The important female characteristics of shapely calves, toned thighs, and tight buttocks aren’t inherited, gained by popping pills or achieved by dieting—they have to be earned!

This means some serious gym time needs to be spent concentrating on these essential areas. But, with a little bit of effort—the results can be sensational.

However, knowing exactly what exercises to complete can be confusing. This is why I’ve put together what I consider to be the ultimate and best lower body workout for women.

By concentrating on the glutes, hamstrings, and calves—it provides results that both tone and build the lower body—while keeping it all in proportion.

Let’s get down to work!

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Guide to the Best Lower Body Workout for Women

In order to obtain the maximum benefit, this best lower body workout for women should be completed twice a week—but never on back-to-back days. You need to give your muscles an opportunity to grow and rebuild.

If you’re so addicted that you don’t want to take a day off, complete a different workout the next day—such as the best upper body workout for women. But you should still allow yourself two gym-free days during the course of the week.

The first time you complete these exercises, you’ll need to select your weights. For the most impressive results, choose the heaviest load that you can manage—while still being able to hit the target reps indicated for each.

However, if you’re not after serious muscle growth, but instead just wish to tighten and tone—select a lighter weight that still gives noticeable resistance but is “manageable” and increase the rep count by an additional eight.

Take a break of about three minutes between differing exercises. In total, the entire workout should take around one hour and fifteen minutes to complete.

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The Best Lower Body Workout for Women

1. Best Lower Body Workout for Women Warm Up

Stationary bike:        Five minutes on resistance level five.

Static rower:              Six minutes on resistance level five.

2. Barbell Hip Thrust

Other names:                        Bridge/weighted hip extension.

Equipment required:            Barbell, weights, and bench.

Muscles worked:                  Glutes.

Repetitions:                           12–15.

Sets:                                       Four.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes.

Barbell hip thrust demonstration video.                           

Tips and Recommendations

Keep your knees and feet at waist-width throughout this exercise. Wrapping a towel around the bar, or using a fat-bar (two inches in diameter or wider), can reduce discomfort.

3. Seated Leg Curls

Other names:                        Seated hamstring curls.

Equipment required:            Hamstring curl machine.

Muscles worked:                  Hamstrings.

Repetitions:                           8–10.

Sets:                                       Four.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes thirty seconds.

Tips and Recommendations

While you should be using the heaviest weight you can manage, ensure that it isn’t so substantial it causes you to swing, lift or jerk during the exercise. In some circumstances, this can cause lower back injuries or tears to the hamstring muscle.

4. Wide Stance Deadlift

Other names:                        Sumo deadlift, legs apart deadlift.

Equipment required:            Barbell and weights.

Muscles worked:                  Hamstrings and quadriceps.

Repetitions:                           14–16.

Sets:                                       4.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes.

Wide stance deadlift demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

During this exercise, use the mixed grip (one palm facing away from the body, the other toward the body). This position cancels out the rotation of the bar—and, since the arms are not used for lifting, it relieves stress on the finger flexors, providing a more secure hold.

5. Machine Calf Raise

Other names:                        Calf press, toe press.

Equipment required:            Calf press machine.

Muscles worked:                  Calves.

Repetitions:                           14–16.

Sets:                                       4.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes thirty seconds.

Tips and Recommendations

To avoid injury, check that your back remains upright and straight during the calf raises. Slow and steady is the key to this exercise—don’t rush. The more time you take through both the lifting and lowering movements, the more pressure you will be applying to the calves—therefore giving the best workout possible.

6. Side Stepper Walk

Other names:                        Lateral band walk, side steps.

Equipment required:            Exercise loop band, floor space.

Muscles worked:                  Abductors.

Repetitions:                           18–20.

Sets:                                       Two.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes.

Side stepper walk demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

Difficulty can be increased or decreased, depending on the location of the bands. The nearer to the knees, the easier the exercise—closer to the ankles raises the intensity. Look forward throughout this exercise, not at the floor, while keeping your toes pointed at all times.

7. Step Ups With Dumbbells

Other names:                        Dumbbell step ups, dumbbell climbers.

Equipment required:            Dumbbells (or barbell as an alternative), bench, box or step.

Muscles worked:                  Quadriceps.

Repetitions:                           20.

Sets:                                       Four.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes.

Step ups with dumbbells demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

If you’re new to this exercise and have little power in the thighs, it can be done without weights until strength increases. It works as an excellent exercise for people who have issues with the lower back and cannot do barbell stiff-legged deadlifts.

8. Kettlebell Swings

Other names:                        Swinging bells.

Equipment required:            Kettlebell.

Muscles worked:                  Hamstrings.

Repetitions:                           12–15 (complete the last set until complete fatigue).

Sets:                                       3.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes.

Kettlebell swings demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

For the duration of this exercise, ensure that your back does not bend—keep it as straight as possible. If you have good balance and strength, the kettlebell swing can be performed with one arm at a time, alternating after each set.

9. Narrow Stance Leg Press

Other names:                        Legs together press.

Equipment required:            Leg press machine.

Muscles worked:                  Quadriceps.

Repetitions:                           12–14.

Sets:                                       4.

Rest time between sets:      Two minutes thirty seconds.

Narrow stance leg press demonstration video.

Tips and Recommendations

In the leg fully-extended position, ensure you do not lock out your knees—at all times, your legs should be under pressure from the weights. Keep your back tightly pressed against the pad—with your upper body and thighs forming a 90-degree angle during extension.

10. Lower Body Workout Cool Down

Recumbent Bike:                 Six minutes.

Best Lower Body Workout for Women Summary

This best lower body workout for women is the best way to obtain an absolute killer figure.

Always remember to complete this workout in its entirety for the most proportioned figure possible—and combine with a diet designed to promote muscle growth.

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Johnny Gallagher

Johnny Gallagher is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.

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