Beginner Leg Workout

This basic beginner leg workout hits the quads, hamstrings, glutes & calf muscles. It is designed for beginners to weight training who want to build and strengthen their legs.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Single Muscle Group
Beginner
1
Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

Welcome to the beginners leg workout! This leg workout comprises of a total of 9 sets and 4 exercises. The workout hits the hamstrings, glutes (butt muscle), quads and calves. You should do this workout once per week only to allow time for adequate recovery.

Workout Notes:

  1. Perform a 2 set warm-up before this workout on the leg press machine. First set with a very light weight, and the second set with half the weight used on the first exercise.
  2. Strict technique on all exercises. (see quads, hamstrings, glutes and calf exercises)
  3. Aim to improve at least one aspect of your workout each week.

Weekly Workout Routine:

Beginner Leg Workout
Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg press 3 15-12-10
Leg extension 2 10
Leg curl 2 10
Seated calf raise 2 12-10
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About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

70 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 04:51
Dillon Barron
I am an aspired professional XC mountain biker. I have started lifting legs much more in the gym and I put in about 80-100 miles on weekends. I have started competing and am doing pretty well. I am currently in the United States Air Force and will start racing for them in the spring of 2011. Any ideas for good workout sessions or individual exercises that will help with my cycling?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 08:28
Steven
Hi Dillon. The one leg exercise that helped my athletic performance beyond everything else was the squat. I would adopt a simple leg workout based around squats that also included hamstring and calf work.
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 20:58
zachary papsadora
Hey my name is Zach, I'm 16 years old I play at the maximum level of hockey for my age. I'm playing with 20 year old men. And i want to gain more leg power so I can generate more speed through my stride. I'm looking for a good workout routine, I'm dedicated and i am able to attend the gym physicality as much as required. My body profile is 5'11 and 170 pounds. I would really appreciate if you could help me out and possibly come up with a plan that will meet my expectations of the upcoming season I have 4 months to train till my season starts back again.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 06/15/2010 - 09:24
Steven
Hi Zach, I strongly recommend a beginner workout that involves squats. Squats will improve leg strength, drive and power. Here are several beginner workouts. Pick one that you like that involves performing squats, and that has a schedule that suits your training needs. http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner.html
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Posted Thu, 03/13/2014 - 00:41
Tyson Settle
I'd like to add one important thing, especially applicable to bicycle riders. These workouts listed, as well as barbell squat and deadlift, are bilateral lifts (utilize both legs simultaneously), therefore they are arguably not as effective as modified versions. The nature of bike riding being a unilateral contraction means that you should train for such. Unilateral leg exercises are essentially the same exercises as bilateral leg exercises but you need to execute them with only one leg. Examples include dumbell/barbell lunges, split-leg squat, single-leg press and single-leg box jumps.
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Posted Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:29
Basketballassassin
you are truly an inspiration to us all I truly feel that we have a connection and I hope to one day marry you :)
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Posted Sun, 06/27/2010 - 23:32
Ashran
HI, I WANTED TO KNOW IF THERE ARE ANY OTHER LEG EXERCISES THAT DO NOT USE LEG EXTENSIONS OR OTHER MACHINES. I ONLY HAVE 15LB DUMBBELLS AND A BENCH.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/28/2010 - 12:20
Steven
Hi Ashran, You could perform dumbbell lunges.
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Posted Tue, 03/04/2014 - 19:10
Safetyscott
I would recommend single and double handed DB swings. Then for calfs, jumping jacks are hard to beat.
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Posted Sun, 07/25/2010 - 00:11
tugandochhe
Hey is there any beginners workout for legs that i can perform at home without using any machines?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 07/25/2010 - 13:57
Steven
There are some home-based workouts for beginners here: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/home.html
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Posted Thu, 08/26/2010 - 03:19
diaz
DEar Sir, I have had two complete knee replacements about a year ago. What exercises can I perform in order to strengthen my thighs and calves ? Kind regards
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 09:24
Steven
Hi Diaz, I would start slow and try some lighter weight leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, and for caves a standing or seated calf raise. Over time attempt to add reps or weight to sets, when and if you feel comfortable.
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Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 10:31
diaz
Thank you very much for the very prompt reply and advice which is greatly appreciated. I will ley you know how I progress. Kind regards Diaz
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Posted Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:16
Austin Rogers
If I workout Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the morning and the evening will that lead to overtraining?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 14:01
Steven
Hi Austin, That depends on your split, exercise selection and volume of sets, among other things. It's hard to say without looking at your program.
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Posted Mon, 11/08/2010 - 10:48
Austin
I do different muscle groups every time I workout. So does that help for you to answer my question?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/08/2010 - 12:28
Steven
Hi Austin, I would need a complete list of exercises and sets on each given day.
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Posted Tue, 12/21/2010 - 17:35
Frank
Hey guys, 24 Years old, male, active duty Army, Run 3x a week. I have been going to the gym 4/5 days a week for about 6 months now, however I usually skip legs. I have noticed that I have very underdeveloped thighs, to the point that I am starting to get knee injuries when running. Its been hard for me to finally admit that my legs are weak but I'm done denying it. I am going to start with this basic routine, my question is how many weeks should I continue a beginner routine like this until I should kick it up to a more advanced routine. I'm fine doing these 4 basic movements, I think they are great. My question I guess is what is a good indicator that I am improving enough to move on?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 10:51
Steven
Hi Frank, I would spend at least one month using moderate weight, and practicing form. Slowly add weight during this month, and once you feel comfortable with the lifts, start to get more aggressive about pushing yourself. During this time, using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. While doing this, you could really use a beginner workout for quite an extended period of time. Say 3-4 months or longer...
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Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 05:03
raj
Dear sir, i am 28yrs old now, 5 years b4 i met with an bike accident not major, but now i am suffering leg (instability) due to Anterior cruciate ligament tear (minor) on my left leg . i already consult with doctor and he told me to do leg strengthening exercises , can u advice me how and what exercises for me to do.. Kind regards raj
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 10:52
Steven
Hi Raj, Injury recovery si not my specialty. I recommend asking this question on the forum: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/
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Posted Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:41
Aaron K
hey guys I run at least 2 miles every monday wednesday and friday and was wondering when i could do this workout without putting to much pressure on my legs
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 13:44
Steven
Hi Aaron, You want to run either on off lifting days, after lifting, or quite a few hours before lifting.
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Posted Sun, 01/23/2011 - 17:25
Jack
What kind of cardio is best to do after a leg workout? I usually use the elliiptical for cardio but don't want to overstress my legs. Would using the recumbent bike for a short cardio session be better after a legs workout? Thanks Jack
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Posted Sat, 01/29/2011 - 09:47
Scott
Hello, I am wondering the order of this and other beginning routines. Am I supposed to do a set of one exercise then the next exercise, or should I completed all three sets of squats then move to the two sets of extensions and so on? Thanks for your help
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Posted Mon, 06/20/2011 - 23:31
Deng
If your trying to increase leg size, should you workout your legs twice a week once a week? If so, should you do it with different muscle part. Ex. Back And Legs? Thanks.
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Posted Wed, 07/06/2011 - 04:04
Dan
Hi Steve, Could I add squats to this routine by chance?
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Posted Thu, 08/11/2011 - 14:36
sam
Hi steve, i recently tried a workout that suggested hack squats but my gym doesn't have a machine. What do you suggest I do instead of those?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/16/2011 - 14:48
Steven
Hi Sam, Squats.
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Posted Thu, 01/12/2012 - 09:44
pete
really? no use for extensions and curls. try squats or goblet squats or BW squats..single joint exercises are for advanced people. imo...
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Posted Tue, 08/16/2011 - 18:33
FRED Brower
Hey Doug, I wanna know how to build extreme strength and explosion in my legs by doing this workout. Thanks,
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/17/2011 - 14:10
Steven
Hi Fred, Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.
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Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 14:15
Trina
Hi Zach, I am 42 years old and just recovered from over a year of vertigo. I was using a cain and passed out on a couple of occasions... Now that the vertigo is gone I have very little strength in my legs and feel I am starting from scratch. Can you suggest to me where to begin... I'm a little overwhelmed with the whole process. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Trina
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 22:37
Steven
What equipment do you have access to? Do you workout at home or at a gym? Also, what are your goals?
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Posted Sun, 11/06/2011 - 21:36
Joe
I have started playing volleyball lately and was wonder what workouts I should do to improve my verticle jump.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/23/2011 - 14:02
Steven
Squats get my vote. They always worked wonders for my vert.
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Posted Wed, 11/09/2011 - 23:03
Knox
Hi. I'm a high school kicker for my football team and I haven't really worked out much before. I was wondering what a good basic starting routine would be, with as much focus on building leg strength as possible. Thanks in advance, Knox
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/23/2011 - 14:03
Steven
This workout is a good place to start. It may also be beneficial to incorporate squats.
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Posted Thu, 12/08/2011 - 10:26
Michael Barrett
Hey Steve, My gym does'nt have a seated calf raise machine. Could you recommend another workout which targets the same muscle group? E.g. is it possible to work the calfs standing with a dumbell in each hand and then raising yourself onto your tiptoes? Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/21/2011 - 11:24
Steven
Dumbbell calf raises are a good option. I prefer one foot at a time holding only a single dumbbell. But you can do both at the same time. Here are more great choices: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/calf.html
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Posted Fri, 12/23/2011 - 04:50
ricky
hi iam british military and iam just looking for a work out that consists of leg and core workout to assist for carrying heavy weight for long distances much appreciated if you can help
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 12/23/2011 - 11:29
Steven
Hi Ricky, I suggest posting your question on the forum. You will receive some great advice. http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/
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Posted Wed, 12/28/2011 - 17:55
Tj
Hey guys whats up? I dig your site. I emailing you because im trying to figure out a way to put some beef on my legs. Im 40 years old and my body is TOTTALLY disproportianate. Im barrell chested with scrawny chicken legs. Iam not exaggerating when i say my legs are sickly. People at work make fun of me and say that my legs look like golf putters. One guy said i look like i have polio.im real self consious and desperate. Ill do whatever it takes, i just dont know where or how to start. I guess i need some one to help point me in the right direction, workout wise,recovery wise, nutrition, the whole ball of wax. I just want to look normal, proportianate. Please help. This is not a joke....my legs are disgusting. Please help me guys. Thanks and god bless.
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Posted Tue, 01/17/2012 - 01:48
reda
Hi dear Tj: i can understand your situation, and thats wt drived me to answer your question, first of all you have to join a gym, that will help and encourge you to perform better day by day,the trainer will guide you, you have to first go to the gym and get used to the atmospher, you can start with swedish ( Fitness ) exercises. it will help you lose weight, strengthening and gaining muscles and shape your body. Then you can start to do biggners body building exersices and go ahead. ofcourse you have to take care of your nutrition, avoid rice, bread,fat meals you can have chicken,beef,fish etc . but on lunch not dinner, actually try to avoid the dinner meal, or have some fruits or vegetables. and soo on.. so the first step is ,,,, join the Gym... second is to start some fitness exercises third is to do start the biggners body building exercises.. all these should be carried out parallelly with an appropriate diet. and ofcourse with great enthusiasm , interest, hope and love.
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Posted Mon, 01/23/2012 - 00:16
john
im 22 wanting to play football this season, so im tryna build my legs to the point where i can last longer. my question is how long would you say this routine is? is it overdoing it if i was to do it twice a day? will my legs be stronger n more tone or will have to move up to like an intermidate workout after this?
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Posted Wed, 02/08/2012 - 04:21
hector
Hi, i broke my ankle about 5 years ago, I can run but ankle gets stiff, what kind of excercises can i do to strengthen my legs and maintain mobility/improve mobility on my ankle?
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Posted Mon, 02/13/2012 - 23:03
Max
Hey im 13 5ft 9 145lbs what could i do to increase my vertical?
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Posted Thu, 02/23/2012 - 16:41
Addy
How do I gain 2-3 inches on my legs. I have been doing it squats and then stops. And now almost after 6 months I m back to gym. I have started my workout and it is my 3rd week. For Legs I am going follow this beginner exercise and then advance level but I want get size on my legs. Does these exercise good for the increasing the size? How does protein intake works with the workout? Does it help to do same leg workout twice a week to gain size on the legs? Thanks
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Posted Thu, 03/01/2012 - 15:02
Robert
Should I replace the leg press with a barbell squat, if im a beginner?

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