12 Leg Strengthening Exercises For Women To Get Toned Legs

Reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, BPT
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

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. 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.

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

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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

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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

3. Curtsy Lunge

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

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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

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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

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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

7. Side Lying Leg Raises

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

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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

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

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

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

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. Therefore, including exercises for legs and thighs in your fitness regimen is necessary. 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.

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author
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Dr. Sudhansu Singh

(BPT)
Dr. Sudhansu Singh is a Physiotherapist, Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, and Neuro Physiotherapist with 8 years of experience. He is... more

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