Strengthen your lower body in just 15 minutes without weights

This short bodyweight routine builds leg muscle and boosts your metabolism in 15 minutes

Woman doing a lunge
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're not a fan of dedicated leg workouts, skipping your lower body and building upper body muscle can be tempting. However, using this trainer's short routine, you can strengthen your legs in as little as 15 minutes and without any equipment.

Although investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells can be a great way to add resistance to bodyweight moves like squats and lunges, it's only sometimes practical to keep weights nearby, especially if you're away from home or can't get to the gym.

That's what makes Thenx (opens in new tab) trainer Chris Heria's 15-minute session ideal for a quick lower-body workout. You'll pack 15 multi-muscle compound exercises into the time, working for 45 seconds with a 15-second rest between moves.

It's an intense and effective session, as Heria explains: "We're going to hit every muscle in our lower body, from our quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, adductors, abductors, and the many other muscles in between."

It's essential to focus on your technique if you want to get the best results from your training. Helpfully, Heria demonstrates each of the moves so you can perfect your form, improve your performance, avoid injury, and build lower body muscle.

Watch Thenx's 15-minute leg workout

This exercise style is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to challenge your muscles by working out in short, intense bursts with minimal rest. Often, you'll need weights like dumbbells or one of the best kettlebells, but Heria's routine relies on your body weight alone.

That doesn't make it any less effective, as the use of compound exercises like lunges and squats work several areas simultaneously for a time-efficient muscle-building workout. Keeping the intensity high has other benefits besides building strength when you're tight on time.

Reducing the rest periods and exercising intensely also raises your heart rate, burning more energy during the session than an equivalent steady-pace routine. And sustaining this higher heart rate boosts your metabolism, the energy you burn at rest, for all-day fat-burning.

In this way, it's similar to a high-intensity HIIT workout for fat loss, which focuses on cardio exercise rather than resistance training moves. If you prefer using weights to get muscle-building and fat-burning results, it's also worth learning how to do kettlebell swings.

Though, if you're looking to add several lower body exercises into your existing routine, consider using some of the best leg workouts for building strength. You don't need equipment for most of the moves either, although you can add a weight to increase the intensity.

James Frew
Staff Writer

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer 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.