Build leg muscle faster (and without weights) with three easy moves

Longer reps are the key to personal trainer India Morse's effective lower body workout

Woman doing a squat outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Many of us don't enjoy leg workouts. The burn in your thighs can be pretty intense, plus you might feel that working your upper body has more immediate benefits. But with this short routine, you can optimize your lower body training and build practical muscle.

If you find the idea of a dedicated leg day a bit off-putting, no need: our guide to the best leg workouts offers a simple introduction to lower-body training you can do at home. However, for times when you're after a much shorter lower body burn, you can do this quick three-move bodyweight session and get leg day over and done with fast.

The routine comes from personal trainer India Morse and is designed to build leg muscle, but these compound moves also work other areas of your body. Squats, for example, utilize your core – your abdominals and lower back, responsible for stability and posture.

In the tutorial video, India uses a kettlebell and dumbbell for two of the moves. However, if you don't have a set of weights or would prefer to use your body weight alone, you can do that too. This makes the routine ideal for when you're away from home or traveling.

Watch India Morse's three-move leg workout

Morse suggests holding each rep for a few seconds before returning to your starting position. This is because "it makes an exercise harder by increasing time under tension with the absolute burn."

If you're just starting out or want to make your training more effective, the trainer demonstrates each move. This way, you can perfect your form to avoid injury and optimize the exercises for maximum benefit.

The three exercises you need are lateral lunges, Bulgarian split lunges, and squat jumps. These moves are bodyweight staples, but refreshing yourself on how to do a squat can have a massive payoff when working your lower body.

Once you're comfortable with the bodyweight variations, you can take things up a notch by adding a set of the best adjustable dumbbells into the mix. These space-saving weights combine multiple dumbbells into a single unit so that you can train flexibly.

Likewise, the best kettlebells are an excellent addition to any home gym setup. These off-center weights are ideal for improving stability and core strength, plus some are adjustable too, allowing you to increase the load as you build muscle.

Once you've got a selection of weights, you can then learn how to deadlift with dumbbells to continue working your lower body or try out this five-move kettlebell workout to train your core muscles.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.