Forget squats – Build muscle in your legs with this knee-friendly workout instead

You only need one resistance band and 20 minutes to build stronger legs and glutes

Woman doing lunges while watching online yoga class. Female is wearing sports clothing in living room. She is working out at home.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

People are a tad apprehensive when it comes to lower-body workouts. On the one hand, everybody agrees they are beneficial for leg muscle development; on the flip side, no one likes squats, and lunges, let alone jumping exercises. Not to mention, many people struggle with knee pain and can't even fathom the thought of doing leg movements that require repetitive knee bending.

This 20-minute lower-body workout ticks all the boxes. It's a fun mix of bodyweight and resistance band exercises without any squats, lunges or jumping. It's also super easy to perform at home since you won't need special gym equipment. Even if you aren't keen on having a curvy bottom, strong glutes and legs can help you in a variety of ways (external link), whether walking and running more effortlessly or keeping yourself upright more easily.

This lower-body workout consists of two rounds. The first one is bodyweight only; you'll perform each move for 50 seconds on and 10 seconds off. You can use a resistance band for the second round, but you can carry on doing all exercises without any equipment, too, if that's what you prefer. The reps are divided the same way (50 seconds on, 10 seconds off). The moves featured in this workout are:

  • First Round
  • 3-point kick (right)
  • 3-point kick (left)
  • Good morning
  • Leg extension curl (right)
  • Leg extension curl (left)
  • Glute bridge
  • March with bridge hold
  • Alternating calf raise with bridge hold
  • Donkey kick (right)
  • Donkey kick (left)
  • Round Two
  • Same exercises as above but with resistance bands

Excellent, well done! If you liked this, you'll love this T3-exclusive inner-thigh workout by Alo Moves instructor Bianca Melas. How about this 6-exercise lower-body workout for a quick fix? If your primary goal is to build leg muscles, this 4-exercise dumbbell leg workout is your best bet. If you need a resistance band for any of the above workouts, check out T3's best resistance bands guide.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.