Your Complete Personalized Training Plan

By Jessica Culver, ISSA-Certified Trainer
Photos Of Toniann Rotante By James Patrick

The days are getting longer, flowers are blooming, and you no longer have to defrost your car windows: winter is finally over. You can finally break out the short shorts and pair them with the perfect accessory — killer legs!

With all the booty-coverage (or, more accurately, lack of it) in the media lately, we’re sure you’ve been diligent about squatting for a tighter tush. But have you been giving equal attention to the rest of your lower body? Aside from your glutes, lower- body workouts should also target your calves, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and leg adductors/abductors, and work through both forward and lateral (sideways) movements. We’ve pinpointed eight exercises to cover all of the above, and arranged them in two unique workouts to choose from, depending on your goals.

Nowadays, everybody’s got buns, hun, but it’s important that you also work your legs for increasing strength, improving posture and endurance, preventing injuries, and, of course, looking good! We guarantee the next song written about women will be inspired by the strong and gorgeous gams you’ll sculpt from these moves. After all, it’s not all about that bass anymore.

 


The Powerhouse Workout

Who It’s For: If you want stronger, more powerful legs with a bit more muscle and shape, you’ve come to the right place. Nobody will ever question if you skip leg day, and with your newly found powerful quads and glutes you might have to ditch the skinny jeans for stretchy leggings. Is that a bad thing? We don’t think so!


Box Squat

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings
Place a low box about two feet behind you and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest. Push your hips back and down into a squat until you’re sitting on the box. Rock forward, exploding back up to standing.
Tip: Box squats help build explosive power, so ensure a full pause at the bottom of this move before coming back up.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Dumbbell Step-Up

Targets: Glutes, quads, calves
Stand facing a flat bench, holding dumbbells at your sides. Plant your right foot on the bench and push off until your leg is straight. At the top, lift your left knee in front of you, then lower back down and repeat, keeping your right foot on the bench. Switch legs after completing a set.
Tip: Place your foot entirely on the bench in order to drive through your heel for more stability.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Dumbbell Lunge

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
Holding a pair of dumbbells, step forward with one leg and lower straight down by bending your knees until your front thigh is parallel with the ground and the back knee nearly touches it. Pause, then push up with your front leg back to standing. Alternate legs.
Tip: Step forward far enough so your knee is above your ankle, not past it, at the bottom of the movement.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Lateral Squat Jump

Targets: Calves, quads, adductors, glutes
Hold a kettlebell directly in front of your chest and take a wide squat stance. Jump up and bring your feet in close as you land, then immediately hop back out in a wide stance, staying in a squat position throughout. Repeat without stopping.
Tip: You can make this move easier or harder by varying how wide you hop out your feet, how deeply you squat, and how high you jump.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan

 


The Slim And Sculpt Workout

Who It’s For: This two-part, circuit-style workout is perfect if you want to improve stamina, burn more calories, and rock tighter, leaner-looking legs. Part One builds some strength and muscle in your legs while warming them up, while Part Two gets your heart racing and torches calories to lean you out.

Part One: Finish all sets of the squat before moving on to the lunge.

Part Two: Complete the exercises as a circuit without stopping for four rounds.

Rest up to two minutes between rounds.


 

Box Squat

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings
Place a low box about two feet behind you and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest. Push your hips back and down into a squat until you’re sitting on the box. Rock forward, exploding back up to standing.
Tip: Box squats help build explosive power, so ensure a full pause at the bottom of this move before coming back up.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Dumbbell Lunge

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
Holding a pair of dumbbells, step forward with one leg and lower straight down by bending your knees until your front thigh is parallel with the ground and the back knee nearly touches it. Pause, then push up with your front leg back to standing. Alternate legs.
Tip: Step forward far enough so your knee is above your ankle, not past it, at the bottom of the movement.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Side Step-Up

Targets: Adductors, calves, quads, glutes
Stand beside a foot-tall step. Leading with your outside leg (crossing it in front of your inside leg), step up onto the box by lunging forward and slightly to the side. Bring your other leg up from behind to finish, and reverse the movement to start again. Work your opposite side when your set is through.
Tip: Hold a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell in front of your chest to add intensity to this move.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Bench Jump

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads
Stand facing a flat bench about a foot in front of you. With your feet hip-distance apart, squat down, then jump up onto the bench, landing in a half squat. Stand up fully before jumping back down to the starting position, and repeat immediately.
Tip: Feel free to use a higher bench to challenge yourself more, or a shorter bench if you’re newer to this move.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Kettlebell Swing

Targets: Hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes
Stand upright with a slightly wide stance, and hold a kettlebell just in front of your hips. Forcefully push your hips backward while leaning your chest forward, swinging the bell back through your legs. Thrust your hips forward to propel the bell up to shoulder height, standing fully, and naturally pausing at the top. Swing the ’bell back beneath you, and repeat.
Tip: Avoid lifting the kettlebell with your arms. You should be hinging and thrusting at the hips with enough force to get the bell swinging.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan


Bunny Hop

Targets: Abductors, calves, hamstrings, quads, abs
Leaning over a bench, firmly grab the outer edges, keeping both feet off to one side. Bend your knees and hop both legs over to the other side, landing both at the same time. Immediately hop back over and repeat, moving from side to side rapidly.
Tip: For more of a challenge, you can stack a few weight plates at the end of the bench, creating extra height for you to jump over.

Your Complete Personalized Training Plan

Tags: Jessica Culver, Leg Workouts
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