Leg exercises for beginners | Home and gym

Leg exercises for beginners | Home and gym

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Leg exercises for beginners – effective and fun!

I have put together some of my most effective and favorite leg exercises for beginners to help you begin or continue your training journey. 

What is great about these exercises is that they can be modified to fit all levels of ability, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainer. 

Working on toning up our legs certainly isn’t everyone’s favorite body part to train! 

I personally struggled training legs when I began to take working out and fitness more seriously, but I have since come to really enjoy training legs because I mix it up with various training methods so that my workouts are always different and remain fun. 

Enjoying keeping fit and training I believe is a very important part when it comes to maintaining our desired body goals.

If we hate what we are doing then soon enough we will most likely stop or get off track which results stalled progress. 

If you are unsure what you are doing or where to start when it comes to exercising it can be extremely frustrating and not so motivating so I have made sure to explain these leg exercises for beginners as simply and specifically as possible to make it easier and hopefully more enjoyable to begin training and also maintain it. 

I usually choose 4-5 exercises and perform 3 sets of each once or twice per week. 

If you are a beginner you might prefer to cut the sets back to 1-2 and as you become more comfortable with training you can choose to increase this.

Jumping scissor squats

High Intensity

Beginners may choose to use no weight and this is absolutely fine. 

If you would like to make this a little harder you can hold a weight or find something in your house that you can hold to increase the weight on your legs.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart holding weight at abdomen level (weight optional, then begin scissor jump squatting one leg front and one leg back, alternating legs. 

Each time you land be sure to finish in a deep squat. You should feel you thighs burning!
Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps total.

Tip: Keep back straight all the time and your core strong to make sure exercise is performed correctly and to avoid injury.

Primary muscle used: Quadriceps

Secondary muscles used: glutes, hamstrings, calves, abdominals

Set up a home gym

Double leg jumping side squats

High Intensity

Beginners may choose to use no extra weight and this is absolutely fine.

 If you would like to make this a little harder you can hold a weight or find something in your house that you can hold to increase the weight on your legs.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart holding weight at abdomen level (weight optional), then jump both legs apart coming to a deep squat then jump legs back together.

Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps total.

Tip: Keep back straight all the time and your core strong to make sure exercise is performed correctly and to avoid injury.

Primary muscle used: Quadriceps

Secondary muscles used: Glutes, hamstrings, calves, abdominals

Side to side jumping lunges

High Intensity

This exercise requires a tiny bit more coordination so have a little practice first if you’re unsure. 


Begin with feet shoulder width apart. You’re going to start by jumping your right foot to the left replacing where the left foot was, coming to a lunge position with your left leg stretched out to the side and your weight on your right leg remaining in a deep lunge. 

Your left hand with touch the ground infant of you. 
Repeat this jumping to the right, your left foot will now replace where the right foot was. 
Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps total.

Tip: Don’t hunch back and stay low. Your legs are doing all the work.

Primary muscle used: Quadriceps

Secondary muscles used: Glute’s, hamstrings, calves, abdominal’s

Walking lunges 

You can make this harder by holding dumbbells or kettle bells at your sides. 

Find a clear path so you can walk up and down.

Begin with legs shoulder width apart. 

Step one foot forward and come to a deep lunge, weight is on front leg. 

Bring back foot forward to meet front foot so you end up in starting position. 

Repeat continuing forward stepping other foot forward. 
Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps total

Tip: Keep back straight at all times and core tight. Push off front leg when bringing back leg to starting position. Don’t use your back for momentum.

Primary muscle used: Quadriceps, glute’s

Secondary muscles used: hamstrings, calves, abdominal’s

Set up a home gym

Straight leg front dips

This exercise definitely works best holding dumbbells, kettlebells or something to apply extra weight for maximum results.

Stand with legs shoulder width apart holding weights infant of your body, arms straight and palms facing toward you.

Hinge forward front the hips, keeping back and legs straight and letting arms fall naturally infant of you.

Return to starting position.
Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps total. 

Tip: Keep legs straight but don’t lock your knees. Have them slightly relaxed to avoid injury.

Primary muscle used: Hamstrings, glute’s

Secondary muscles used: Quads, back, abdominal’s

Seated leg press – requires leg press machine

First, set pin to correct weight. 

You may need to ask for assistance with doing this, my advice if you are a beginner to set the pin very low and have a practice so you get a feel for what weight is best and to avoid injury by setting it too high. 

Sit with feet pressed against platform in front of you ensuring feet are parallel. 

Hold not handles at your sides and press platform forward with your feet slow and controlled until legs are straight but don’t lock knees.

 Return legs to starting position.
Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Tip: Keep back straight and pressed firmly into seat.

Primary muscle used: Quads

Secondary muscles used: Glute’s, hamstrings, calves, abdominal’s

Girls legs pressing on leg press machine

I hope you enjoyed my leg exercises for beginners. 

Mixing up workouts and constantly pushing yourself is important for not only ensuring your get maximum results but it keeps training interesting and fun and you will be far more likely to maintain training long term. 

Check out my most effective abdominal exercises here to really work your abs and also tips on how to make your abs visible!

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