There is pretty much nothing I love more than leg day. 🙂 This month, I am gearing up for races, so I have been adding in more HIIT and running, as well as some higher rep sets.
As with my May program for arms, I am using what I call “reverse drop sets” for legs this month. I start with a medium weight, perform 15 reps, add weight, rest 10-15 seconds, and perform 12 reps, continuing until I get down to 10, 8, and 5 reps. The last set is very challenging, because you will have performed 50 reps, all with very little rest and with increasing weight, ending near 85-90% of your 5 rep max for the last set (depending on your endurance level).
The workout centers around 5 main exercises, with a 2-3 minute HIIT cardio rounds in between each exercise. I vary up the order of the exercises and the HIIT rounds every session, but this workout is pretty typical of the leg workout I will do twice a week for the whole month.
(1) Deadlifts: Start with a relatively moderate weight for 15 reps (I used 145lbs). Rest for about 10-15 seconds (or about as long as it takes you to add weight to the bar.) Perform 12 reps (@155lbs). Rest for a short period of time again, and perform 10 reps (@175lbs). Rest for 10-15 sec, and perform 8 reps (@ 185lbs). Finish with a set of 5 (@195lbs).
Focus on looking forward, keeping weight in your heels and big toe, and keeping your back straight as you press up with your shoulders back.
When you’ve finished all 5 sets of deadlifts, do 3 rounds (no rest) of 10 box jumps (28″ box), 10 step-ups (quick pace, no weight, focusing on driving through the glutes), and 10 jump squats on the ground.
(2) Back Squats: You will again do 15-12-10-8-5 rep sets, with minimal rest between sets. I used 105lbs, 125lbs, 145lbs, 155lbs, and 175lbs.
This week, I used a slightly wider-than-hip-distance stance. Focus on keeping your toes and heels firmly planted, with your knees pressed outward (as the weight gets heavier, it is easy to let your knees cave in). I have also been focusing on keeping my elbows forward and pointing straight down, with helps with alignment in my back. At the top of the movement, drive with your hips to get maximum power/to work the glutes more.
After all 5 sets, do 2 1-min rounds of jump rope, aiming for 125-150 jumps per minute.
(3) Curtsy Lunge: I keep alternating between forward-reverse lunge combos and curtsy lunges. Choose kettlebells of varying weights – I used 14kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg, and 28kg, for (respectively) 16 reps (8/side), 12 reps (6/side), 10 reps (5/side), 8 reps (4/side), 6 reps (3/side). Rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat (for a total of 16-12-10-8-6 reps/side).
For curtsy lunges, try to step across and behind your bending leg, keeping the moving foot as close to perpendicular with your body. The farther back you step, the easier the movement is. Lower down to where the knee of your moving leg is directly behind your the foot of your bending leg. Alternate sides.
After you finish going through 5 sets twice, do 3 minutes of 10 kb swings (28kg) EMOM (every minute, on the minute).
(4) Plies with Toe Raise: Again choose kettlebells of varying weights – I stuck with 14kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg, and 28kg, for 15 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, and 5 reps. Rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat.
Start with your legs wide apart, with toes facing outward. As you lower down until your thighs are parallel with the ground, raise onto your toes. Like with back squats, propel yourself upward with your hips for extra glute work.
After you finish going through 5 sets twice, do 3 rounds (no rest) of 5 kettlebell swings (28kg) (not in the video), 10/leg BOSU toe taps, 10/leg BOSU heel taps, and 10 BOSU squats.
(5) Wide Leg Press: Finish with leg press – I did 3 sets of 20-15-10 (instead of 5 sets), but still only took 10-15 seconds rest between sets. Keep your legs wider than hip width (which targets inner thighs), and make sure to keep your entire foot firmly against the surface of the machine. I started with 230lbs, moved up to 270lbs, and finished with 360lbs.
After leg press, do 3 rounds of 10 jumping squats with the bar, 10 jumping lunges, and 10 skater lunges (shortened here (a) because I forgot to record until AFTER I had already done 3 rounds and (b) for time.)
(6) Finishers: Finish with 3 alternating sets of 15 reps of glute bridges and 10/leg split squats on the bench:
After completing 3 rounds, do 5 minutes on the stepmill – 1 min warmup, 1 min skipping a step at level 12, 1 min to the right at level 15, 1 min to the left at level 15, and a 1 min cooldown.