Leg day workout for women
Leg day is one of those days in which you can really push yourself to your limits because it mainly involves compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges.
The leg day workout for women involves training legs with an emphasis on the different muscles involved. This routine is mostly free-weight oriented using body weight as the only fixed resistance (e.g., holding certain positions of your hands during some exercises).
This is not a beginner’s routine so it is important to warm up beforehand and focus on proper form when doing these exercises. There are different types of leg workouts but this article will discuss compound movements that involve multiple joints for maximal muscle recruitment through movement. These exercises require an extensive amount of mental and physical energy due to their large number of working muscles at once, thus making them unsuitable for beginners or those new to training.
An effective leg day workout for women must include the major muscles of the legs while working other supporting muscles nearby. The leg day workout for women should be done 2-4 times per week depending on your fitness goals.
The following are examples of exercises that will stimulate muscle growth in your legs:
1.) squats – uses the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves to be performed with a barbell or dumbbells leaning against a wall or back facing bar
2.) deadlifts – used heavily in powerlifting competitions to work the hamstring, gluteus Maximus, trapezius (upper back), quadriceps, deltoids (shoulders), forearms, and latissimus dorsi (middle back)
3.) lunges – works the gastrocnemius, soleus (lower leg & heel), gluteus Maximus, quads, hamstrings, and quadriceps
4.) dumbbell box step-ups – targets the quadriceps while also working the glutes, adductors (inner thighs), and hamstring muscles
5.) barbell hip thrusts – use some of the same muscles as squats but more targeted on the glutes. This is an advanced exercise requiring good core stability to prevent lower back injury due to lack of bracing.
For each movement, you should aim for 3 sets with 12-15 reps per set except for deadlifts which are usually one set at 6-8 reps.
It is important to progressively overload the muscles in order to increase strength, power output, & muscle hypertrophy (thickening). You can do this by increasing weight load when possible or performing more reps for the same amount of weight.
Do not complete these exercises consecutively without taking ample rest time in between sets because you will be extremely fatigued and hopefully very sore the next day or two because it involves engaging so reps. Aim for 2-3 minutes of rest between sets.
Youtube videos are useful if you need assistance with the form or want to be visually guided through an exercise.
Remember never to compromise your form because it could cause injury. Do not pick weights that make you struggle; this is not the purpose of leg day workouts. At the same time, know when to push yourself and do not give up too easily by letting your ego take over which can also result in personal injury. Use proper lifting techniques at all times and start out light until you have sufficiently developed enough strength to begin training with heavier weights. If something feels off, stop right away because it could lead to serious injury so always err on the side of caution, especially when performing any kind of deadlift.
Leg day workouts for women to do at home without equipment
When you get older, it gets increasingly difficult to maintain balance and stability in your joints if you are not engaged in leg toning exercises. Over time, you begin to lose muscle mass, strength, and ability to do daily activities. Furthermore, if you are not physically active, you will lose 3 to 5 percent of your muscle mass per decade after the age of 30.
Fortunately, with the help of leg day workouts, you can still achieve the strongest legs to date. Strong legs assist you in supporting your body more effectively and make you more attractive to others. In addition, they are less prone to injury than other animals.
What is the best part? You do not need to spend a lot of money on pricey gym equipment to get your leg muscles to work. That is something you can accomplish directly at home.
It is highly recommended you try the leg day workout without weights before using them. This way, you can focus on your form which will help avoid injury later. Listen to your body, if it hurts stop doing that move.
These exercises are advanced but don’t be intimidated by them! The concept of working out at home with no equipment may seem daunting but each exercise has modifications that anyone can follow along with until they’re ready for the tougher version. You will still receive a great workout following these easier options.
- Bodyweight Squats
These are great for working your legs, hips, glutes (butt), and quadriceps (front of thighs).
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower the body as if you were sitting in a chair until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep chest lifted and core engaged to prevent arching back too far. Unlock knees but do not fully straighten legs. Push through heels to stand up tall again. Repeat 8 – 10 times or for 30 seconds.
- Forward Lunges
These work your hamstrings (backs of thighs) and glutes.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward, landing on the heel and bending both knees to lower into a lunge. Straighten both legs to come back up to the starting position with the hips driving forward into a lunge since there is no weight on the front leg. Repeat 10 times for each leg or for 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Single-Leg Deadlift
These work your butt, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
Stand on one leg with feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend forward at the hips to lower down towards the floor in a single-leg deadlift until you feel a stretch in your hamstring (butt muscle). Be sure to keep hips square (do not rotate them), chest lifted, and core engaged. Return to a standing position by squeezing your glutes (butt muscles) and contracting your hamstring (the muscle on the back of your thigh). Repeat 10 times for each leg or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Jumping Jacks
These work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes (butt), calves (back of lower legs), and shoulders.
Start standing with feet together and arms by sides. Jump outwards to a wide stance while raising the hands over the head into a high-five position then jump back into starting position bringing feet together again. Repeat 20 times
- Single-Leg Calf Raise
These work your calves (back of the lower leg).
Stand on one leg and lift the other off the floor, bending at both knee and ankle. Extend your foot backward to raise up onto your toe then place back down. Repeat 20 times for each leg or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Double-Leg Calf Raise
These work your calves (backs of lower legs).
Stand with feet together and hands behind the head. Rise up onto toes while simultaneously lifting arms in front so they are extended straight towards the ground in a “T” formation. Bring down arms and rise up again on your toes for another repetition. Repeat 10 – 15 times or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Side Lunges
These target your quads (front of thighs) and glutes.
Stand with feet together then take a big step out to the side, landing on the heel and bending both knees to lower into a lateral lunge. Push back up to a standing position engaging your gluteus (butt muscle). Repeat 10 times for each leg or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Plank Leg Lifts
These work your core muscles.
Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your hips level, lift one leg off the ground, hold for two seconds then lower back down. Repeat 10 times for each leg or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Glute Bridge
These work your glutes (butt muscles).
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Keeping core engaged, squeeze your gluteus (butt muscles) and lift hips off the ground so they are in a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for two seconds at the top then lower back down for one rep. Repeat 10 times or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
These work your quads (front of thighs) and glutes.
Start standing with one leg on a step and the other hanging off. Keeping core engaged and chest lifted, raise up onto the step by driving through the heel of that foot then bring that same foot back down so both feet meet at the bottom. Repeat 10 times for each leg or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Dumbbell Good Morning
These work your hamstring (butt muscle).
Stand holding a dumbbell in one hand, keeping both ends even with a knee. Keeping core engaged and chest lifted, slowly lean from the hips so torso is at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Hold for 2 seconds then return to a standing position for one rep. Repeat 10 times or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Bent-Legged Deadlift
These work your hamstrings (back of thigh) and lower back muscles.
Start standing with feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in knees. If you need to, hold onto something in front of you for balance until you get used to these moves which require strength in your legs and back rather than balance like many other workout moves. Keeping both feet flat on the floor, lower down until back is almost parallel to the ground. Rise up by squeezing your gluteus (butt muscles) and pushing through the heels of your foot. Repeat 10 times or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Dumbbell Squat
These work your quads (front of thighs) and glutes (butt).
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells at arm’s length in front of legs (start light – you don’t want to hurt yourself!). Sit into a squat position keeping knees behind toes then stand up straight again for one rep. Repeat 10 times for each leg or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Spiderman Plank
This works your core.
Start in a plank position with core engaged and hands directly underneath shoulders (if you need to, spread knees wider for more stability). While engaging your gluteus (butt muscles), bend the right knee to the outside of the elbow then return to plank position. Repeat on another side so both legs are doing this move for one rep. Repeat 10 times or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
- Kettlebell Swing
These work your hamstrings (back of thighs) and lower back muscles.
Start standing holding the kettlebell in front of hips with arms straight down at sides, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing outwards just a little bit, chest lifted and shoulder blades squeezed together. Swing the kettlebell through your legs, keeping back straight and eyes focused on the floor in front of you. At the same time allow momentum to swing arms up towards chest level with palms facing each other. Keep core engaged throughout this move so your hips don’t accidentally fold under as the kettlebell swings towards you. Repeat 10 times or 30 seconds if you can handle it.
Tips on avoiding injury
Maintain proper form. If it doesn’t feel right, you’re doing it wrong and could be putting yourself at risk of injury. Ask a trainer for help if needed. Use equipment specifically designed for the workout type – i.e. dumbbells instead of kettlebells or vice versa. You don’t want to drop a weight on your feet! Be mindful of correct breathing technique – breathe out as you lift and in as you lower (don’t hold your breath).
Posture is important throughout all these moves so check that you are not slouching or hunching shoulders forward or backward as this can cause back pain. Consider using resistance bands just to start with if some moves seem too difficult and work up from there.