Lower Body Workout for Opposing Muscle Groups

This workout involves alternating opposing muscle groups to eliminate rest periods between sets and save you some time. The exercises are divided into pairs so you'll perform the first movement followed immediately by the second exercise. If you're doing more than one set, keep alternating the exercises until you finish the desired number of sets and move on to the next two exercises. If you're a beginner, check out these ​​beginner workouts.​​

  • Warm up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio
  • Alternate each set of exercises (exercise 1 and 2) for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions
  • Use enough weight so that you can ONLY complete the desired number of repetitions
  • Modify the workout according to your fitness level. Exercises are example only.

Pair 1: Squats

Woman doing squat with weights

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand with feet hip-width apart holding weights over shoulders. Keep abs in and bend the knees into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes. Push through the heels to come back up and repeat for 10-16 reps.

Pair 1: Deadlifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start with feet hip-width apart. Keeping back flat, shoulders back and abs in, tip from the hips and lower down as far as you can (according to your flexibility) and slowly raise back up.        

Pair 2: One-Legged Squat

Place ball behind the back against a wall and stand with the left leg lifted off the floor. Bend the right knee and lower into a squat, maintaining your balance. Push back to start and repeat for all reps on right leg before switching sides.

Pair 2: One-Legged Deadlift

one leg deadlift
one leg deadlift. Credit: Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline

Tip from the hips and lower the weight towards the floor (back straight) while lifting the left leg straight out behind you to hip level. Keep the knee of the right leg slightly bent, abs in. Contract the glutes of the right leg to pull back up.

Pair 3: Static Lunge

single lunge

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand in split stance, feet about 3 feet apart and bend both knees into a lunge, front knee behind the toe. Push through the heel to come back up. Repeat for all reps and switch legs.

Pair 3: One-Legged Lunge

Begin with left leg bent, shin resting on ball, weight in the right hand. Bend the right knee, roll the ball out with your left leg and reach towards the floor with the weight. Squeeze the right leg to roll the ball back.

Pair 4: Hip Bridge With Leg Extension

Lie with the ball supporting the shoulders and head, knees bent at 90 degrees and body is in a straight line (like a bridge). Maintaining neutral spine, lift one leg, using the other leg to stabilize your hips and body. Straighten the knee until leg is straight and return back to start.

Pair 4: Hamstring Rolls

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie on the floor with legs straight, heels on the ball. Lift the hips off the mat so that your body is in a straight line and dig the heels into the ball to roll the ball in. Roll back to start position and repeat. If this is too difficult, keep your hips on the floor.

Pair 5: Outer Thigh

Holding on to a chair for balance, bend right knee to 90 degrees. Keeping body upright, abs in and hips forward, lift bent leg straight up until it's parallel to the floor. Slowly lower back to start position and repeat on each leg for before moving on to adduction. For added resistance use ankle weights.

Pair 5: Adduction

Lie on the floor and lift your legs up, placing a ball between the knees.  Engage the abs and squeeze the ball with your knees, releasing just a bit. Repeat the squeeze and release for 10-16 reps.

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."