5 best exercises for building lower-body muscle when you're short on time at the gym,

Here are five exercises to hit if you're short on time but want to build your lower body.

MUSCLE GAIN EXERCISES

Squats

Squats are more technical, so if you're a beginner or struggle with back problems, Wilson said a leg-press machine might be a good place to start.

MUSCLE GAIN EXERCISES

Deadlifts

Like squats, they involve almost the whole lower body but use more muscles on the back instead of the front, including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and traps.

MUSCLE GAIN EXERCISES

Hip thrusts

You can do hip thrusts with a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or machine, depending on your fitness, strength, and preference. Again, machines can be a time-saver.

MUSCLE GAIN EXERCISES

Leg extension and leg curl

Isolation exercises work one main muscle group and one joint instead of compound exercises, which engage more of the body and are thus generally more efficient.

MUSCLE GAIN EXERCISES

One or two sets is enough

If five exercises sounds like a lot, don't panic. "The good news is you don't need a lot of each," Wilson said. While more sets do mean more muscle growth, you get the most out of the first couple of sets of any exercise.

MUSCLE GAIN EXERCISES