Welcome to our 30-day legs challenge workout plan!
If you want leaner, longer-looking legs to rival a supermodel's (Heidi Klum allegedly insured hers for a staggering $2.2 million), then you've come to the right place. Our six-move plan won't just tone your legs, it'll help make them stronger too.
‘Strong legs are important to make sure your upper body is supported,’ says personal trainer Lucy Gornall. ‘You can then run with ease, without your legs tiring out.’
And those leg muscles are big, so working them out means plenty of calorie burn. What’s more, you’ll increase muscle tone, which decreases as you age, helping you with everyday activities, such as crouching down or reaching up on tiptoes.
‘Building muscle will boost your metabolism too, so fat burning will go on beyond your workout,’ adds Lucy.
Raring to go? First, you'll need to master the six key moves that comprise our 30-day legs challenge, before starting the challenge itself. Good luck!
30-day legs challenge: 6 key moves
This workout will target all your leg muscles, including hamstrings and quads (the front and back of your thighs) and calves – key for all you ballet-pump lovers, who tend to neglect this area.
We'll start with basic moves over the first half of the challenge, and then move on to more advanced moves. The latter requires access to a set of dumbbells - take a look at our list of the best adjustable dumbbells if you don't already own some.
Ready to get going with our 30-day legs challenge? Here are the moves you'll need to master...
Standing calf raises (basic)
- Stand with feet together and slowly rise up onto your tiptoes.
- Hold and lower back down.
- You can also do this on the edge of a step. Stand with heels with the majority of your foot hanging off the back of the step.
- Push down into your toes, so heels rise. Lower back down.
Not only will standing calf raises work your legs, they're also great for boosting balance, too.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Bend knees and push bottom back and down into a squat position.
- Avoid bending your knees over your toes.
- Keep chest up and look forwards.
- Push up through your legs and return to start.
Squats are a great move for quads. For more tips on correct form, see our article on how to do squats.
Single leg lifts (basic)
- Use a chair or the edge of the sofa.
- Lie on your back, arms by your sides, left foot on the chair, right leg straight up in the air.
- Press left foot into the chair and lift your whole body off the floor, without moving your head and shoulders.
- Lower down and repeat on other side to complete one rep.
Want more of a challenge? Replace the chair with an exercise ball, which will up the instability.
Calf raise with dumbbell (advanced)
- Perform a calf raise as above, but this time holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- You could also try performing this on one leg at a time to ensure one side isn't overworked.
Squats with weights (advanced)
- Perform a squat while holding a dumbbell in both hands.
- Elbows should be bent so the dumbbell is held close to your body.
Top tip: choose a weight that will challenge you, but don’t sacrifice your form for a heavier dumbbell, as you could injure yourself. This is why adjustable dumbbells are a great investment, as you can increase or decrease the load as your ability allows.
Romanian deadlifts (advanced)
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft, torso upright.
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, hang down in front of your body in overhand grip.
- Push your butt back, keeping legs fairly straight – your torso should end up almost parallel to the floor.
- Ensure head and neck stay in line with torso.
- Push your butt forward again – your torso should follow – until you’re back in the starting position.
This move works the hamstrings and glutes. For more tips on form, see out guide on how to deadlift.
30-day legs challenge: the workout plan
This plan starts of gentle and ups the intensity day-on-day. You may not feel much after the first day or two, but trust us - once you get to the end of the first week and beyond, you will!
If you're keen to up the intensity further, add some other leg-focused exercises into the mix over the course of the 30-day leg challenge. Jump rope is great for working out legs, or else knock out some squats or lunges while waiting for the kettle to boil.
Finally, don't forget to stretch before and after your workout to avoid injury. The plan also factors in rest days to encourage muscle growth - don't skip these! Instead use a foam roller to do some recovery exercises, focusing specifically on your leg muscles. If you don't already own one, we’ve picked the best foam rollers for you.
OK - let's do this!
5 x Standing calf raise
5 x Squat
5 x Single leg lift
7 x Standing calf raise
7 x Squat
7 x Single leg lift
9 x Standing calf raise
9 x Squat
9 x Single leg lift
REST DAY! Don't forget to use that foam roller...
11 x Standing calf raise
11 x Squat
11 x Single leg lift
13 x Standing calf raise
13 x Squat
13 x Single leg lift
15 x Standing calf raise
15 x Squat
15 x Single leg lift
17 x Standing calf raise
17 x Squat
17 x Single leg lift
19 x Standing calf raise
19 x Squat
19 x Single leg lift
21 x Standing calf raise
21 x Squat
21 x Single leg lift
23 x Standing calf raise
23 x Squat
23 x Single leg lift
25 x Standing calf raise
25 x Squat
25 x Single leg lift
5 x Calf raise with dumbbell
5 x Squat with dumbbell
5 x Romanian deadlift
7 x Calf raise with dumbbell
7 x Squat with dumbbell
7 x Romanian deadlift
9 x Calf raise with dumbbell
9 x Squat with dumbbell
9 x Romanian deadlift
11 x Calf raise with dumbbell
11 x Squat with dumbbell
11 x Romanian deadlift
13 x Calf raise with dumbbell
13 x Squat with dumbbell
13 x Romanian deadlift
15 x Calf raise with dumbbell
15 x Squat with dumbbell
15 x Romanian deadlift
17 x Calf raise with dumbbell
17 x Squat with dumbbell
1 x Romanian deadlift
19 x Calf raise with dumbbell
19 x Squat with dumbbell
19 x Romanian deadlift
21 x Calf raise with dumbbell
21 x Squat with dumbbell
21 x Romanian deadlift
23 x Calf raise with dumbbell
23 x Squat with dumbbell
23 x Romanian deadlift
25 x Calf raise with dumbbell
25 x Squat with dumbbell
25 x Romanian deadlift
You've completed our 30-day legs challenge - congratulations! Looking for your next fitness challenge? Give these a try...
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Natalia is a health and fitness journalist who has written for the likes of Woman & Home and Marie Claire, and likes to practice what she preaches when it comes to staying fit and well. She loves the outdoors and would happily swap the treadmill for the trail at any opportunity. As such, in her free time you'll likely find her up a mountain somewhere. She has hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents, including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (where she hiked to the top of Half Dome during her honeymoon) and the Atlas Mountains, as well hitting the summits of Snowdon and Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa and the Blue Mountains in Australia. She was also a fencer for 13 years, wielding an epée for Team GB during her teenage years. Having recently welcomed a baby, Natalia is currently getting back into her fitness routine, and has her sights set on completing a triathlon, something she and her husband started out on before their bundle of joy arrived.