Nine moves and no weight to build muscle strength in your glutes and legs

Grab a set of bands or just use your body weight to develop muscle in your lower body

Woman doing donkey kick exercise
(Image credit: Getty)

The idea that weights and gym machines are the only way you can build real strength and muscle isn’t accurate and doesn’t work for everybody. You can create some serious definition and muscle endurance with just your own body weight or with some resistance bands thrown into the mix. Why not give this nine-move, no weights, lower body routine a try.

Some of the best resistance bands come in sets where you have access to smaller bands and larger bands which allow you to perform various different resistance exercises. For this workout it helps to have access to a mini band and a longer band, but if you don’t have any equipment nearby, you can also use only 

your body weight for every move. 

This workout comes from Britany Williams (opens in new tab), a NASM-qualified personal trainer who teaches HIIT and barre training. For this workout, she has put together exercises specially designed to train your leg and glute muscles. It’s perfect for anyone who prefers working out at home or for when you don’t have any equipment but still want to exercise, like when on holiday or when your gym is shut.

There are nine moves in total to complete and Williams recommends aiming to complete 15-20 reps for each exercise except for two, where instead of reps you will just work for a set amount of time. You’ll repeat the full routine three times to really target those lower body muscles helping to develop muscle strength in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

Watch Britany Williams's nine-move bodyweight and bands lower-body workout

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These kinds of exercises will help to build resilience across your muscles, especially while using bands as they increase the level of resistance for your strength-based exercises. 

If you’re looking to increase muscle growth then it’s a good idea to increase the time under tension for each move. This is referring to the time you use putting strain on your muscles, for example, the slower you do a movement the more tension you are creating. When we cause tiny tears in our muscles, they then repair and grow from this.

The more familiar your body becomes with isolated exercises for different muscle groups the more you can challenge your muscles. We’ve listed all the moves you will need for this lower body strength-building routine.

  • Sumo Squat Pulse (25-30 seconds)
  • Alt Forward Lunge
  • Deadlift
  • Single Leg Elevated Bridge
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Duck Walk (25-30 seconds)
  • Donkey Kick
  • Clam with Hip Lift

If you’re just sticking to using your own body weight for this session, research published in the Physiology and Behaviour (opens in new tab) journal that body weight resistance training helps build muscle ‘independent of an external load’. The researchers gained some impressive findings from a 10-week body weight training program subscribed to by a group of female participants. They noticed a 33% improvement in aerobic capacity, an increase in muscle endurance, especially in the core (11%) and they saw a 6% gain in lower body power.

There’s a lot to be said for strengthening and growing muscles without using heavy weight or big resistance machines. Whatever your preferred method of strength training is, it’s important that you maintain a high protein diet. Protein is a key ingredient for muscle growth and recovery. If you struggle to fit protein into all your meals, you can add one of the best protein powders for women into your morning oats or post-workout smoothie.

Jessica Downey
Jessica Downey

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.