The Beginners Series: Legs workout has a great breakdown of how to perform these moves without weight. Please perfect your form before adding any weight to the mix! Remember keep your core engaged and really think about the moves you are performing as you work through legs. The benefits of legs is you get a great core workout as well, keeping the upper body stable as you perform each move.
For this today’s leg day workout you can use dumbbells, a barbell, or both. If you don’t have any check out our home gym recommendations below (affiliate links). Also, make sure to check out our Building The Ultimate Home Gym.
Leg Day Workout
3 sets | 10 reps | 60-90 seconds max!
Close Leg Squat
Wall Squat – hold for 1 minute each set
Squats: If there was only one exercise I would recommend for leg day and glute work, it would hands down be squats. If performed correctly, you will get a full 90 degree angle with your knees, butt pushed way back and core engaged. Here are the basic directions:
You can use a barbell or dumbbells when adding weight to the squat. Start with feet directly below hips, toes facing forward, weight in heels (lift up your toes, see how that feels – that’s weight in HEELS)! Keep that feeling in mind. Keeping the back straight, slowly lower your butt down until your knees forms a 90 degree angle. You’ve done this before = this is the move you utilize when you have to use the gas station toilet… you know the hover :). I told you that you were going to be a master squatter! Check your toes, can you wiggle them? Great – now look down and check your knees, are they over your ankles? You will be able to see the tips of your toes over your knees when looking down if you are. If your knees are WAY out in front of your toes (aka you can’t see your shoes at all), I bet your weight isn’t in your heels – just sayin! Now pushing through your HEELS stand back up slowly, keeping your back straight and squeezing your butt on the way up.
If using dumbells: Engage the core, hold each dumbbell on the shoulder, firmly grasping the weights as you perform the squat. If you are using barbell, place on the meaty part of your back, not resting on your neck but slightly lower. A squat rack is the best place for this!
Static Lunges: Start with one foot out in front of the other. In the dumbbell lunge above (first picture) I started with the left foot forward. The back foot should be lifted but firmly planted on the ground. Keep your weight equally divided between each leg Your legs will not be directly behind each other, but instead as if they are on a railroad track. I highly recommend you practice lunges without weight before moving into this move. Remember, core stays engaged and chest is proud during this exercise.
From starting, bend front and back legs until front leg is at 90 degrees. Practice this move without weight to know how far back you need your back leg so that you can get to 90 degrees when you lunge. You can see my legs have to be pretty far apart to perform this move correctly. Press through your front leg and lift back to starting position. Repeat until you reach 10 reps then switch legs. Remember, legs are on train tracks not a balance beam!
Romanian Dead-lifts: These are amazing for your booty! This would be my second favorite leg day move! If done properly, you will feel this move for 2-3 days after. Start with legs hip width apart, dumbbells in hands palms facing the body or holding a bar at hip level with an overhand grip, keep abs engaged. Start by hinging at the hips,lower the weight down, knees slightly bent and back straight. Keep the weight within an inch of your body as your push your butt back (this will help you keep your back straight). Lower weight at least to the knee caps if not mid shin (depending on your flexibility). The pull feeling of this move will come with you pushing your butt back, so don’t worry about how far down you get the weight. Return to start by push engaging your core and pulling up from your glutes, not your back. Keep the back straight (no arching) as you return to start, keeping the weight close to the body.
Plie (or sumo) Squat is just like when you were 6 in ballet class or 26 in barre class. Start with legs wider than hips, toes turned out towards the side walls of the room (instead of forward facing), weight still your heels holding the dumb bell in both hands. Slowly lower your tush down as far as you can (this really works the inner thighs and is amazing your tush too) as you lower the weight down between your legs. Make sure you keep your back straight and core engaged to properly perform this exercise. Hold for 1 count and then raise up pushing through your heels.
Closed Leg Squats: Start with legs together, knees and ankles touching. Core engaged and back straight, slowly push your butt back and bend your knees into a squat position. You likely will not be able to get to 90 degrees and keep your heels on the ground. That is ok, this move really gets your quads singing without having to get down to low. Push through the heels to lift back to starting position keeping the knees and ankles together though the exercise.
Wall Squat: Find a comfortable wall to lean against and get into a squat position with you back straight against the wall and your legs at 90 degrees. Engage your core, and hang out for one full minute. To add intensity to this can use dumbbells with either of the above positions (hanging at your sides or holding in front of you). Do not rest the weight or your hands on your legs – cheater!
Make sure to check out our other Beginner Series Workouts!
What About You?
- Whats the longest you can hold a wall squat for?!
- Is there any move you’d like to see in the beginner series?
- Do you prefer weighted or non-weighted legs day?
- Whats your favorite leg day move? Mine of course is the squat!