It’s time to build those legs in all the RIGHT places. This workout will target the legs and glutes and help you shape the lower half of the body. These are effective movements, but pay close attention to perfecting your technique to get the muscles to respond the way you want them. Get after it and don’t forget your post-workout supplements to promote the best recovery possible!
1. Leg Extension: Take your DBs and rest them on a bench. Bend forward at a 90-degree angle; keeping core tight. Swing leg back into a full straight leg extension.
Pro Tips: Squeeze you glutes and hamstrings at the top of the motion and hold for 2-3 seconds. Try adding this leg extension as a super-set with step-ups onto bench into week 3-4 of your training block. Do 3 to 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
2. Step-Up Onto Bench: Grab heavy dumbbells (DBs). Tighten your core and keep spine straight with eyes up. Step up onto bench and squeeze the glutes and hamstrings as you gently tuck your pelvis under. Step back down with opposite leg.
Pro Tips: Step down onto your stance leg with a slight knee bend to create constant working tension for both legs. Stepping up onto a bench greater than 90-degree angle will isolate your glute muscle. Do 3 to 4 sets of 10-12 reps.
3. Adductor Side-Step
Put a resistance band around your ankles or directly below your knees. Squat down as low as you can go with arms up in front or at your sides; keep core tight. Step out to the side in one direction for 20 reps. Stay as low as you can go.
Pro Tips: This is one of the best glute exercises you can do and it will burn out your legs and glutes. Add this at the end of your workout or add in as a super-set when you are doing an isolation exercise such as leg extensions or hamstring curls for extra burn! Do 3-4 sets of 20 steps in each direction.
4. Walking Barbell Lunges with Extension
Grab a barbell and gently place on upper back; keep spine neutral. Lunge forward, bringing front leg to 90-degree angle and back leg close to ground. Keep your head up and core tight. Push through your heel as you assume full standing position. Bring your opposite leg behind you into full leg extension. Repeat as you step forward with the opposite leg into a forward lunge position.
Pro Tips: Keep a constant motion moving forward while performing walking lunges. Squeeze the glutes at the end range of motion as you bring your leg into full extension. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
5. Romanian Deadlifts
Stand upright at the Smith Machine with shoulders back, core tight and knees slightly bent. Lift toes up slightly and put weight into heels of feet. Bring bar below your knees. Squeeze through the hamstrings and glutes as you return to upright position.
Pro Tips: Try to put the weight into the heels of the feet and elevate the toes slightly to emphasize the glutes/hamstrings and squeeze the glutes as you come into standing position. Do 4 sets of 10-12 reps.
6. Squat with Back Support
With legs slightly shoulder-width apart, back firmly supported on stable surface and weight into heels, squat into deep squat position with legs just below 90-degree angle. Push up through your heels. Squeeze your glutes from bottom to top as you return into full standing position.
Pro Tips: Don’t let your knees move past the tips of your toes. If you have a back support, you will be less likely to add thickness to your waistline. Do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.
7. Lying Hamstring
Curl Up On Elbows Prop yourself up on both elbows. Contract your abs to keep low back from arching. Separate your legs far apart to the edge of the bolster and point toes away from your ankles. Curl upward towards your glutes. Contract hamstrings at end range of motion. Slowly return to start.
Pro Tips: Don’t allow your legs to fully return to extended position. Keep constant tension on the hamstrings by keeping constant motion while performing hamstring curl (Note: for an added intensity technique, use a controlled 3 second eccentric on all reps with 2 second holds in the contracted position.) Do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.
8. Seated Leg Extension
Hold onto bars to keep hips back in seat, with legs in maximum knee flexion behind pad and toes flexed. Bring legs into extended position, knees out and toes flexed. Squeeze quads at end of range of motion.
Pro Tips: Alternate between toes pointed in, out or forward to isolate different muscles in the quadriceps. Avoid being explosive with your reps by using a slow, controlled cadence. Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
–Article written with help from Mike Nixx at Turbo Training Center; photography by Brett Seeley, BrettSeeley.com