward the ball, but don't let it touch. This counts as one repetition. Keep your pelvis level throughout your reps.
- Lie on your back holding an exercise ball above your chest, extending your feet up toward the ceiling.
- On an exhale, move your arms and legs away from each other, lowering both toward the ground. Inhale to bring them back toward each other, and transfer the ball from your hands to your legs.
- Then lower your arms and legs toward the floor away from each other.
- Bring them back together, transferring the ball back to your hands.
Lying Hamstring Curl
- Start by lying flat on your back with an exercise ball under your heels. Bridge your hips up with knees slightly bent and hold that position through the entire exercise. A slight bend in the knee allows you to focus the work more in the glutes while also protecting the knee joints.
- Flex your feet and dig your heels into the ball. Place your arms straight out to your side for support — don't use them, though; they are just for support.
- Slowly roll the ball toward your body as you curl your heels. Keep your hips in the bridge position; don't thrust them toward the ceiling as you do the move.
- Then slowly return to the starting position to complete one rep.
Superman Booty Lifts
- Lie on your belly and hold an exercise ball between your feet. Engage your abs and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10, then slowly release your body back to the floor.
Bridge With Squeeze
- Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart. Place a pillow, a ball, or a toning ring between your knees.
- Push up into a bridge. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis.
- Without raising or lower your pelvis, slowly squeeze your pillow 20 times. Lower the pelvis and bring your knees to your chest to round and relax your back.
- Start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg and crossing your right leg behind you. Bring your left hand to the floor, squatting low in the cross-legged position. This completes one rep.
- Reverse directions by jumping to the right with your right leg.
- Position your feet hip-width apart.
- Slowly raise your heels until you're on your tiptoes, then slowly lower back down to the ground. Take three slow counts to raise and lower your heels.