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25th March, 20213 min read

5 at-home leg exercises

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Ana Mosciuk
Last reviewed: 24/03/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

Walking, turning, stepping, squatting – these are just some of the simple daily activities that require our lower body to be able to move in every direction at different speeds. Strengthening our leg muscles can help us perform these essential daily activities more easily.

All of these leg exercises can be done at home without equipment – but if you want to take things up a notch, try doing them with a resistance band where possible. Resistance bands help with flexibility and strength and can be used while sitting down, so they’re also convenient for people with limited mobility.

Speak to your doctor before doing these exercises if you have any injuries or concerns.

Squats

Squats give your glutes (or bum muscles) a workout too. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart, arms extended out in front of you for balance. Bend your knees until they’re almost at a 90-degree angle. It’s important to keep your back straight.

Matt Roberts, personal trainer and founder of fitness and wellness club, Evolution, recommends aiming for 3 sets of 20 to 25 repetitions of these.

Calf raises

Start by placing your hands on a wall or chair for more balance. Stand straight with your legs less than shoulder-width apart and slowly move onto your toes while lifting your heels off the ground. Lower your heels back down.

“Aim for 3 sets of 20 repetitions on each leg,” recommends Matt.

Lunges

This is another leg exercise that also works the glutes. Stand up tall and step forward with 1 foot. Gradually bend the knees until both legs are almost at a 90-degree angle. Be sure not to arch your back and keep your weight in your heels. Push back up.

“Aim for 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each leg,” says Matt.

Single-leg Romanian deadlift

This movement helps with balance and hip mobility too. Stand up straight and lift 1 leg off the floor, moving it behind you. Hinge at the hips to lean forward, trying to form a T with your body. Slowly return the leg to the starting position.

“Aim for 3 sets of 12 repetitions on each leg,” advises Matt.

Side step-ups

You’ll need a step that will keep your knee at a 90-degree angle when you step on it. Standing sideways to the step, step up with 1 foot. As you do so, bring the opposite knee up. Gradually lower down to land softly.

“Aim for 3 sets of 20 repetitions on each leg,” says Matt.

Key points

  • strengthening the leg muscles can help us perform lower-body activities more easily
  • leg exercises can be done easily at home, without equipment
  • many leg exercises use bodyweight as resistance
  • leg exercises with resistance bands can give you a tougher workout
  • speak to your doctor before doing leg exercises if you have any injuries
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