12 Leg Strengthening Exercises For Women To Get Toned Legs

Tone and strengthen your legs by incorporating these into your workout routine.

Reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, BPT
Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health
Fact-checked by Sindhu Koganti, Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Exercises for legs and thighs can help strengthen your lower body. If you are an outdoor sports enthusiast, a dancer, a bodybuilder, or someone seeking self-defense training, you must focus on strengthening the lower body.

Strong, toned legs speak volumes about how you treat your body. Exercises like squats, sumo squats, leg extensions, glute bridges, step-ups, box jumps, wall sits, and side lunges greatly help to strengthen and tone your lower body. You can add oomph to any outfit with sculpted legs.

Here are 12 amazing leg workouts to help you build lean, strong legs. You can do these exercises every day for 20 minutes in your home or gym. Usually, you will see results within two weeks. So, without further ado, scroll down to check them out.

protip_icon Leg Strengthening Exercises For Women
  • Frequency: 2–3 times per week
  • Benefits: Improve bone health, tone the leg muscles, and increase stability.
  • Equipment Needed: Dumbbells, kettlebell, sled, leg press machine, resistance band.
  • Space Required: Large area
  • Assistance Required: Yes, for certain exercises
  • Who Should Avoid: People with ankle problems, back injuries, or knee issues.

12 Best Leg Strengthening Exercises For Women

Before you start full-on with your leg exercises, you must warm up. Here’s a 10-minute warm-up routine to guide you.

Warm-up

  • Neck tilts – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Elbow circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Wrist circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • On spot jogging – 2 minutes
  • Standing toe touch – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Lateral lunges – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Calf raises – 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Ankle circles – 1 set of 10 reps

Now, you can begin with your leg strengthening exercises. Here’s what you’ve got to do.

1. Dumbbell Squats

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower back

How To Do
  1. Hold a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest out, roll your shoulders back, and engage your core.
  2. Flex your elbows and bring the dumbbells right over your shoulders, with the dumbbell heads facing forward. This is the starting position.
  3. Push your buttocks out, flex your knees, and lower your body into a sitting stance. Do not let your knees overshoot your toes.
  4. Hold this pose for a moment and then get back to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 15 reps

2. Goblet Squats

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower back

How To Do
  1. Hold a 12-pound kettlebell with both hands.
  2. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders rolled back, chest out, look ahead, and engage your core.
  3. Push your buttocks out, flex your knees, and lower your body into a sitting stance. Do not let your knees overshoot your toes.
  4. Hold this pose for a moment and then get back to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 15 reps

protip_icon Quick Tip
Always hold the kettlebell close to your body. Extending your arms can put unnecessary pressure on the biceps and affect the form.

3. Curtsy Lunge

Image: Youtube

Target – Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip adductors

How To Do
  1. Stand straight with your feet close together. Place your hands on your waist, roll your shoulders back, and keep your core engaged. This is the starting position.
  2. Lift your right leg off the floor and place it diagonally at the back, more toward your left leg. Get into a lunge/curtsy position.
  3. Get your right leg back to the starting position.
  4. Do the same with your left leg. This completes one repetition.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps

4. Wide Stance Barbell Squat

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, and hip flexors

How To Do
  1. Hold a barbell (with or without weights), take it over your head and place it gently against the back of your shoulders.
  2. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, core engaged, shoulders rolled back, and chest out. This is the starting position.
  3. Squat down and get back up to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 8 reps

5. Leg Press

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and calves

How To Do
  1. Adjust the weight in the leg press machine.
  2. Sit on the leg press machine and rest your feet on the leg rest. This is the starting position.
  3. Push the leg rest so that your legs are fully extended.
  4. Slowly flex your knees and get back to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 15 reps

6. Lying Leg Curls

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Hamstrings, calves, quads, and glutes.

How To Do
  1. Lie on your chest on the leg curl machine. Anchor your legs to the padded cylindrical roll near your legs.
  2. Hold the side handle for support. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your knees and bring your lower legs up.
  4. Lower them slowly. This completes one repetition.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

protip_icon Quick Tip
Keeping the padded lever too high on your calves may put pressure on your Achilles tendon and affect your range of motion.

7. Side Lying Leg Raises

Image: Youtube

Target – Adductors, hip flexors, and glutes.

How To Do
  1. Lie down on your right side on a mat.
  2. Support your upper body by flexing your arm and placing your right palm on your head, beside your right ear.
  3. Place your left palm in front of you on the mat. Place your left leg on top of the right leg. This is the starting position.
  4. Raise your left leg to a 60-degree angle.
  5. Bring it back down.
  6. Do this 9 times more.
  7. Lie down on your left side and raise your right leg 10 times.
  8. This completes one set.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

8. Sled Push

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

How To Do
  1. Bend down and hold the two vertical bars of sled equipment. Make sure your hands are fully extended, stand in a staggered position. This is the starting position.
  2. Use your lower body strength to push the sled.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 15 steps to push the sled

9. Sled Drag

Image: Youtube

Target – Hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Attach a resistance band to the sled.
  2. Hold the handles of the resistance band and turn around to face away from the sled, hands fully extended at the back, and maintain a staggered position. Bend down a little to be able to generate enough power to move forward.
  3. Start walking and drag the sled with you as you do so.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 15 steps to drag the sled

10. Lateral Sled Drag

Image: Youtube

Target – Abductors, adductors, quads, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Hold the handles of the resistance band attached to the sled and turn to your side.
  2. Make sure your hands are fully extended, and you are in a “pulling” pose.
  3. Start walking sideways. Pull the sled as you do so.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 15 steps to drag the sled

11. Mountain Climbers

Image: Shutterstock

Target – Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors

How To Do
  1. Get into a plank position. Keep your core engaged, and your hips and back should be in the same line.
  2. Flex your right knee and bring it closer to your chest.
  3. Bring your right foot back to the starting position.
  4. Just when you place your right foot on the floor, hop on your left leg, flex your left knee, and bring your left knee close to your chest.
  5. Place your left leg back on the floor.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 20 reps

12. Stepping Side Kicks

Image: Youtube

Target – Adductors, abductors, quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Stand 2-3 feet away from a kickboxing bag. Stand sideways with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Flex your knees a little. Fist your palms and get into a “fighter” pose.
  2. Take a step with your right leg and bring it close to your left leg. As you do so, push your butt out toward your left and the bag.
  3. Lift your left leg and flex your left knee, bend a little toward your right.
  4. Extend your leg and kick the bag.
  5. Flex your left knee again and place your left foot on the floor.
  6. Do this 9 times more to complete one set.
  7. Turn to the other side and do the same with your right leg.
Sets And Reps

4 sets of 10 reps

A strong lower body is essential to achieve a proper balance and look fit. Include additional plyometric exercises for the legs and thighs, such as mountain climbers, deadlifts, leg press, inner thigh lifts, outer thigh lifts, and Bulgarian split squats along with cardio exercises like cycling and running in your fitness regimen. The leg-strengthening exercises listed above help you get toned and strong legs by working on the glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, hip adductors and flexors, calves, and abductors. Make sure you warm up for at least 10 minutes before starting these workouts to avoid injury. Consult a doctor if you have any specific health issues concerning your lower body before getting started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What deficiency causes weakness in the legs?

Vitamins B1 and D deficiency may often cause muscle weakness and pain in the arms and legs (1), (2).

Does walking strengthen your legs?

Yes. Walking is a good low-impact exercise that helps improve blood flow in the legs and enhances muscle strength.

What vitamins should I take for weak legs?

The intake of foods rich in vitamins B1, B12, C, and D may help strengthen weak legs.

How long does it take to strengthen weak leg muscles?

You will likely notice changes within eight weeks after starting a leg strengthening exercise routine and following a nutritious diet. Take a further step and add in resistance band leg exercises, leg adduction exercises, and leg abduction exercises to really strengthen and tone your lower body.

What foods strengthen weak legs?

Lean proteins, full-fat dairy, and fat-rich fruits like avocados, whole-grain bread, and nuts help strengthen weak legs.

Is magnesium good for leg weakness?

Magnesium deficiency is one of the common causes of muscle cramps and leg weakness. Hence, including foods that are rich in magnesium may improve leg weakness. However, do not self-medicate and consult a doctor before taking supplements.

Key Takeaways

  • Leg strengthening exercises target your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves and build your leg muscles and tone your thighs.
  • Start with warm-up exercises for 10 minutes before beginning with leg exercises.
  • Then proceed with exercises that target your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower back like dumbbell and goblet squats
  • Try side lying leg raises to strengthen your adductors, hip flexors, and glutes.


Achieve slender legs through simple yet effective leg exercises. Take a moment to watch this video and discover valuable techniques to tone and strengthen your calves, resulting in a leaner, more sculpted appearance. Watch it now!

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019700/
  2. Concealing Clothing Leading to Severe Vitamin D Deficiency Osteomalacia and Muscle Weakness
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698119/
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