I hope your day is going smoothly so far. As promised, here is the workout that I started my weekend off with and have to blame for some serious residual soreness. Please be sure to read the exercise descriptions below, as some of these are slightly more complex than the exercises I typically include in the workouts I post. If you have any questions or feedback, good or bad, let me know in the comments!
Why this workout is killer
This workout hits the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and all of the little guys in between. The single-leg exercises add a stability challenge and activate the core musculature.
I did this workout at the gym, but it can easily be done in the comfort of your own home. If you’re at the gym, try using a barbell for the deadlifts in set 1. If you’re at home and have a pair of dumbbells, you can use those but even if not, just find something heavy like a gallon of milk or a chubby cat (cough cough KEVIN).
Be sure to warm up before starting this workout. I recommend stretching out the legs and hips followed by about 5-7 minutes of easy cardio (walking on a treadmill, leisurely jumping rope, etc.) to get the heart rate up and the muscles warm.
Similarly, don’t forget to cool down afterward. If you want to incorporate more cardio into your workout, I suggest doing it after the strength portion because it’ll feel easy in comparison. In the case of this particular workout, I did about 15 minutes of high-intensity interval sprints before moving on to my cool down. For a cool down, I like to do 5-7 additional minutes of easy cardio followed by more stretching and foam rolling. Sometimes the foam rolling doesn’t happen until later that day, but I find that it helps a lot.
Proper form, proper form, proper form
Deadlifts – Stand with feet shoulders-width apart and pointing straight ahead. Holding your weight of choice with straight arms, bend at the waist to lower to weight to the ground, maintaining a flat back the entire time. Squeeze your glutes (butt) to return to a standing position.
Single-leg deadlifts + hop – With one leg lifted, bend from the waist and slowly reach hands down toward the toes of the balance leg, keep the spine in a neutral position (avoid hunching over). Slowly return to standing using your abs and glutes. Perform a hop on the balancing leg, stabilizing completely before repeating the movement. These get much easier with practice!
Single-leg around the world lunges – These lunges have a fancy name, but they’re pretty simple. Starting with the right leg, hands on hips, lunge forward (making sure your knee doesn’t go past your toes) and return to standing but don’t put your leg down, lunge out to the side (keeping your knee aligned with your second and third toes) and return to standing, and then lunge back into a curtsey position (being sure to keep your spine upright and neutral) and return to standing. That’s one repetition.
Calf raises – Parallel: Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes straight ahead, shoulders down, neutral spine (no arch in your back) and hands on hips. Slowly raise up on onto the balls of your feet and lower back down. That’s one repetition. Turned out: Start with your feet hip-width apart and angle your feet out as far as is comfortable. Don’t push past your natural degree of flexibility.
Leg raises – These can be done on a hanging leg raise machine (if you’re at the gym) or lying on your back (if you’re at home). Regardless, the important thing to remember is to keep your back perfectly flat. You want the movement to originate in the core (transverse abdominals, to be exact).
Squat jumps – Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Push your glutes back as you lower down into a squat position (make sure your knees do not go past your toes). From that position, explode up into a jump, getting as much air as you can. Hold the landing of the first few squat jumps for 3-5 seconds to make sure your knees are still in proper alignment before speeding up the movement into a more continuous squat jump, squat jump, squat jump.