Forget lunges – this 15 minute knee-friendly circuit will strengthen your lower body

All you need is a chair and pair of dumbbells

Person holding pair of dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty)

Lunges are a brilliant exercise for balance and strengthening your lower body. But if you suffer from bad knees, then this exercise isn’t your friend and seeing them included in a workout is probably enough to put you off doing the entire thing. Well, now you won’t have to skip leg day again, as this lower body workout targets your legs and glutes, with no lunges included, and all you need is a pair of the best dumbbells and a chair.

We’ve all heard that ‘you should never skip leg day’, but why? Well, aside from not wanting a disproportionate body, working our lower body is essential to strengthening some of the largest muscles in our body, joints and improving our mobility. Plus, it can help prevent injury. Basically, the stronger your bones and muscles are, the more of a stable foundation you'll have.

This workout consists of seven exercises, some done on a chair and others performed with dumbbells. These target your quads, hamstrings and glutes. You’ll do between 10 to 12 reps for each exercise and you have a 60 second rest between them. You’re going to complete three to four rounds and (hopefully) your lower body, minus your knees, will be feeling the burn afterwards. Ready? Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Glute bridge – 12 reps
  • Donkey kicks – 10 reps each side
  • Step ups – 10 reps each side
  • Hip thrusts – 12 reps
  • Chair squat – 12 reps
  • Split squat – 10 reps each side
  • Wall hold – 60 seconds

You could also use an adjustable dumbbell if you don't have a lot of space at home. Plus, it will save you money in the long run when doing future workouts as you won't have to buy multiple dumbbells. If you do really need to take it easy on your knees then you can even do these exercises with no weights at all. However, the added resistance is to help strengthen the muscle around them, while helping you to build muscle. If you fancy doing an easy full-body workout later in the week, then we've  also got a great low-impact bodyweight workout that you need to try.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.