Be Well Workout of the Week: Your Ticket to Lean, Mean Legs

Here, your guide to making your legs feel like jelly (very, very strong jelly, that is).

This workout is going to target your — you guessed it! — legs. So be prepared to feel the burn and then some.

You have a circuit of exercises to do three times, and each time you go through, your reps will decrease, but your weights will increase. So, start with a set of weights you can do 20 reps with, and then increase from there. And you’re going to hold onto your weights for just about every exercise in the circuit, so choose wisely. Good luck!

Be Well Workout of the Week: Your Ticket to Lean, Mean Legs

Go through circuit three times; reps: 20-18-16
Stationary lunges (single count)
Lateral lunges (single count)
Reverse lunges with overhead press (single count)
Dead lifts
Squats with alternating punches
Plank rows (single count)
Alternating single-leg burpees (drop the weights for these, and do single count)
Split-leg crunches
Squat jumps (single count)
Lunge jumps (single count)
Skiers (single count)
Plank (1 minute)

Explanations of exercises: 
Click links for how-to videos.

Stationary lunge: With hands on hips, step forward with your right foot. Drop your left knee down to the floor, until your right knee forms a 45 degree angle. Straighten both legs then drop again. Repeat with left leg in front.

Lateral lunge: Standing with feet together, step to the side in a lunge, making sure your knee doesn’t bend past your toe. Return to standing and lunge on the other side.

Reverse lunge with overhead press: Hold a set of weights at your shoulders, palms facing forward. Step back into rear lunge with right leg. As you return to standing, press the weights over head. Then step back with your left foot to alternate, repeating the motion.

Push-ups: Start lying face down with your chest on the floor, with hands facing forward and palms down in line with your shoulders; elbows should be pointing back. Push up until arms are extended (the inside of the elbow should be facing forward) and drop back down.

Squats: Stand with your feet just a bit wider than shoulder widt and your toes slightly turned outward. Keeping your weight in your heels, bending at the knees and lower until your quads are parallel to the floor. Keep your back as upright as possible. Straighten legs and come back to the starting position.

Deadlifts with dumbbells: Hold dumbbells with arms extended down so they’re resting on your thighs, feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping shoulders back and abs tight (and without locking your knees), bend at the hips and let the weights lower towards the floor, going as far as you can without bending your knees too much. Drive your heels in to the floor and stand to return to the starting position.

Squat with twist and punch: Hold weights at your chest, sink into a low squat with toes facing out (like a plie).  Stay low in a squat, twist left and punch the right weight.  Twist right and punch the left weight.

Plank rows: In a push-up position with your hands on free weights, row one weight up and back, keeping your hips square to the floor and squeezing your shoulder blade. Lower and repeat on the other side.

Single-leg burpee: Do a burpee, balancing on one leg throughout. Complete all reps on one leg, then alternate to the other leg.

Split-leg crunches: Lying down on your back, feet reaching toward the ceiling, lower your left leg so it hovers right above ground. Do 10 crunches with your left leg hovering. Switch feet and repeat on the other side.

Squat jumps: Stand with feet hip-width apart and perform a squat, dropping your rear until your knees are just behind your toes and your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. As you stand, propel yourself upwards and jump. Return to standing and squat again.

Lunge jumps: Start standing with feet together and step forward with the left leg into a lunge, bending knee to about 90 degrees. Jump as you stand back up and switch legs before you land, so your right leg is forward. Lunge again, then jump, putting your left leg forward, and so forth. Left and right counts as one.

Skiers: Stand in a split stance, with right foot about a foot in front of the left. Jump in place and switch legs so your left foot is in the front. Repeat the motion, pumping your arms in rhythm: left arm forward when left foot is forward, right arm forward when right foot is forward. Left and right counts as one rep.

Plank: Get in push-up position, resting on your elbows; keep back, hips, and legs in a straight line. Hold.


Audrey McKenna Hasse is the owner of A.M.Fit, a personal training and healthy consultation business on the Main Line. You’ll find her workouts every Monday right here on Be Well Philly.

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