19 Lower Body Exercises To Tone Your Butt, Thighs, and Legs

These simple exercises target your lower half to keep you strong and healthy.

Strengthening your lower body can give your butt and legs the aesthetic boost you're looking for, but it's also a key component of being fit and healthy. That's because your lower half—hips, butt, thighs, and legs—contain some of your body's largest muscle groups (the gluteus maximus, or buttocks, is the largest). These powerful muscles are responsible for stabilizing and supporting your entire body, and conditioning them can help you maintain balance and move freely and easily in your daily life.

Exercising your lower half also has many additional benefits, including:

Here are 19 exercises to help you work your lower body and build strength. You can do each one alone or piece them together as part of a workout routine, and aim to do them at least twice a week. That's the amount of time a 2016 study in Sports Medicine found maximizes muscle growth.

Butt-sculpting Circuit

Follow along with personal trainer Kelsey Wells to get your heart rate up—and watch your rear look better than ever. Wear a heart rate monitor to track your exercising beats per minute, and try to stay in the ideal zone for you.

Warrior III

Tone your legs and core with this quick workout from Lauren Kleban, who founded LEKfit, a dance-inspired fitness method. As you work through these exercises, remember to keep your core engaged to target those important muscles.

Chair Squat

Get your booty toned with these three butt-sculpting moves from fitness artist Nicole Winhoffer. Glutes, which are the three muscle groups in your butt, help with walking, running, and posture. Strong glutes also help you avoid knee injuries, so, get squatting.

Pivoting Curtsy Lunge

Chris Fanning

Standing with feet hip-width apart, step your right foot diagonally behind you and into a 7 o'clock position. Bend both knees, so you're in a lunge stance. Lean your torso forward 30 degrees and pulse up and down 10 to 15 times. Straighten the body and pivot 180 degrees, so your right foot comes to the front. Again, lower into a lunge.

Pulse up and down 10 to 15 times on each side to complete one set; do three sets.

RELATED: This Inner Thigh Workout Will Transform Your Legs

Low Lunge Hover


This standing move works both the legs and butt.

Stand with feet hip-width apart before stepping your right foot back and lowering into a lunge stance with the left knee over the ankle. Bring your arms over your head and hinge forward from the waist. Lower the chest forward toward the thighs as your arms reach forward. Lift the right leg while straightening the left. Hold for three breaths before returning to the starting lunge position.

Do three reps; switch legs and repeat.

RELATED: The One Squat Variation You Need to Be Doing for a Perkier Butt

Skater Lunge

Megan Roup, a fitness trainer who owns the at-home fitness app Sculpt Society, leads a 10-minute full-body workout.

The Lean


This move works the inner thighs and begins with the same stance as the skater's lunge.

Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and arms down at your sides. Take a step diagonally back with the right foot. Then, bend sideways from the waist toward the side where your right leg is stretched out, and reach your right arm up and left arm down and back toward your right calf. Return arms to starting position to complete one rep.

Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

RELATED: Work Your Thighs and Core in Only 10 Minutes With Carrie Dorr

Leg Lift


This move targets the quads, which are the group of muscles on the front of your thigh.

While you stand facing a chair, raise your right leg, knee facing up, foot flexed, and place your heel on the seat. Make sure not to lock your standing knee as you lift your right foot off the chair and straighten it out until you feel your quadriceps engage. Keeping your lifted leg in the air, bend the leg on the floor slightly and then straighten it again.

Do 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat for one full set; do three sets.

RELATED: Dumbbell Box Step-Overs Will Give You Your Tightest Butt Ever

How-to Video: Standing Glute Toner


Want a leg-lift exercise to work your glutes? Watch this video to find out how to do it right.

Two-thirds Jump Squat

This is how fitness trainer and Fit Body App founder Anna Victoria works her glutes (and abs). Your core abs wrap your mid-body and are important in helping you balance and prevent injury.



This V-Position is similar to a ballet plié, and just like that classic move, it works the thighs, hips, and glutes.

Stand holding the back of a chair with one hand. Place your feet in a V position, toes should be about four inches apart and heels stay pressed together. Bend your knees and lift the heels a few inches off the floor. Then, lower your hips until you feel your quads intensely working. Pulse up and down.

Ten to 15 pulses up and down completes one set; do three sets.

RELATED: These 3 Ballet Moves Can Help Prevent Knee Injuries

Lateral Lunge Side Kick

Start sculpting your booty with this quick one-minute workout from Katie Austin, a certified fitness trainer and health coach.

Hip Bridge

David Martinez

This move is a modified bridge and targets the glutes.

Lie on your back facing up with knees bent. Plant your heels into the floor and lift the toes toward the shins. Raise the buttocks off the ground until your back forms a straight line from the knees to the shoulders. Hold for one second before lowering down.

Repeat for 15 reps.

RELATED: 3 Exercises for a Stronger Pelvic Floor (and Lower Abs)


David Martinez

This squat incorporates dumbbells and works to tone the thighs.

With a five-pound dumbbell in each hand at your sides, stand with the left foot forward and the right foot back in a wide stance. Bend both knees keeping the left knee over your ankle while lowering the right knee nearly to the floor. Return to standing.

Do eight to 10 reps on each side.

RELATED: 5 Exercises for Tighter, Stronger Thighs

Single Leg Lift and Row

Tom Rafalovich

This move works more than just the legs; it targets the back, arms, and core in addition to the butt and hamstrings.

Begin standing with your left foot in front of the right foot. Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in the right hand and keep both arms at your sides. Leaning forward, raise the right foot off the ground and bring it straight up to hip level. At the same time, bring the weight toward the ground and then raise it up to hip level.

Do 12 to 15 reps on the right side before switching arms and legs to repeat on the left side.

Standing Forward Bend

Chris Fanning

This move fights cellulite and works the quad muscles.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and hinge forward at the hips. Keep your knees slightly bent, lay the chest on your upper thighs, and let your head fall forward toward the ground. Keep the quads engaged and slowly work to straighten the legs without locking the knees. Hips should stay centered over the feet.

Hold for five to eight slow and deep breaths.

RELATED: 7 Exercises That Will Boost Your Mobility and Flexibility

Chair Twist


This move works the butt and legs, and though chair is in the title, no equipment or props are needed.

Start by standing with feet together. Bend the knees and push the hips back, while making sure the knees stay behind the toes. Lower the thighs until they're almost parallel with the floor and raise the arms forward and up. Then, rotate the torso to the right side and place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee. Hold for three breaths and return to the starting position.

Repeat on the left side to complete one rep; do three reps.

RELATED: 20 Hip-Strengthening Exercises You Can Do at Home

Downward Dog Split

Jay Sullivan

This yoga move is great for the legs.

Begin on all fours on the ground. Take a deep breath, release and push into downward dog by straightening the legs and lifting your hips and butt into the air. Push your hands and feet into the ground and relax the head between your arms. Exhale and lift one leg as high as you can while keeping it straight with a flexed foot. Lower the leg down and repeat on the other side.

RELATED: Get Energized Fast With This Invigorating 18-Minute Yoga Flow

Knee Lift-leg Kick Combo


This move is pretty challenging; if you can't complete the recommended reps, feel free to do less and work your way up to completing the entire set.

Lie on your right side with the upper body supported by the right elbow and tricep, which should be flat on the mat at your side. Stack the legs and hip, and bend the knees. Lift the top bent leg, keeping it level, and lower it. Straighten both legs and let them fall into a small split position (with one leg split over the other). Hover the bottom leg about 1 to 2 inches from the floor with knees facing forward. Return to starting position to complete one rep.

Do 30 to 40 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

A Quick Review

These lower body exercises are designed to shape your butt, thighs, and legs, but they will also help you stay strong, limber, and healthy. Try them all to see which ones work best for you, and stick with a regular routine to see faster results.

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4 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institutes of Health. Exercise for your bone health.

  2. Bisconti AV, Cè E, Longo S, et al. Evidence for improved systemic and local vascular function after long‐term passive static stretching training of the musculoskeletal system. J Physiol. 2020;598(17):3645-3666. doi:10.1113/JP279866

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