Develop lower body muscle and define your leg muscle with just five exercises

This resistance session will build muscle in your legs and improve overall lower body strength

Woman lunging with a barbell on her shoulders
(Image credit: Getty)

Do you ever decide which part of your body you want to train but suddenly lose all sense of imagination when it comes to deciding what exercises to use? It happens to the best of us. This five-move lower body routine has wiped out the thinking part for you and is designed to grow and define the different muscles across your legs.

The best leg workouts should include exercises that target all the big muscles in your lower body, like your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. Both bodyweight and weighted leg exercises can get you great results but for this gym-based routine, you will need to get your hands on some weights, including one of the best kettlebells and some larger gym equipment like the squat rack.

Fitness trainer Brittany Lupton (opens in new tab) will walk you through this routine showing you what equipment is required and how to perform each exercise with good form. Proper form is essential during any form of exercise but is especially important when you are lifting heavy loads that limit your range of motion.

Lupton uses a mix of compound and unilateral exercises in her leg building routine. Compound exercises are moves that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. The squat is a great example since it works your quads, glutes, and calves all at once. Meanwhile unilateral exercises train one limb at a time, in this case one leg at a time, like Bulgarian split squats, which are included in this workout.

There are five exercises in total to work through and you will complete three to four rounds of each with varying reps according to each move.

Watch Brittany Lupton's Five Move Lower Body Workout

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The great thing about strength training with free weights is that you can tailor the weight size to your individual abilities. Rather than copy the weight Lupton is working with, pick a weight that will challenge you but won't hinder you from completing a full set of reps. 

The weight loads will vary throughout this workout as you move through the different exercises, for example, unilateral moves typically require lighter loads as the demand is on one side of the body as opposed to both. When you are ready to give the workout a go, you can find a full breakdown of the reps and sets below:

  • Barbell back squats: 4 x 10,8,4,4
  • Bulgarian split squats: 4 x 8
  • Deficit reverse lunge: 4 x 8
  • Sumo squat: 4 x 8
  • Leg extensions: 3x12

If you are looking to implement this into your weekly workout routine then consider applying progressive overload to your training in order to avoid hitting a plateau. This is when you gradually increase the weight that you are working with. 

Those who workout at home can still use progressive overload for their strength workouts, either by increasing the number of reps per exercise or you can move up weight from some of the best adjustable dumbbells.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.