Lower Body and Core Strength Workout

This lower body and core strength workout includes a variety of exercises targeting the glutes, hips, thighs, abs, and back. The exercises are divided into tri-sets, although there are actually 4 exercises in each set, including three lower-body moves and one core move.

Techniques change from exercise to exercise and include slow, heavy training, fast-paced endurance exercises, and core moves that challenge balance, stamina, and stability. Intermediate and advanced exercisers will get the most out of this workout.

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses, or other conditions. You'll need various weighted dumbbells, a barbell, an exercise ball, a step or staircase, and a resistance band.

Workout Sequence

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (jogging in place, for example)
  • Perform each tri-set once for a short workout or 2 to 3 times for a more advanced workout
  • Rest 30 to 60 seconds between tri-sets
  • Modify the workout to fit your fitness level and goals

Warm Up: Pulsing Squats With Overhead Press

Shoulder Overhead Press

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Holding medium-heavy weights just over the shoulders, squat as low as you can and do three slow pulses, only coming halfway up. On the fourth pulse, stand up and push the weights overhead. Repeat the series for 12 reps.


Tri-Set 1: Barbell Squats

Woman doing barbell squats


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, resting a heavy barbell on the shoulders. Lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes and abs engaged. Press back up and repeat for 12 reps.


Tri-Set 1: Hover Squats


Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Hold heavy weights at the sides or at shoulder level, feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, hold the position at the bottom for four counts, then press back to start. Repeat for 8 reps.


Tri-Set 1: Pyramid Planks

Pyramid Plank

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Begin in a plank position on the forearms. Press the hips up toward the ceiling while staying on the forearms (like an upside V) and gently press the heels to the floor.

Hold briefly, come back to your plank and push up onto the hands. Hold for a few counts and then press into a downward dog, stretching the heels to the floor and the chest gently through the arms. Come back into your plank, lower down to the elbows, and repeat the entire series 3 to 4 times.

Repeat Tri-Set 1.


Tri-Set 2: Front and Reverse Lunge

three people doing weighted dumbbell lunge exercise in gym
Klaus Vedfelt/Taxi/Getty Images

Holding medium-heavy weights, step the left leg forward into a lunge. Push back to the starting position, lifting the left knee to hip level and immediately stepping back into a reverse lunge with the same leg. Repeat for 10 reps and switch sides. 


Tri-Set 2: Barbell Lunges

Woman weight lifting in health club
David Foster / Getty Images

Place a heavy barbell on the shoulders and take the right foot forward, left foot back in a split stance. Keeping abs engaged, bend the knees and lower into a lunge, keeping the front knee behind the toe. Lower as far as you can without touching your back knee to the floor. Push back to start and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.


Tri-Set 2: Split Squat

Stand about 3 feet in front of a step or platform and place the left foot on the step. Keeping your weight on your front leg, bend your knees and lower into a lunge until the front knee is at about a 90-degree angle. Push through the front heel to stand up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.


Tri-Set 2: Plank with Knee Bends

man and woman in plank position
Tetra Images/Getty Images

Begin in a plank position, on your forearms and toes. Lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee, pulling it in toward the chest. Cross the left foot over the right leg, hold briefly, then bring your left knee back to your chest. Bring the left foot back into your full plank and repeat on the other side. Repeat for 8 reps (1 rep includes a knee bend with both the right and left legs).

Repeat Tri-Set 2.


Tri-Set 3: Step Ups

Using a band or holding heavy weights, place your right foot on a step or the second step of a flight of stairs. Lower into a squat and then press into the heel of the right foot and step up, lightly touching the left foot on the step. Bring the left foot down and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.


Tri-Set 3: Side Step Ups

Stand sideways on a step or platform and hold a heavy dumbbell in both hands. Step down with your right leg, lowering into a squat and keeping your back straight, torso upright, and abs in. Push back up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.


Tri-Set 3: Sliding Side Lunge

Put a paper plate under your left foot and hold a heavy weight in the left hand. Keep your weight in the right leg and bend your knee as you slide the left foot out to the side, keeping your left leg straight. As you squat toward the floor, keeping your knee behind the toes, bring the weight down to touch the floor. Push back up, sliding the left foot in as you stand. Repeat for 12 reps and then switch sides.


Tri-Set 3: Ball Exchange

Lie on the mat and place the ball between the feet. Lower your arms and legs as low as you can without arching your back. Next bring them back to the middle, taking the ball in your hands. Lower your arms and legs down towards the floor again and continue, exchanging the ball between the hands and feet for 12 reps.

Repeat Tri-Set 3.


Tri-Set 4: Bent Knee Deadlift

Hold heavy weights in front of the thighs and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, back straight, and hips back. Place the weights on the floor and stand up. Squat back down into the same position, pick up the weights and stand up, repeating for 12 reps.


Tri-Set 4: Deadlifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and hold a heavy barbell or dumbbells. With your back flat, shoulders back, and abs in, tip forward from the hips and lower your upper body as far as your flexibility allows. Raise up, squeezing your glutes and repeat for 12 reps.


Tri-Set 4: One-Legged Deadlift

Tip from the hips and lower the weight towards the floor (back straight) while lifting your right leg straight out behind you to hip level. Contract the glutes of the right leg to pull back up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides. Try to keep your foot flexed to encourage keeping the hips squared towards the floor.


Tri-Set 4: Press Ups

On your knees, place your forearms on the ball. Straighten your knees and bring your body into a plank position. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds, lower your knees and repeat for 12 reps.

4 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. Shankar G, Chaurasia V. Comparative study of core stability exercise with Swiss ball in improving trunk endurance. International Journal of Health Sciences & Research. 2012;2(5):56-63.

  2. President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Ways to Be Active. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2017.

  3. Fradkin AJ, Zazryn TR, Smoliga JM. Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2010 Jan 1;24(1):140-8. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c643a0

  4. Machado M, Koch AJ, Willardson JM, Pereira LS, Cardoso MI, Motta MK, Pereira R, Monteiro AN. Effect of varying rest intervals between sets of assistance exercises on creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase responses. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2011 May 1;25(5):1339-45. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d680d6

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."