30-day legs challenge: longer, stronger legs in just one month!

Our 30-day legs challenge will lengthen and strengthen your lower limbs

30-day legs challenge: woman with strong, toned legs doing a lunge exercise
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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)

30 day legs challenge: woman demonstrating standing calf raises

(Image credit: Future)
  • 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.

Squats (basic)

30 day legs challenge: woman demonstrating squats

(Image credit: Future)
  • 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)

30 day legs challenge: woman demonstrating single leg lift

(Image credit: Future)
  • 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)

30 day legs challenge: woman demonstrating calf raises with dumbbells

(Image credit: Future)
  • 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)

30 day legs challenge: woman demonstrating squats with dumbbell

(Image credit: Future)
  • 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)

30 day legs challenge: woman demonstrating Romanian deadlift

(Image credit: Future)
  • 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!

Day 1

5 x Standing calf raise

5 x Squat

5 x Single leg lift

Day 2

7 x Standing calf raise

7 x Squat

7 x Single leg lift

Day 3

9 x Standing calf raise

9 x Squat

9 x Single leg lift

Day 4

REST DAY! Don't forget to use that foam roller...

Day 5

11 x Standing calf raise

11 x Squat

11 x Single leg lift

Day 6

13 x Standing calf raise

13 x Squat

13 x Single leg lift

Day 7

15 x Standing calf raise

15 x Squat

15 x Single leg lift

Day 8


Day 9

17 x Standing calf raise

17 x Squat

17 x Single leg lift

Day 10

19 x Standing calf raise

19 x Squat

19 x Single leg lift

Day 11

21 x Standing calf raise

21 x Squat

21 x Single leg lift

Day 12


Day 13

23 x Standing calf raise

23 x Squat

23 x Single leg lift

Day 14

25 x Standing calf raise

25 x Squat

25 x Single leg lift

Day 15


Day 16

5 x Calf raise with dumbbell

5 x Squat with dumbbell

5 x Romanian deadlift

Day 17

7 x Calf raise with dumbbell

7 x Squat with dumbbell

7 x Romanian deadlift

Day 18

9 x Calf raise with dumbbell

9 x Squat with dumbbell

9 x Romanian deadlift

Day 19


Day 20

11 x Calf raise with dumbbell

11 x Squat with dumbbell

11 x Romanian deadlift

Day 21

13 x Calf raise with dumbbell

13 x Squat with dumbbell

13 x Romanian deadlift

Day 22

15 x Calf raise with dumbbell

15 x Squat with dumbbell

15 x Romanian deadlift

Day 23


Day 24

17 x Calf raise with dumbbell

17 x Squat with dumbbell

1 x Romanian deadlift

Day 25

19 x Calf raise with dumbbell

19 x Squat with dumbbell

19 x Romanian deadlift

Day 26

21 x Calf raise with dumbbell

21 x Squat with dumbbell

21 x Romanian deadlift

Day 27


Day 28

23 x Calf raise with dumbbell

23 x Squat with dumbbell

23 x Romanian deadlift

Day 29

25 x Calf raise with dumbbell

25 x Squat with dumbbell

25 x Romanian deadlift

Day 30


You've completed our 30-day legs challenge - congratulations! Looking for your next fitness challenge? Give these a try...

Natalia Lubomirski

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.