You only need these four simple exercises to get strong, sculpted legs

Leg day doesn’t need to be complicated, especially when there’s workouts like this one

Woman doing barbell reverse lunges
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although there’s hundreds of lower body exercises out there, a good leg workout doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, when it comes to increasing strength, the simpler, the better, just like this four-move workout. Not only will you notice your legs become more defined and stronger over time, but it contains classic exercises that time and time again deliver results. Just grab a pair of heavy dumbbells or an Olympic barbell and some weight plates, if you're at the gym.

A key element to building strength is progressive overload, where you gradually increase the intensity of your workout, either by increasing your reps or weight. However, if you constantly change your exercises every week it is harder to achieve. MyFitnessPal says: “Think of exercise as a skill, not a task. If you wanted to get better at playing guitar, you’d practice the guitar every day, right? You wouldn’t play guitar one day, then piano the next day, and trombone the following day and expect to sound like Jimi Hendrix.” The same principle should be applied to your exercises.

This workout will take you around 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the weight you use). Work your way down the list of exercises, completing all the sets and reps for exercise one, before moving onto exercise two. Rest between 60 to 120 second after each exercise (if you need a little longer though, that's absolutely fine, just listen to your body). Here's your exercises:

  • Romanian deadlift - 8 reps for 5 sets
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift - 8 reps for five sets
  • Squats - 8 reps for 5 sets
  • Reverse lunges - 12 reps on each leg for 4 sets

Remember, do this workout for four to six weeks before changing so you can keep track of improvements in your strength. Don't have heavier dumbbells? Add more reps. If you have access to a gym and you hit all your reps in the first two weeks, increase the weight. Once you've done that, here's a dumbbell-only leg workout for you to try, or give this 20 minute lower body workout a go (dumbbells or kettlebell required).

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.