Beginner Lower Body Workout for Strength

This lower body workout includes common exercises that target the glutes, hips, and thighs. The moves are perfect if you're just getting back to strength training after a long break or you've never lifted weights before.

Most of the exercises don't involve weights, but you can hold weights if the exercises feel easy to you. You might try without weight at first and see how you feel the next day. If you're only a little stiff, you can probably add weights. If you're very sore, you might do the workout a few times to build strength and endurance.


Skip any exercise that causes pain or discomfort. Consult your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions.

Equipment Needed

An exercise ball, dumbbells (optional), and a resistance band (optional).

How To

Perform this lower body strengthening workout 2 or 3 times a week, with at least one day of rest and recovery in between. The full workout may take 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how long you rest between sets, which might range anywhere from 30 to 45 seconds.

  • Warm up: Begin with a 5-minute warm-up of light cardio such as brisk walking or jogging, or short warm-up versions of each exercise.
  • Beginners: Perform each exercise for 1 set of 15 repetitions. You can add weights for more intensity.
  • Beginner-intermediate: Perform 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps for each exercise, using enough weight so that you can complete the desired number of reps. 

Assisted Lunges (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

single lunge

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The lunge is a classic lower-body strengthening move that also tests your stability and balance.

  1. In a split stance and holding onto a wall or chair, bend the knees and lower into a lunge, keeping the front knee behind the toe.
  2. Press through the heel to push back up.
  3. Hold weights for added intensity.

Modification: If this bothers your knees, try a lunge alternative.

Leg Press on Ball (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

Leg Press on an Exercise Ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This leg press uses an exercise ball to test your core strength and challenge your balance.

  1. Sit on a ball and roll down until you're at an incline with your knees bent. 
  2. Keep the toes slightly lifted and push through the heels to push back up until your knees are almost straight.
  3. Try to keep your weight in the heels throughout the exercise.

Standing Leg Lifts (Outer Thighs/Glutes)

Leg Lifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Standing leg lifts with a resistance band work to build strength and stability in the outer hips.

  1. Stand sideways to a chair or wall for support and lift one leg out to the side with your foot flexed and hips, knees, and feet in alignment.
  2. Wrap a resistance band around the ankles or wear an ankle weightto make this more challenging.

Inner-Thigh Ball Squeeze (Inner Thighs)

Inner Thigh Squeeze

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This exercise works the inner thighs with an isometric squeeze using an exercise ball while also strengthening your abdominals.

  1. Hold an exercise ball between the shins or knees and take the legs up so that they're perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Squeeze the ball in and out, keeping tension on the ball the entire time.
  3. If this is difficult, try the move sitting up and leaning back on the elbows. You could also use a smaller ball and sit in a chair as you squeeze the ball between your knees.

Hip Lifts on the Ball (Glutes/Hamstrings/Lower Back)

Hip Lifts on the Ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Hip lifts on an exercise ball target your glutes and lower back muscles.

  1. Lie down with your heels on the ball, keeping your legs straight.
  2. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up and then lower back down, slowly and with control.

Modification: Try resting the calves or the hamstrings on the exercise ball, which will make the move a bit easier.

Wall Sit (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

The wall sit, also known as the "devil's chair," builds isometric strength and endurance.

  1. Stand in front of a wall and lean your back against it.
  2. Slide down until the thighs are parallel to the floor (or higher for an easier version).
  3. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds. 
  4. Keep your weight in your heels the entire time. For more intensity, see if you can lift your toes.

Ball Squat (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

Performing a wall sit with an exercise ball allows you to squat deeper while taking pressure off your knees.

  1. Place a ball against the wall and lean against it.
  2. Bend the knees and lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes.
  3. Push back up and repeat, holding weights for added intensity if desired.

Modification: If this exercise bothers your knees, try one of these squat alternatives instead.

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Council on Exercise. 5 benefits of dumbbell training. October 2015.

  2. International Sports Sciences Association. Unstable surface training: when and why?.

  3. International Sports Sciences Association. Corrective exercise with resistance bands.

  4. American Council on Exercise. How to be more active during your workday. March 2015.

  5. American Council on Exercise. Stability ball wall squats.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."