You only need five moves and a kettlebell to build lower body muscle

This short routine demonstrates how you can develop strength in your legs just using your bodyweight and a kettlebell

Woman performs a kettlebell squat
(Image credit: Getty)

If you want to improve the strength in your lower body, build muscle, and increase definition then look no further than recruiting your bodyweight and a kettlebell for your next workout. Rather than overcomplicate things by using as many bits of equipment as possible, this five-exercise routine keeps things simple yet effective.

Your lower body is a power house when it comes to sport and everyday life, hence why everyone should be using the best leg workouts to your advantage. A lot of people associate strength and muscle building with heavy lifting and assume they must learn how to deadlift properly with a barbell or crank up their pair of the best adjustable dumbbells to as heavy as they can go. 

Thankfully, this isn't the case and Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines (opens in new tab) has crafted together a lower body workout to use next time you are at the gym. All you will need is a kettlebell and a bench to lean against. You can also try this routine at home with either one of the best kettlebells or a weighted object that you can get a decent grip on and using a chair or step as a bench.

It's a beginner-friendly workout and one that Itsines regularly did during her first trimester of pregnancy. If you are pregnant and thinking about trying this routine, Itsines says, "Remember, please ensure that you seek permission from your health care professional before starting and while participating in any fitness program while pregnant."

Watch Kayla Itsines' Five-Move Lower-Body Workout

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This five move routine includes both compound exercise and isolation movements. The compound moves will recruit multiple muscles at once building muscle and helping to burn more calories. Meanwhile, the isolation moves will assist in building definition to a certain area such as the glutes during the single leg hip thrusts.

If you're up for improving your muscle endurance whilst growing lean muscle mass then we've listed all the exercises you will need to begin:

  • Kettlebell Romanian deadlift - 12 reps
  • Bodyweight walking lunges - 12 reps
  • Bodyweight single leg hip thrusts - 24 reps (12 per leg)
  • Bodyweight stepup - 12 reps
  • Kettlebell squat - 12 reps

It's the same for any kind of resistance training, or exercise, for that matter, but the more you do of it the more used to it your body becomes. While this is positive and shows your muscle strength has improved it does mean that you can face a plateau in progress. So, if you want to continue to grow in both strength and muscle then you will want to adopt progressive overload into your training.

You may not be keen on lifting heavy or feel safe doing so on your own so this might mean increasing the number of reps you do per exercise. Or you could add in some of the best resistance bands to the bodyweight moves for added tension. 

Don't forget to train your upper body too and give these shoulder bodyweight exercises a shot.

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.