Workouts for Women

Best Legs Workout for Women | Exercises to Strengthen Your Legs

Tone up, boost your strength and add power to your lower body with this, the best legs workout for women.

We’ve created an all-round legs workout for women, that will hit just about every part of your lower body.

Whether you’re after a perky butt, or shapely thighs, with this workout, you’ll be working all areas to make it happen. With this one under your belt you’ll bring new levels of gains and so many health benefits.

We’ve combined a range of compound and isolated movements designed to drill deep into these big muscles and help you craft and shape your legs.

Read on for:

  • Why do you need a legs workout?
  • How heavy should I lift?
  • The best leg workout for women
  • Leg Muscles

Why do you need leg workouts for women?

There’s a whole lot of power in those legs!

By factoring in a good lower body workout on the regular, you’ll be creating a powerful physique from the ground up. If you want to build strength and size in your lower body, then having varied leg workouts at the gym and a consistent approach to training will really help. 

Leg muscles are also some of the biggest in your body, and by working and growing them, you’ll benefit from a whole heap of health benefits. For example, you’ll feel stronger, your metabolism will increase as your muscles grow and you’ll even feel improved heart health with more muscle on your frame, which will help you achieve a healthier body composition. Dreamy right?

Let’s also mention that, with a little more muscle on your legs, you’ll create that coveted perky butt, shapely quads and visible hamstring. 

So whether you’re here to develop strength and health, or you have a certain aesthetic in mind, the right leg workouts for women will help you to take the first step to achieving your goals.

[Related Article: 5 Best Fat Burners for Women

How heavy should I lift?

Muscle only grows when you’re challenging your body.

In weightlifting, we call this progressive overload. By continuously lifting a demanding weight, you’re breaking down the tiny fibres within your muscle. To adapt to this new strain, your body uses protein to grow these muscles back, stronger, better and bigger.

Essentially, if you lift the same weight over and over again for every workout, you’re on the fast track to nowhere. You might find the workout challenging to begin with, but your body will quickly adapt and before you know it, you’ll be in a pretty deep plateau and you won’t see the improve you’re hoping for. 

So, during your leg workout, we recommend you choose a weight that is doable, yet still challenging and heavy. As soon as something begins to feel easy, you won’t be reaping any rewards from it. Your body has no reason to adapt.

So no slacking here, we want to see you working for those muscles! As soon as something starts to feel like it’s no longer challenging in your leg workouts for women, we want you to reconsider your weights and start lifting heavier, or maybe even do more legs. It’s super important that we continue to achieve progressive overload, so don’t skip this important step! 

To help you get started, we’ve created the best leg workout for women, that’ll grow muscle and power in your lower body. Check it out below.

Or, if you’d like to build size and strength in your glutes in the longer term, our 4-Week Bigger Booty Workout Plan offers up three different workouts each week! 

The best legs workout for women

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Back Squat55
Leg Extension48
Split Squat48 each leg
Hamstring Curl48
Leg PressDrop 28 then 15

Read on for more information on how and why we’ve added these movements to this hardcore legs workout for women, along with links to our exercise guides…

Leg Exercises for Women

Barbell Back Squats

Woman performing a barbell back squat in the gym

5 sets of 5 reps.

This compound movement is the perfect way to kickstart this legs workout for women. It pulls in a huge range of muscles, including quads, hamstrings and the glutes to build some serious lower body strength.

We’ve also gone for the 5×5 set and rep pattern, which is widely used among beginner powerlifters in their leg workouts for women to challenge the muscle and bring some serious strength to your lower body.

Remember to keep your form tight and your chest high as you move through the sets, as this one will get challenging. You. Are. Welcome.

Check out our guide on how to barbell back squat

Leg Extension

4 sets of 8 reps

Let’s take a moment to focus in on those quads. This isolated movement will put them straight under the spotlight, so make sure you’re going heavy here.

Our top tip for leg extension is try to kick up as explosively as you can, pause for a second in your high position, then slowly lower the machine back down to the start position. This combination of intensities will work your muscles in slightly different ways, whilst maximizing that challenging progressive overload aspect too.

Trust us, do it as we’ve described above and you’ll soon feel the burn and intensify your legs workout.

By adding these into the mix, you can create strong, shapely upper legs whilst adding to the overall power of your squats. It’s definitely a must for a well rounded legs workout for women. Just be careful walking down the stairs tomorrow, ok?

Discover the benefits of Cycling for your body and your overall health right here. 

Split Squat

woman performing a Bulgarian split squat

4 sets of 8 reps, each leg

We hear you, every good legs workout for women should have a little focus on the butt. Split squats are the absolute bomb, for that exact reason. Take a weight in each hand and you’ll soon feel the fire in your glutes.

This is one of our favorite leg exercises for women. It really emphasises the focus on the glutes, similar to a lunge, while the elevated leg at the back increases the focus on the glute, reducing the amount of strain you can take through your back foot.

If you’re thinking about developing a butt workout too, then you really should consider adding split squats into the mix.

Furthermore it can help to develop stablising core muscles too, which is always something you should consider improving on too.

Whether it’s an all-round leg day, or a more focussed booty workout, a split squat is a sure fire thing for glute growth. It also pulls in your quads, but overall, this is a key movement if you’re all about lifting with your butt.

Check out our guide on how to split squat

Hamstring curl

4 sets of 8 reps

Just as the name suggests, this one really homes in on the hamstrings, isolating them for a serious burn in the back of your leg. It can be easy to forget about the hammys when you’re focussing in on those glutes and quads, however they’re essential to creating a rounded shape and a powerful leg.

This is a movement you’ll do in a legs workout at the gym, as the hamstring curl machine is not something many people are fortunate enough to have at home! However, we wouldn’t recommend missing it! The hamstrings are one of the most common areas in the leg to get injured, so it’s really important you ensure they’re strong and ready to handle anything.

We’ve gone for four sets of 8 reps which will make for a fiyahhh legs workout for women. Most good gyms have a hamstring curl machine, so you don’t need to worry too much about form. Smash them out, and make sure you’ve got a challenging weight selected! 

Leg Press

woman performing a leg press in the gym

Two drop sets:

8 reps to 15 reps

To finish off this legs workout for women, we’re going to put your lower body power to the test. The humble leg press puts just about every muscle in your runners to good use. But because it’s isolating the your legs, you can lift more weight than you can with a squat, significantly more! It’s a great way to really put your leg muscle to the test. 

Note: What’s more, you can change the focus on this bad boy. Place your feet higher on the plate for more of a glute focus, or lower to bring the quads in.

We’ve made this one a drop set because, well, it’s a hardcore way to finish a leg workout and we want to see you give it your all. So choose a heavy weight for the first 8 reps, then drop it to around half and smash out the final 15. It will burn, but you totally have this.

By using a drop set as part of this session to really fatigue your legs in the final section of the workout, you’ll find this quickly becomes one of your most loved leg exercises for women…. surely?!

The Leg Muscles you’ll work in your Leg Workouts for Women

This workout will home in on a brilliant range of leg muscles that will challenge your body and build a stronger, more powerful lower body. The leg exercises for women that we’ve chosen have been specifically selected to ensure you’re working a range of muscles throughout your lower body.

This is super important in leg workouts for women, as it will help to create a well-rounded physique that

If you weren’t sure about any of the references with the leg muscles above, we’ve provided a handy diagram that will help you understand which areas you’re working out with each leg exercise.

But, in terms of what we’ve been talking about, the glutes are the group of muscles that make up the butt, quads are the front of the thigh, hamstrings are the back of the upper leg and the calf is the back of the lower leg. In a nutshell, they’re pretty much all the leg muscle groups you need to know about.

Leg Muscle Anatomy

How often should I do my leg workouts? 

When starting to include leg workouts for women in your weekly routine, it’s important to be aware of how often you should be training this area.

As with any area of the body, your legs can become tired if they’re worked too often. And while you may want to speed up results, working your legs too often each week can actually have a detrimental effect on your progress.

If your legs don’t have time to recover between training sessions, they won’t get stronger and you could risk injury and pain which will take you out of the gym completely. Basically, it’s really not worth it.

Instead, when you’re planning in your leg workouts at the gym, we recommend starting off with two lower body sessions a week, allowing plenty of time to recover between each one. So potentially one legs workout on a Monday and another on Thursday.

How to recover from a legs workout for women

As we’ve mentioned above, recovery is super important to seeing the results from the leg exercises we’ve highlighted above.

So it’s important you know what you need to do to maximize recovery.

First up, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Your body heals itself at it’s fastest when you’re snoozing, so we recommend getting at least 7 hours each night. Trust us, with these leg workouts for women in your weekly routine, you’ll find it much easier to catch some Z’s!

On top of that, we really recommend ensuring you’re getting the right amount of protein in your diet. Your body uses the protein you consume through food to heal your muscle fibers, allowing them to come back stronger than before. Check out our guide to the best recovery foods after a workout to ensure you’re getting plenty of muscle-healing protein in your diet.

The final rep – gymgirl hints and tips

Remember girl, every workout is as hard as you make it.

To really progress and grow, you need to make sure you’re lifting heavy, with excellent form. Once you’ve got that nailed, this workout has the potential to kickstart your leg gains.

We also recommend you perfect your form before attempting any of the big lifts, so if you’re a beginner, check out our exercises guide here.

Now, go get em! Take this legs workout out for a spin yourself. Just remember to stretch and drink your protein!


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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