If you are looking for some powerfully defined leg muscles, your training must be explosive! If you play any sports which require fast-twitch muscle fibers such as soccer or tennis, plyometric, balance engaging leg work is a necessity. For the everyday athlete, incorporating high intensity explosive leg exercises into your routine can help you sculpt lean muscle tone. To get started, you just need a step. If you’d like to amp up the intensity, you can perform all of the following moves holding 5 – 20lb dumbbells in your hands.
This first exercise is great for cardiovascular and strength benefits. You’ll first start in a squat on the floor, then jump up and into a squat on your step. This move will require you to push up through all the muscles of your legs, lift your knees, and land softly on the step. You continue repeating the move by jumping back down from the step directly into a squat and repeat for up to 1 minute per round.
The next exercise is performed by getting into a squat position with one foot on either side of the bench. From there, you’ll jump both feet up to the center of the bench and then push right back down to the floor in a squat as quickly as possible. You can add intensity to this exercise by holding your squat at the bottom for longer and then jumping faster to activate your leg muscles longer.
To complete a lunge back to a high knee, you’ll need your front foot on top of the step. From there, you will push your back leg back and down into a lunge, then lift the same leg forward, bending at the knee, as high as you can towards your hips. You’ll keep working the same side for a minute to build pressure on the front leg, then switch to work the other leg.
This final variation is best to do last when your heart rate is already lifted in order to pack a final punch to the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You will hold an offset squat with one foot on top of the bench, one on the floor. Then you will lift your outside heel from the floor and tap it back down in order to challenge your stability. Staying down low for the entire duration of the exercise will maximize the benefits to your legs.
To work these moves as a circuit into your next leg day, you will need to perform a minute of each move back to back, preferably for 3 sets. Since the last 2 exercises need a minute per side, one set should take about 6 minutes, making the entire workout achievable in less than 20.
If you give this workout a try, be sure to leave me a comment about how you felt in the comments section below.