Want to lift weights? Build lower body muscle with this beginner strength workout

If you don't know where to start, then this workout will set you on the right track

A woman doing dumbbell squats
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether it be the dumbbells or barbells, lifting weights in a gym (especially as a beginner) can often feel a little nerve-wracking. A lot of this is down to gymtimidation, but another big part of it is not knowing what exercises you actually need to do. Well, if it’s your lower body and you’re looking to strengthen it and build muscle, then this four-move workout is ideal for newbies who want to get lifting. 

Compound exercises are king in this workout. These are exercises that work multiple muscles or joints at once – for example, a squat will target your glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings and core. They are one of the best ways to build strength and muscle too, as they stimulate the release of testosterone and growth hormone, which help with muscle growth. Also, because they work more muscles, these exercises elevate your heart rate, meaning you get a nice bit of cardio work in there too, so it's a win-win.

This workout comes from Sweat App Founder and Fitness Trainer, Kayla Itsines. There are four exercises to work through in total and you’ll do three rounds of each exercise, resting for 90 seconds between each set. Initially, this workout uses a barbell for three of the four exercises, which you can totally do or, if you’d rather (or if you’re doing this at home), then you can always swap for a pair of dumbbells. Make sure you have your gym water bottle to hydrate during your rest periods. Here’s your workout: 

  • Barbell back squats - 8 reps
  • Hip thrusts - 8 reps
  • Romanian deadlifts - 8 reps
  • Weighted step ups - 16 reps (8 per side)

Now that you've trained your lower body, don't forget to make time for your upper body too! Here's a four-move weight bench workout that you can do next. Again, it's beginner-friendly and each exercise requires only a pair of dumbbells (you could even do it at home if you have something sturdy enough to lie on). Alternatively, here's a 15-minute full-body dumbbell workout if you just need something quick to do in the week.

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.