30 day leg challenge

This 30 day leg challenge works all the main thigh and butt muscles, with a bit of work for the lower legs as well. There are 5 exercises, which are split into two sets that alternate daily through the challenge. The two sets of exercises are:

Set 1 – leg lifts to the side and leg lifts behind
Set 2 – squats plus 2 squat variations

Before you start

Please read these exercise safety guidelines.

You should do a short warm up each day before doing the challenge. Warm ups prepare muscles and joints for exercise by increasing blood supply to the muscles and lubricating the joints. Do 10 “halfway squats” before you start each day. This means that instead of squatting down until your thighs are parallel with the floor as described below, you should go halfway to this position and then come up again.

Info box

30 day leg challenge PDF

30 day leg challenge – the exercises

#1 side leg raise

30 day leg challenge Side raise

  1. Stand sideways to the wall and put your left hand on it for support.
  2. Make sure you are standing straight (not bending forward), with your butt pulled under your body.
  3. Lift your right leg out to the side
  4. Take your leg as high as you can without leaning towards the wall. Lower and repeat for the given number of reps.
  5. Then turn around and put your right hand on the wall and repeat with your left leg.

#2 leg lift behind

Leg raise behind

  • Have both hands on the wall for support.
  • Take your right leg out behind you, and flex your foot, so that only your toes are touching the floor.
  • Lift your leg as high as you can without arching your back.
  • Lower your leg back down, until your toes touch the floor behind you. Repeat for the given number of reps and then change to your left leg.

#3 basic squat


  1. Have your feet a little more than hip distance apart, parallel or slightly turned out.
  2. Bend at your knees and hips as you lower into squat position. Aim to get your thighs parallel with the floor.
  3. Come back up gently, making sure you don’t jerk your knees backwards. Repeat for the given number of reps.

#4 squat with side leg raise

Squat & side leg

  1. Stand with feet hip distance apart, as for a regular squat.
  2. Go down into a squat, then as you come up out of the squat, lift your right leg out to the side.
  3. Lower your leg, then squat down and repeat, taking your left leg to the side. Keep alternating right and left until you have completed all the reps.
  4. Arms: as you come into the squat, cross your arms in front of your body, then take them out to the side as you lift your leg out to the side – this pattern helps with balance and coordination.

#5 side squat

30 day leg challenge Side squat

  1. Stand with your feet together.
  2. Take your right leg out to the side as you lower into a wide squat position.
  3. Bring your right leg back to its starting position.
  4. Repeat to the left and keep alternating right and left until you have completed the given number of reps on each side.
  5. Arms: again, for balance and coordination, it may help to raise your arms to the side as you squat.

30 day leg challenge schedule

Apart from the squats, all these exercises need to be done on the right and left. The number of reps for the exercises on the chart are for each leg. So, for example, on day 1 you do 10 reps on each leg and on day 2 you do 5 squats to each side and 5 leg raises on each leg.

30 day leg challenge chart

Get a printable copy of the workout chart

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Related to 30 day leg challenge

90 day fitness challenge for legsLower body circuit

Challenge FAQs

The first day of the challenge should feel like it needs a bit of effort, but not too much. If you really struggle with day 1, then you probably won’t get through the challenge. The idea with the challenges on this site is that the first few days get you used to the exercises and the daily habit. Usually about halfway through the challenge the effort levels start to increase more quickly.

Avoid challenges that increase effort levels very quickly – they’re simply not realistic. It’s unlikely that, for example, you would be able to increase how many squats you are able to do by 10 a day for 30 days, or increase your plank hold time by 10 seconds a day for 30 days.

In general, allowing muscles 48 hours between workouts is good because it gives our bodies time to recover and adapt. Challenges are generally short workouts and for a limited period of time (usually 30 days), so not having many rest days won’t be a problem. With challenges that alternate exercises each day, it’s not an issue, because you’re using different muscles.

Fitness improvements don’t always happen in a predictable way. Sometimes we’re just not as strong or energetic for no apparent reason, or we hit a plateau. If you get to a point where you’re struggling to complete the day’s challenge, you can try one of the following:

  • Take a couple of days off and start again where you left off
  • Do the challenge on alternate days rather than every day
  • Instead of increasing the effort every day, stay at the same level for 2 or 3 days and then go onto the next day of the challenge

Obviously these solutions mean the challenge will last longer, but you’ll still benefit from doing it.

Further reading
The muscles used in squats – squat biomechanics explained