Building leg strength isn’t just about looking good in shorts or having the stamina to run around after your kids all day. In reality, strong legs are critical to overall health and well-being because they keep us balanced, active, and mobile. That’s why everyone needs to work their leg Musclesblaze, whether you’re an athlete or someone looking to remain independent as you age. Try these five exercises that are great for building leg strength, and get ready to run circles around everyone else!

1) Squats

Squats are one of my favorite exercises for building leg strength, and will quickly make your quads and glutes as hard as steel. It’s best to do squats with a lightweight at first if you’re new to working out. As you get stronger, move on to heavier weights. Start with your feet about hip-width apart and then lower yourself down slowly (about two seconds), keeping your back straight throughout. Once you hit parallel, pause for a second and then push yourself back up again in a controlled manner. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps once or twice per week depending on how much time you have available. Remember: good form is key!

2) Lunges

Lunges are a fantastic exercise that can be done almost anywhere. Lunges can help strengthen your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. All you need to do lunges is a wall or chair for balance, and you’re ready to go! As with any exercise, it’s important to start off slow when doing lunges so you don’t get injured. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips. Step forward with one foot and drop down until both knees are bent at 90 degrees (or as far as they will comfortably go). Then push yourself back up by stepping forward into starting position. Repeat 10 times on each leg and then switch legs.

3) Bulgarian Split Squats

In order to start doing Bulgarian split squats, you’ll need a bench and a pair of dumbbells. You should be sitting on one side of your bench with your leg resting on top of it. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, rest them on your thighs. Then, you’ll want to push up through your heel while flexing your glutes as you lower yourself until both knees are bent at 90 degrees. From there, you can reverse directions and repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-15 reps depending on your fitness level. Just remember to focus on using only one leg at a time when performing these exercises!

4) Deadlifts

If you’re looking to add strength to your legs, it’s hard to beat a classic deadlift. This exercise engages nearly every muscles blaze in your body legs, core, back, and arms as you work through an arcing motion. First, stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Bend down and grab onto a barbell or dumbbell with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width. Keeping your back straight and chest up, lift until you’re standing upright. This move primarily works your hamstrings but also targets several other muscles of your lower body like the quadriceps and calves.

5) Step Ups

Step-ups are an easy exercise you can do anywhere. The video above shows how to build strength in your quads and glutes by stepping up onto something that’s at least knee height, like a chair. Using your heel for power, step up onto the chair and hold for 3 seconds, then step back down. Repeat 10 times and try to increase your reps every time you work out.