Beginner Lower Body Workout for Strength

This lower body workout includes common exercises targeting 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.

Fitness Level

Beginner, Beginner-Intermediate

Equipment Needed

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


20-40 minutes


  1. See your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions
  2. Begin with a 5-minute warm-up of light cardio, or warm-up versions of each exercise
  3. Beginners: Perform each exercise for 1 set of 15 repetitions. You can add weights for more intensity
  4. Beg/Int: Perform 2-3 sets of 15 reps for each exercise, using enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps. Rest about 30-45 seconds between sets
  5. Perform this workout 2-3 times a week, with at least one day of rest in between
  6. Skip any exercise that causes pain or discomfort

Assisted Lunges (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

single lunge

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

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. Press through the heel to push back up. Hold weights for added intensity.

Repeat for 15 reps.

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

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

Repeat for 15 reps. 


Standing Leg Lifts (Outer Thighs/Glutes)

Leg Lifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand sideways to a chair or wall for support and lift one leg out to the side, foot flexed and hips, knees and feet in alignment. Tie a resistance band around the ankles (optional) or you can wear an ankle weight.

Repeat for 15 reps.


Inner-Thigh Ball Squeeze (Inner Thighs)

Inner Thigh Squeeze

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Hold an exercise ball between the shins/knees and take the legs up so they're perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze the ball in and out, keeping tension on the ball the entire time.

If this is hard, try the move sitting up and leaning back on the elbows or use a small ball and sit in a chair, squeezing the ball between the knees.

Repeat for 15 reps.


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

Hip Lifts on the Ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie down with heels on the ball, legs straight. Squeeze the glutes to lift the hips up and lower back down. You can modify this exercise by resting the calves or the hamstrings on the ball, which will make the move a bit easier.

Repeat for 15 reps.


Wall Sit (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

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

 Repeat for 15 reps.


Ball Squat (Glutes/Hips/Thighs)

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

Repeat for 15 reps.

If this bothers your knees, try one of these squat alternatives.

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Article Sources
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  1. Harvard Medical School. Exercise 101: don't skip the warm-up or cool-down.

  2. American Council on Exercise. 5 benefits of dumbbell training. October 2015.

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

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

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

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