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
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
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg press 3 15-12-10
Leg extension 2 10
Leg curl 2 10
Seated calf raise 2 12-10
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 Tue, 01/20/2015 - 00:13
sai mithra

Hi sir,I have been doing for several months ,I used to do only upper workouts,now am feeling ashame of my thinner thighs,,plz give some suggestions to improve my thin thighs,,

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Posted Thu, 12/25/2014 - 03:20
vasu gupta

I have flat foot my upper body is alright but my leg bones are becoming weak day by day and leg fat is also incresing. im 14 years old, my weight was 40 when im 13 years old but now my weight is 54. suggest some easy exercises to increase bone power and and to burn fat and build muscle..Now its very difficult for me too run for a long time

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Posted Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:39

Hi Steve,
Over the last 2 years I've went from 135 to 173 but I will admit I've neglected my legs.
I'm 5'11 and my legs are very long compared to the rest of my body. Squats bother my bad knee, is there a way it can build strong legs without it? And will targeting my legs improve my upper body mass due to raised test levels? I want to compete at some point but I want impressive legs first. I have a good grasp on body building and have gotten my upper body pretty strong. From 135 bench press 2 years ago too 300 for 2 reps now. What's a good lift to start my workout with? Thanks steve

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Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 22:41

I am a soccer player and i want to develop strong legs for my sport. Shall i do squats?

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Posted Sat, 03/01/2014 - 23:51

Hello!i started gym yesterday but i dont know which machines to use.i'm a 5'5 and 61kg girl.mylower body is not proportioned to my upper body.i buy size small on tshirts and large on pants because thats the only thing that fits my me!!

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Posted Thu, 01/30/2014 - 01:03
Fidan Guru malnueva

hey i do alot of squats and workout at my home i try every leg workout at youtube and is it normal to feel pain when walking but i think i increased my jump but why is it kinda gone and btw i do diets to less weight hey can you tell me how to jump higher i need now because nxt week will be my 100m dash please reply ASAP ! :)

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Posted Mon, 09/02/2013 - 05:06


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Posted Sun, 06/09/2013 - 21:17
Kenny Banh

Is there a specific order we should do this in?

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2013 - 10:28

I have just turned 16, and I play a lot of football. Training Monday to Friday (except Thursday) and play matches Saturday and Sunday. You got any tips on how to increase my calf and quad muscles??

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Posted Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:22

today my 6th day back at the gym, im doing legs today im going to do this method , how much should i start with leg presses ? a plate ? then add 25 pounds?

Joey's picture
Posted Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:37

After completing a few sets with very light weight as a warm-up, you'll have to experiment with the weight at first. You'll want to start with a weight that you can complete with good form and finish the recommended rep ranges. After you're able to complete all prescribed reps, it would be time to add more weight. For legs, it's usually fine to add weight in 10lb increments.

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Posted Thu, 12/20/2012 - 19:19

My name is Matt. I used to work out a lot (2-3 hours daily). I broke two vertebrae and now I am pretty much having to restart because I've been in recovery for a year and a half. I want to do things differently. Before, I would just workout with no real goal. I'd just go run with no end point, lift with no real routine or goal. I want to get a good routine and learn to set goals that are reasonable and allow constant progress. I can't run anymore because my back can't handle it so I have started to use a bike. Are there any materials you could recommend for a solid routine which builds strength and size as well as has several milestones? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 11/26/2012 - 09:17

I would like to learn how to do sets and reps.

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Posted Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:33

hey steve..
i'm working out since upper body turned out in a good shape but my legs are still too thin..can you suggest me some exercise to build up my thighs muscles??

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/06/2012 - 14:24

This workout can help.

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Posted Sun, 05/20/2012 - 15:11

I'm 6'1 207lbs 21 years old. I have a great upper body, but I have chicken legs. I admire soccer players and there legs, what can I do to get great looking legs. My body just looks awkward. Thank u.

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Posted Tue, 05/15/2012 - 16:40
Stephanie smith

Hi!! I just lost 20lbs and really need to tone. I enjoy working out from home and have been doing the abs and leg work outs. I wanted to know if I should do the full body work out and when to add it in there? Thank u!!

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Posted Mon, 04/23/2012 - 20:57

Hey, Im age 14, and trying to get in shape for football. I am underweight, and trying to become Running back or Wider receiver. I need A LOT more leg muscle, please help.

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Posted Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:02

hi im currently training for football season which starts in 126 days. im a defensive line men and a offensive line men. im 6 foot and 200 lbs. Ive been so focused in upper body that i forgot my legs. is thier any exercise i can do that can also improve my speed?

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Posted Thu, 03/01/2012 - 15:02

Should I replace the leg press with a barbell squat, if im a beginner?

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Posted Wed, 12/12/2012 - 17:08

no that is too hard sorry try kicking a chicken around

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Posted Thu, 02/23/2012 - 16:41

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?


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Posted Mon, 02/13/2012 - 23:03

Hey im 13 5ft 9 145lbs what could i do to increase my vertical?

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Posted Wed, 02/08/2012 - 04:21

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, 01/23/2012 - 00:16

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, 12/28/2011 - 17:55

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 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 legs are disgusting. Please help me guys. Thanks and god bless.

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Posted Tue, 01/17/2012 - 01:48

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 Fri, 12/23/2011 - 04:50

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

Hi Ricky,

I suggest posting your question on the forum. You will receive some great advice.

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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?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/21/2011 - 11:24

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:

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Posted Wed, 11/09/2011 - 23:03

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,


Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/23/2011 - 14:03

This workout is a good place to start. It may also be beneficial to incorporate squats.

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Posted Sun, 11/06/2011 - 21:36

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

Squats get my vote. They always worked wonders for my vert.

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Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 14:15

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

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 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.

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/17/2011 - 14:10

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 Thu, 08/11/2011 - 14:36

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

Hi Sam,


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Posted Thu, 01/12/2012 - 09:44

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 Wed, 07/06/2011 - 04:04

Hi Steve,

Could I add squats to this routine by chance?

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Posted Mon, 06/20/2011 - 23:31

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 Sat, 01/29/2011 - 09:47

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 Sun, 01/23/2011 - 17:25

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?

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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

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 Thu, 12/23/2010 - 05:03

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

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 10:52

Hi Raj,

Injury recovery si not my specialty. I recommend asking this question on the forum: