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The Best Legs and Shoulder Workout for Amazing Results

Shoulder press is an effective exercise and must be included in your legs and shoulder workout.

If you’re searching for the best legs and shoulder workout, you have come to the right place!

Our legs and shoulders are the parts of our body we use the most. So, it’s important to keep them in tip-top shape with an effective leg and shoulder workout routine.

Now it might sound a bit weird training your legs and shoulder in the same day. You might have heard many gym lovers following the Push, Pull, Legs workout in which you train your shoulder during the push day. However, training unrelated muscle groups together is actually very effective.

The following exercises will not only tone up your legs and shoulders, but they’ll also get your heart pumping, build endurance, and burn off excess calories.

We have put together a solid legs and shoulder workout which you could follow or get ideas from. This workout is a killer! Make sure you perform it with proper form, and you will see positive results.

Let’s dive right in!

Muscles Worked In This Legs and Shoulder Workout

Before we get into the workout, lets answer one very important question. What makes an effective legs and shoulder workout?

The answer is simple. An effective legs and shoulder workout will hit all parts of the legs and the shoulders.

For you legs, the key muscles are your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. All of these muscles will be used throughout this workout to develop and build a stronger lower body.

The shoulders have three main pain parts. The anterior deltoid (front), lateral deltoid (middle), and posterior deltoid (rear). This shoulder workout includes all three parts making it an effective workout.

The Best Legs and Shoulder Workout – Legs Part!

Here are the best legs exercises to include in your legs and shoulder workout routine!

Bulgarian split squatWalking Lunges Back SquatsCalf RaisesHip Thrusts
Number of Reps8-128-128-1210-1510 – 12
Number of Sets33333-4

Bulgarian Split Squats

This is by far my favorite exercise and will absolutely BURN your quads. It’s super effective and will put your balance and stability to the test well as improve your core strength.

Bulgarian split squats are a compound exercise that also targets the glutes to a very large extent.

The best part is that you can do these anywhere. All you need is an elevated platform and some weights (if you want) and your good to go. This exercise is my favorite and must be added to your legs and shoulder workout routine.


  1. Stand 2 -3 feet in front of bench or a steady platform that is about knee height.
  2. Grasp a pair of dumbbells in each hand with a neutral grip and let the hang by your sides.
  3. Get into a front lunge position with your right leg on the elevated platform.
  4. Throughout this, keep your torso upright and your hips square of your body.
  5. Slowly lower your right knee until your front knee forms a 90-degree angle.
  6. Push using your front foots heel to come back up.
  7. Perform the desired number of reps and do the same with your left elevated on the platform.

Muscles worked: Quads and Glutes. Equipment needed: Dumbbells. Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Pro Tips

How far in front of the bench you position yourself depends. The closer you are to the bench or platform, the more you focus on the quads. Anywhere from 2-3 feet in front is perfect. Going to close to the bench may cause knee pain.

This exercise already tests your balance however placing your back leg right behind the front leg will result in significant imbalance and lack of form. So, make sure there is a reasonable width distance between your front leg and back leg.

With the weights, you could have a pair of dumbbells, like we mentioned above, or you could have a plate, or a single dumbbell held with two hands. It’s up to you and what feel comfortable.


One really good alternative to the Bulgarian split squats is the reverse lunge. Here is how you do it:

Stand in an upright position with a pair of dumbbells held in each hand. Take a step back and lower your knee towards the floor. Make sure it doesn’t touch the ground though. Slowly push back up. You can switch legs between reps or perform this exercise one leg before switching.

Another obvious alternative is performing split squats instead of “Bulgarian” split squats. The difference is that split squats doesn’t challenge your balance. This is because the backfoot in a split squat isn’t elevated on some surface. Both your feet are on the ground making it the exercise a little less complex compared to the Bulgarian split squat.

Walking Lunges

This is a great exercise to include in your leg work out because of the number of muscles it hits. It’s a compound movement that works primarily the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

It’s a variation of the static lunge where, instead of standing in one position and performing a lunge on one leg, you walk while performing lunges.

This exercise helps with your everyday activities. From sitting down to standing up or going up the staircase, performing this exercise will make these movements a lot easier. To top it off, this exercise is easy but very effective and must be added to your legs and shoulder workout.


  1. Stand upright with your feet hip width apart with dumbbells held in each hand. The weights should be hanging by your sides.
  2. Take a wide step forward with your right leg and bend both knees, lowering the back knee towards the floor.
  3. Keep going down until you back knee (your left knee) is just above the ground. Make sure it doesn’t touch the ground.
  4. Now without moving the right foot, move your left foot forward and perform the same lunge movement.  
  5. Continue this and step forward with each lunge and alternate your legs.
  6. Perform the desired number of reps.

Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Equipment needed: Dumbbells. Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Pro Tips

Make sure to keep your feet hip width apart! Keeping your feet too close to each other will cause imbalance throughout your exercise and will affect your form. Have them a little wider to provide more support throughout the exercise and really engage your lower body muscles.

Another thing to make sure is that when you are performing the movement, your front knee should align with your toes. If the front knee is caving inwards, this will cause knee pain.

To make sure you’re performing this correctly, your knees should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement.


One really good alternative to this exercise is the dumbbell step up. This exercise primarily targets the quads, glutes, and the hamstrings. The exercise is self-explanatory:

Stand upright with a pair of dumbbells hanging by your sides. Have a bench or a platform in front of you. Bend your right foot so that the heel is on top of the platform. Step up and straighten the right knee so that you’re standing on the platform. Lower your leg back to the ground. Repeat and switch sides. Another good alternative to this is the simple forward lunge. So instead of “walking” forward as your lunge, you are in one position.

Back Squats

This is another compound movement which means it targets more then just one muscle. It hits the quads, glutes, and the hamstrings making this exercise highly effective.

You will get a lot of trap activation throughout the exercise because the barbell will be resting on the that area. Your core will be challenged as well to maintain the weight you’re lifting.

And because of this, I wouldn’t classify this as an easy exercise because of the back, core and hip mobility needed. However, with proper practice (starting with lower weights), you will be able to perform this exercise and add it to your legs and shoulder workout routine.


  1. Stand shoulder width apart, with your toes slightly pointing out.
  2. Safely take the bar of the rack and position it on your traps. Ensure that your hands are even in distance when gripping the bar.  
  3. Bend your knee and sit straight down dropping your butt towards the floor.
  4. Keep lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel the ground. (You could go lower if you can)
  5. Reverse the motion by using your legs and pushing the weight back up.

Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Equipment needed: Barbell. Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Pro Tips

Make sure to keep your chest up! If you want to maximize the benefits of and avoid any injuries (especially if you are using a lot of weight), you need to make sure to have your chest up. To prevent your chest from dropping, roll your shoulder back and down and look forward to keeping your chin up.

Dropping your chin will result in you hunching forwards, increasing the risk of injuries in the back. Make sure you start of with a lower weight and gradually increase to practice your form and avoid these injuries.

Half reps are another common mistake I see when people perform this exercise. Make sure you go down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. If you stop lowering yourself before you get to that point, you are minimizing your gains and aren’t getting the full benefits of this exercise.

The last thing to remember when performing this exercise is that knees should be aligned with your toes while lowering yourself. You may have heard that your knees should not go past your toes, however it’s completely okay for you knees to over your toes. It’s not harmful and you won’t injure yourself.

What is harmful is caving your knees inwards which can cause injuries and sever knee pains. This normally occurs because of lifting more than you can lift. So, decrease the weight and perform this exercise with proper form.


The best alternative for this exercise is the front squat. In this, you position the barbell in front of you as opposed to positioning it behind you on your traps when performing the back squat.

Another really good alternative is the goblet squat. Here is how you do it:

Hold a kettlebell or a dumbbell with both hands standing upright with your chest up. Bend your knees and sit straight down keeping your torso upright. Keep lowering with yourself until your elbows touch inside of your knees. Reverse the position by pushing from your heels.

Weighted Calf Raises

I personally don’t know an exercise better to target the calves then calf raises. It’s a simple but effective exercise that will strengthen the calves. And the best part is that you can do these anywhere, so there are no excuses.

Why do you need stronger calf muscles? Well, our calves are used in a daily basis. From walking and running to jumping. Adding this exercise will help you with these everyday activities.


  1. Stand upright holding a dumbbell on each hand.
  2. Push with the balls of your feet and raise your heel of the ground.
  3. Slowly bring your heel back down.
  4.  Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Muscles worked: Calves. Equipment needed: Dumbbells. Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Pro Tip

Make sure when doing these, you’re doing it slow and in a steady pace to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise. Now you might find this exercise to easy however, once you start to do more reps and sets, you will feel the burn in the calf muscles.

With this exercise you would want to look for more repetitions because the motion itself is very small. The more reps you perform, the more you will feel the burn in your calves. Start with 3 sets of 10 -15 reps. If you feel like your not getting that burn, then increase the rep count.

Another thing to note is your stance and body position. Make sure you have an upright straight and tall position. Leaning forward and causes imbalances and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.


An obvious alternative to this exercise is using a machine instead of dumbbells or free weights. This can be either a standing or seated machine. If you are asking my opinion, I find doing calf raises on a machine better just because I have a better balance. However, if you’re at home then standing calf raises with some dumbbells are great too.

Another alternative would be the seated calf raises with dumbbells. Here is how you do it:

Sit on a bench and grab a pair of dumbbells on each hand and rest them on your thighs. Press with the balls of your feet and raise your heels off the ground. Pause for a moment and lower your heel back down. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Hip Thrusts

We have looked at exercises that hit the glutes, but nothing will hit them as hard as hip thrusts! This exercise is also a compound move and focuses on the hamstrings and quadriceps to a high degree as well.

Now why is glute strength important? stabilization of your core, pelvis, and lower body. It helps prevent other types of injuries like knee pain or lower back pain.


  1. For the starting position, sit down on the ground with your upper back elevated against a surface and knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart.
  2. Place the bar or barbell across the hips and grip the bar with both hands.
  3. Drive your hips up, pushing from your heel, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the position, squeezing your glutes, and then drop back down to the starting position
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Muscles worked: Glutes, quads ,and hamstrings. Equipment needed: Barbell. Sets and Reps: 3-4 sets of 10 – 12 reps.

Pro Tips

HALF REPS. Yes, I bring this up again. So many people perform half reps throughout this movement. Make sure to lift those hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Anything shorter won’t get you the full glute activation.

The disadvantage about this exercise is that it can cause pain on your hip because of the weighted barbell. You can potentially get bruises and you can easily injure your hip bone. To prevent this, simply adding a barbell pad or a hip thrust pad to make the exercise more comfortable.

Also, not the foot placements throughout this exercise. Placing your feet to far forward will put more emphasis on the hamstrings. Having your feet to close to you, puts more emphasis on the quads. Use a bit of trial and error to find the best foot placement so that you get maximum glute activation.

Making sure you perform the movement nice and slow. Going up to the top of this movement in a steady pace and going back down in a steady pace. Slow reps will keep maximum tension in the targeted muscle, in this case the glutes, and will give the best results.


There are so many variations you can do. If you find the barbell to hard, try using weighted plates, dumbbells, or even resistance bands.

A good alternative for this exercise is the glute bridge which is actually very similar to hip thrusts. Instead of resting your upper back on an elevated surface like in hip thrusts, rest your upper body on the floor. Perform the exact same movement. Have your knees bent and lift your hips up, pushing from your heels.

The difference between the glute bridge and the hip thrusts is the muscles worked. Glute bridge mainly focuses on the glues while the hip thrusts focus on the quads as well as the glutes.

The Best Legs and Shoulder Workout – Shoulder Part!

Here are the best legs exercises to include in your legs and shoulder workout routine!

Shoulder PressSide Lateral Raises (Cables) Front Cable RaiseFace Pull
Number of Reps8-1210-158-1210-15
Number of Sets2-32-333

Shoulder press

As we mentioned previously, our shoulder consists of three parts: Anterior (front) deltoid, lateral (middle), and posterior (rear) deltoid. What makes shoulder press a great exercise to include in your workout, is that it targets two of three key areas. The front and middle.  

The exercise itself isn’t even that complicated. All you need is a pair of dumbbells and your good to go.

Shoulder is a great exercise to include in your legs and shoulder workout
Shoulder press is one of the best shoulder exercise as long as you perform it with correct form!


  1. Sit on a bench and grasp a pair of dumbbells in each hand with an overhand grip. Raise these dumbbells by your shoulders with your elbows pointing out to the sides and bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Slowly raise the weight above your head until your arms are straight.
  3. Slowly come back to the starting position.
  4. This is one rep. Perform the desired amount.

Muscles worked: anterior and lateral deltoids. Equipment needed: Dumbbells. Sets and Reps: 2-3 sets of 8 – 12 reps

Pro Tips

When choosing the weight, I would suggest starting off with a light weight and progressing overtime. Doing this will ensure that shoulder injuries like rotator cuff injuries are minimized.

Throughout many of our articles, we have stressed the importance of full range of motion. Performing half reps isn’t getting your anywhere. So, decrease the weight if you must (stop ego lifting) but perform full reps to maximize your gains!


There are many alternative exercises that you can perform. One is the overhead press, so instead of using dumbbells, you use a barbell, and you are in a standing position. The problem with this is that there is a chance that one shoulder is lifting more than the other. For the body to grow equally strong, you must use dumbbell exercises instead of barbells.

Another obvious alternative is performing this exercise in a standing position. However, if you really want to isolate those shoulder and lift more, you must perform this while seated. Why? Well, when performing this in a standing position, there are many stabilizing muscles used to support your torso.

By simply sitting on a bench, these stabilizing muscles don’t need to work as hard, which allows you to and lift heavier get the most out of your shoulder press exercise.

Side Lateral Raises With Cables

I am sure you have seen people do this at the gym. It’s such an easy and effective exercise and should be included in your shoulder workout. All you need is a cable machine and some space and your good to go.

To get the most out of this exercise, combine it with the front raises. Why? This exercise hits the lateral deltoid the most however also involves the anterior (front delts) to a certain degree. Combining both will maximize your gains in both those areas.


  1. Position the cable at the lowest position and attach a single handle.
  2. Select a weight you can lift with one shoulder and stand shoulder width apart.
  3. Grab the handle with the outside arm in a neutral grip. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
  4. Raise the weight sideways across your body till your arm is in level with your shoulder.
  5. Pause at this position and slowly drop the weight back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.

Muscles worked: Lateral deltoids. Equipment needed: Cables. Sets and Reps: 2-3 sets of 10 – 15 reps.

Pro Tips

As you are raising the weight, avoid rotating your arm. Maintain the stress on your lateral deltoid throughout this movement.

When you reach the top of the movement, make sure to pause! This will make the exercise harder because you are increasing the time under tension and maximize your gains!

When you’re raising the weigh, lead with your elbows! This will keep the emphasis on your delts and minimize shoulder injuries.

Also, start with lighter weights, especially if you’re a beginner to really focus and burn those mid shoulders. Shoulder exercises always have the risk of serious shoulder injuries so be careful with the weight you choose.


With every workout, it’s good to know some alternatives so you don’t get bored of doing the same exercises over and over again. One good alternative to the cable lateral raise is the upright row which also targets the middles and front deltoids.

Now cable machines are popular. In fact, you can use it to target almost all muscles. And because of this, it’s always taken by someone in the gym (I know it’s frustrating). So, what can you do instead? Use a pair of dumbbells!

Stand in an upright position holding a pain of dumbbells in each arm. Like with the cables, have a slight bend in your elbows and raise the weights to your sides till they reach shoulder level. Bring the weight back down slowly.

Front Cable Raises

If you want to hit those anterior delts, this is the perfect exercise. Combining this with lateral raises will give you a killer workout. Have fun with those sore shoulder the next day.  

The exercise itself isn’t too difficult but is super effective if you have the correct form. So, the next time you are doing a shoulder workout, definitely include this.


  1. Position the cable at the lowest position and attach a bar. Select the weight.
  2. Stand facing the opposite direction of the pulley. Pull the bar attached on the machine using both hands such that the cable runs between your legs.
  3. Keeping your elbow slightly bent, raise the bar up to your shoulders.
  4. Pause for a moment and bring the bar back down.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Muscles worked: Anterior deltoids. Equipment needed: Cables. Sets and Reps: 2-3 sets of 8 – 12 reps.

Pro tips

Lifts the weight till they are in line with your shoulder and not any higher. Why? Well going to high may result in shoulder pain. Going as high as your shoulder will do the job in hitting those front delts.

Keep in mind the weight you’re using. There is no point in trying to go heavier and sacrificing your form. Start with a lower weight and progress up slowly ensuring proper form and technique.

Another common mistake you might see people make with is bending their elbows too much. Only have a slight bend to have maximum front deltoid activation. Having the elbows bent too many causes the weight to be shifted in other parts.

Like other exercises, pause at the top of the movement and slowly come back. You don’t want to just drop the weight. Come down slowly to get maximum tension in those shoulders.


The most obvious alternative of this is using dumbbells. Have the dumbbells in front of your thighs with the palms facing the thighs. Lift the dumbbells up to your shoulder level and bring them back down slowly.

The biggest disadvantage that I find when using dumbbells is that you are likely to use more momentum. The more momentum you use, the less effective the exercise gets.

Another obvious alternative is using single arms rather than using both arms. This is referred to as unilateral training which is very effective and can enhance your gains.

Although I personally prefer to use cables, many people use barbells, plates and even kettlebells to perform this move. Whatever works best for you!

Face Pulls

This will target the last part of the shoulder, the posterior (real) deltoid. To have a good shoulder workout, you need to target all three delts: the front, middle, and rear. Unfortunately, many people ignore the real delt despite it being a crucial part to increase shoulder strength.

Exercising the rear delts prevents muscular imbalance and improves your posture.

Face pulls are a great way to target the posterior deltoids and the exercise itself is straightforward if you focus on proper form.


  1. Set up a cable machine so that the pulley is positioned above your head. Attach a double rope.
  2. Grasp the rope with both hands so that your palms are facing in floor and step back until your arms are fully extended and lean back slightly.
  3. Pull the rope towards you so that your palms go on either side of your face. Your elbows should point always from each other and should be flared out.
  4.  Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Perform the desired number of reps.

Muscles worked: Posterior Deltoids. Equipment needed: Cables. Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10 – 15 reps.

Pro Tips

Make sure you’re pulling towards your face! You may see many people at the gym performing face pulls however they are pulling the rope to low near the neck. This works more of the bicep rather then the rear delt.

Another thing to remember is your stance and body position. Lean back slightly. You don’t want to lean back too much or stand completely upright. Just a slight lean back is perfect to maximize the focus on the rear delt.

As we mentioned previously, momentum and half reps will impact your gains. To prevent this, choose an appropriate weight. Even if you feel like the weight is too easy, do a couple of sets with that weight and gradually increase. This will help you maintain proper form and help you understand the movement a little bit more before you start to progressively overload.


One really good alternative to this is the rear delt cable fly. This also hits the rear delts however also has a secondary muscle involved like the traps or the rhomboids.

What if you’re at home and don’t have access to a cable. Simple use resistance bands instead. Find a stable point to loop your resistance band to perform the exact same motion. So, there really is no excuse.

Targeting your rear delts is more of a pull motion so many back exercises involve the rear delt as well. For example, single arm bent over row.

To perform this, bend over and place your left arm on a bench with your feet in an even position. Reach down so that your right hand is extended and grab the dumbbell. Keeping your back straight, lift the dumbbell towards your right side. Lower it back down and repeat. Switch to the other hand.

Key Takeaway

This legs and shoulder workout will definitely give you a stronger lower body and increases shoulder strength. Try to perform this workout two times a week and allow rest and recovery in between.

We hope this article helped you get the best legs and shoulder workout or get ideas of different exercises to include in your current workout.

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles!

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Hey, I'm Shalin

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