Home workouts, as the pandemic taught us, are a lifesaver when you no longer have access to the gym. They also come in handy for those days you dread going to the gym, but still want to get a decent workout in. And one of the best workouts to do at home with minimal equipment is leg workouts!
Heavy squats and deadlifts are optimal for building strength in the lower body, but they aren't your only options. We teamed up with Iulia Danilova, founder of the Fit With Iulia app and UPPPER, to give you a challenging leg and glute workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment - Pair of dumbbells and resistance bands. Let's get started and get those lower body gains!
Benefits of lower body workouts
Before we dive into the workout, we want to tell you WHY you should workout your legs.
Lower body workouts usually require compound exercises like lunges and deadlifts. Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time which can be tiring, but the reward of strong, toned legs makes it all worth it! Leg exercises like deadlifts work your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and even your core and back!
Here are more benefits of at-home leg workouts:
Can be done with little or no equipment - You can do a variety of workouts like bodyweight exercises, dumbbell only, and resistance band workouts! Plus, less equipment means fewer chances of getting injured.
Strengthen the biggest muscles in the body - Lower body workouts target various leg muscles, but they can also target your upper body and core!
Can help reduce knee pain - According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, strong leg muscles can help alleviate knee pain. The study they conducted demonstrated that women who incorporated hip-strengthening exercises had less knee pain than the group that only incorporated knee strengthening exercises. 
No excuses - It's easy to have an excuse to skip the gym, it's harder when all you have to do is get off the couch! That's the beauty of home workouts, just put on your favorite gym clothes and start squatting!
Dumbbell Only Leg Workout
For this lower body workout, Iulia suggests picking a weight that fits your fitness level, but also pick a weight that is a little more challenging. For each exercise perform 4 sets and anywhere between 8-12 reps. It really depends on the weight you are using. When using a lighter weight, perform more reps. When using a heavier weight, perform fewer reps. And don't forget to rest for at least 30 seconds between each exercise!
One more thing... stretch and warm-up your muscles for 5-10 minutes!
Iulia suggests doing a combination of static and dynamic stretching. For example, you can do a hamstring and quad stretch. Hold the positions on each leg for 30 seconds. Then do a dynamic warm-up like high knees, glute bridges, leg raises, to really warm-up and prepare your muscles!
Once your muscles are ready to go, grab your resistance bands and dumbbells! We'll be starting with two glute activation exercises to make sure the glutes are awake and active for the workout.
Glute bridge with resistance band
- Lie faceup on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
Place the resistance band above the knee.
Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in, so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
- Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
- Do 15 reps.
Standing glute kickback with resistance band
Place the resistance band around your ankles,
Lift your leg to the back and pause for two seconds. The tension should be felt in your hips and glutes.
Bring the leg back to the starting position.
- Do 15 reps on each leg.
Sumo squats with dumbbells
Grab a dumbbell and hold it on the "inside" of the dumbbell.
Place your feet apart about twice your shoulder-width, your toes turned out slightly.
- Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position. Keep your torso as upright as you can for the entire movement, with your lower back naturally arched.
Grasp a couple of dumbbells holding them by your side at arm's length.
Stand with your torso straight and your legs spaced using a shoulder-width or narrower stance. The knees should be slightly bent. This is your starting position.
Keeping the knees stationary, lower the dumbbells to over the top of your feet by bending at the waist while keeping your back straight. Keep moving forward as if you were going to pick something from the floor until you feel a stretch on the hamstrings.
Start bringing your torso up straight again by extending your hips and waist until you are back at the starting position.
Alternate reverse lunges
Grab dumbbells in both hands.
- Staying erect, initiate the movement by stepping back with one foot about 2 feet. Keep your hips facing forward as the toe of your back foot makes contact first.
- Then allow both knees to bend and descend just short of allowing your trailing knee to touch the floor. Your body should continue to be upright. Don't lean forward or allow you back to round.
Press back up by pushing through your back foot, maintaining balance as you return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Staggered stance deadlift
Stand with feet hip-width apart with weight by each foot.
- Place one foot a foot-length in front of the other so your stance is staggered.
- Hinge at your hips and bend your knees to lower your body. Grab each weight with your arms straight. Push your butt far back and keep your back flat. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor.
- Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand up straight. Keep the weights close to your shins as you pull up.
- Pause at the top and squeeze your butt, then slowly lower the weight back to the floor.
We hope you feel the burn after completing this powerful lower body workout planned for you by Fit With Iulia 💪🔥
If you want more strength training workouts planned for you then check out the Fit With Iulia app. Iulia plans goal-focused workouts every week - Gym and home friendly! In fact, no subscription is required to try one of Iulia's workouts! The first workout of every goal is available for free for everyone to try. All you need to do is download the Fit With Iulia app, go to Goals & Workouts, and select the goal that aligns with your personal fitness goals then complete Monday's workout.
Oh and if you are in need of some resistance bands check out our collection of short and long fabric resistance bands - They come in various cute colors and designs and three resistance levels 😉