You only need 15 minutes and these five moves to build strong legs

Develop lower body muscle with this personal trainer's five-move workout

Woman holding a squat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Working out your lower body does a whole lot more than just toning your glutes, developing leg muscle, and building your calves. Although training your bottom half can help you tick off all of the above, working out your legs can also aid in the process of making your joints stronger and maintaining good bone health. 

But if you’re short on time and feeling uninspired by your current lower body sessions, check out this personal trainer's five-move leg can be completed in just 15 minutes using a set of the best adjustable dumbbells, barbells, and a leg extension machine. 

Krissy Cela (opens in new tab), fitness expert and co-founder of the EvolveYou (opens in new tab) workout app, guides you through a range of compound moves that will help you work out multiple muscles all at once. If you're training at home, you can adapt the moves to use the dumbbells alone. 

These exercises will challenge some of the biggest muscles in the body like your gluteus maximus, your quadriceps, and your hamstrings. So if you're ready to get your pump on, keep reading. 

Watch Krissy Cela's five-move workout

Cela’s workout includes some of the best leg workout exercises. From squats — or a variation of them – to leg extension, single-leg Russian deadlifts and reverse lunges, the fitness trainer includes moves that get the lower body firing on all cylinders. 

The five moves you'll need to master for this workout include:

  1. Squats with pause – 1 rep with a 4 second hold x 6 reps/ 4 sets
  2. Single leg RDL – 12 reps x 4 sets each leg
  3. Reverse Lunge – 12 reps x 4 sets each leg
  4. Leg extension – 10 reps each with a 10-second hold
  5. Sumo squats – 8 reps x 4 sets 

If you're new to working out or are in the process of broadening your lower leg exercises, in this 15-minute workout, Cela shows you how to perform each move, along with offering up some alterations on how you could perform these exercises with a different type of weight — be it a dumbbell or by using your own bodyweight.

Cela also shares insight on which muscles each exercise targets and an explanation of what is happening in your body as you perform these moves. For example, you might be wondering why Cela has chosen to include squats with a pause.

“That pause is going to completely ruin your legs,” Cela explains. “That time under tension is going to significantly increase that lactic acid all over your leg, giving you that pump that you so love.”

But before you get into these moves, the fitness expert recommends completing some dynamic movements to warm up your limbs, joints, and muscles prior to putting them under any form of resistance training. 

She says: “Dynamic movements focus on lubricating and warming your muscles and joints up and getting your heart rate up slightly and getting that blood circulating all over your body, getting you ready for much heavier movements.”

For more ways to train your lower body, or how to perform squats check out our handy step-by-step guides or take on this 30-day legs challenge.

Becks is a freelance journalist and writer with more than 7 years of experience in the field. She writes health and lifestyle content for a range of titles including Live Science, Top Ten Reviews, Tom’s Guide, Stylist, The Independent, and more. She also ghostwrites for a number of Physiotherapists and Osteopaths. 


Health has been a big part of Becks’ lifestyle since time began. When she’s not writing about the topic of health, she’s in the gym learning new compound exercises. And when she’s not in the gym, she’s most probably reading.