Leg Day Workout for Beginners

Leg Day Workout for Beginners

If you’ve only done group fitness classes and cardio workouts at Bally Total Fitness but want to level up on your routine, then you may have considered leg day workouts. Here are beginner-friendly exercises you can try. For best results, do this routine 2-3 times per week, with at least one day of rest between each session. And before anything else, always warm up for 5-10 minutes before you start!

Bodyweight Squats

Bodyweight squats are an excellent exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps while engaging the core. Maintain proper form throughout the movement.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, toes angled slightly outward.
  • Clasp your hands together in front of your chest and engage your core.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Press your hips backward, as if sitting down in a chair. Keep your weight evenly distributed across your feet and your heels on the ground.
  • Allow your knees to bend as you continue lowering your glutes.
  • Aim to achieve a 90-degree bend at the knees, or lower if comfortable. Remember to keep your torso upright and your knees aligned with your toes.
  • Once you reach the desired depth, reverse the movement by pressing through your heels and returning to the standing position.

Standing Calf Raises

This is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the calves and helps improve balance and strength in the feet and ankles.

  • Stand next to a wall with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Place one or both hands on the wall and engage your core.
  • Check your posture to ensure that your ears are stacked over your shoulders.
  • Press through the balls of your feet and squeeze your calves to lift your heels off the floor.
  • Rise as high as you comfortably can on the balls of your feet.
  • Hold the raised position for a few seconds then slowly lower your heels back toward the floor.
  • Stop just before your heels touch the ground, and repeat the exercise.

Alternating Reverse Lunges

This is a compound exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart, maintaining good posture and engaging your core.
  • Step your right foot backward approximately two to three feet, planting the ball of your right foot on the ground.
  • Shift your weight slightly backward.
  • Your feet should still be hip-distance apart, maintaining a solid base of support.
  • Bend both knees and lower your right knee toward the ground while keeping your torso upright and core engaged.
  • Just before your knee touches the ground, reverse the movement and press through your left heel and the ball of your right foot.
  • Step your right foot forward to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise on the opposite side to complete one full repetition.

Alternating Side Lunges

Alternating side lunges are another effective compound exercise for the major muscles of the lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-distance apart, clasping your hands together.
  • Engage your core and take a step to the right with your right leg, angling your toes slightly outward.
  • Press your hips backward and bend your right knee, lowering your hips toward the floor.
  • Lower yourself as deep as is comfortable.
  • Press through your right heel as you rise to stand, bringing your right foot back to the starting position.
  • Immediately repeat the exercise to the opposite side to complete one full repetition.

Banded Lateral Side Steps

Banded lateral side steps are compound exercises that target the glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings, and the abductor muscles of the outer hips and thighs.

  • Place a small, looped resistance band around both legs, just above your ankles. Ensure that the band is taut but not overly tight.
  • Stand tall, clasping your hands together in front of your chest.
  • Engage your core and press your hips back, bending your knees into a half-squat position.
  • From this position, take a wide step to the right with your right foot, pressing against the resistance of the band.
  • Stay in the partial squat position and follow your right foot with your left foot.
  • Continue stepping to the right for 10 to 12 steps, then reverse the pattern and step to the left to work the opposite side.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges primarily target the glutes as an isolation exercise, but they also engage the hamstrings, quads, and core muscles.

  • Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent, feet planted hip-distance apart on the floor.
  • Extend your arms downward at your sides, pressing your palms into the mat.
  • Engage your core and squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips off the mat.
  • Continue lifting your hips until your body forms a straight, diagonal line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Hold the raised position for a moment, then slowly lower your hips back to the mat.
  • Stop just before your hips touch the mat, and repeat the exercise.

Start with bodyweight exercises and gradually increase the difficulty over time. Focus on proper form and engage your core throughout each exercise.

Here’s a video demo on how to do a glute bridge:

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