You have no idea how many technical difficulties I had making this post–every electronic device I own mutinied on me yesterday. So a day and a half later than planned, let’s just get right to it…
Consider THIS with Weighted Low-Body Exercises
Before getting to the workout, I want to talk a little about choosing weights for the exercises we’ll be doing in the circuit portion. With weighted lower body exercises, don’t just think to yourself “Ok, how much extra weight can I handle for these exercises?” Consider where that added weight will be. A squat with a 20-lb dumbbell held at your chest, for example, will feel different from a squat with two 10-lb dumbbells held at your shoulders. That added front weight is going to alter your center of gravity and will require your back to work a bit harder to stabilize. This is especially true for any exercise in which your torso is hinging forward rather than remaining perfectly upright.
I mention this because you can really use any weight (dumbbell/s, kettlebell, medicine ball, etc.) for this circuit (or just body weight!), and if you go with a singular weight, you’d be holding it at your chest. If your form is on point and you know these exercises like the back of your hand, challenge yourself–go heavy! But if you’re newer to working out or have any history of back issues, I’d definitely encourage you to go lighter than you think you can handle. And that goes for everyone, regardless of where you’ll be holding your weight (shoulders, chest, down to your sides).
Lower Body Circuit Workout with HIIT Bursts
- Set of dumbbells (or just one held at chest) — I’m using 8-lb weights because they’re the heaviest available at the studio where I filmed the workout. Normally I would have gone with 12-lbs. (No complaints haha).
- Exercise mat — I didn’t have one when I filmed and my knees were angry during the surrenders. Use a mat!
- Interval timer — I used this tabata iPhone app for the HIIT bursts and a regular stopwatch for the circuit.
For this workout, you’ll be alternating between a circuit of low-body exercises and a quick 2-minute bodyweight HIIT. The HIIT is all about speed and doing as many reps as you can in the given work interval. The circuit is about control and challenging yourself with weight load (keeping the above info in mind!). Each time you go through the circuit, you’ll stay on it for a shorter period of time.
Breakdown of the Workout:
Exercises and descriptions can be found below the pictorial. You’ll get 15 seconds of rest in between sides and before/after the HIIT.
Weighted Circuit on the Right (45 sec each exercise)
Weighted Circuit on the Left (45 sec each exercise)
2-Min HIIT Blast
Weighted Circuit on the Right (30 sec each exercise)
Weighted Circuit on the Left (30 sec each exercise)
2-Min HIIT Blast
Weighted Circuit on the Right (15 sec each exercise)
Weighted Circuit on the Left (15 sec each exercise)
2-Min HIIT Blast
Make sure to warm up before starting this workout (here’s a 5-minute warm up you can do at home). Always listen to your body and modify as needed!
Complete 45/30/15 seconds of each exercise on the right then repeat on the left. Try to go from one exercise to the next without rest. If it gets to be too much, just slow down the pace. You can rest for 15 seconds in between the right and left legs.
Side Lunge to Knee Raise | Start standing with one weight at each shoulder. Step your right foot out wide to the side, bending that knee and sinking your hips back and down into a deep side lunge. Press off that right foot to push yourself back up to standing, but instead of bringing your right foot to the floor, drive the knee up and into your chest and then lunge right back down to the side.
- Make it easier: No knee raise; come back up to standing with both feet on the floor instead.
- Make it harder: Add a hop off the left foot as you drive your right knee into the chest at the top.
Curtsy Lunge to Side Kick | Start standing with feet hip-width apart. From here, sink down into your curtsey lunge: right foot stays planted on the ground and as you bend that right knee, reach your left foot behind it as far to the right as you can, planting the ball of the foot down. As you come back up to standing, swing that back leg up and out to the left side in a wide kick. As if sweeps back down, lower into your next curtsy lunge.
Squat to Surrender | Start standing with weights at shoulders, feet a little wider than hip’s width apart. Squat down, sliding your hips back and down, keeping your chest open. From here, come to a kneeling position, stepping your right foot back behind you, planting the ball of the foot and knee on the floor and then doing the same with the left. Continuing to lead with the right, return to a low squat position, stepping the right foot forward onto the floor and then the left. From this low squat position, straighten the legs as you drive the hips forward to your starting position.
Set a timer for 4 rounds of 20 second work and 10 seconds rest. You’ll go through the following four exercises (20 sec on each with 10 sec rest in between).
Squat Jacks | Start in a low squat position with feet wide. Staying low in a squat, jump your feet in close together and then jump your feet out wide again to the starting position. When your feet are wide, one hand should come to the ground in front. Continue jacking your feet in and out, staying low in the squat and alternating which hands touches the floor (this ensures you’re staying low through the legs!).
Lunge Hop RIGHT | Start in a split-stance lunge position: both knees bent to 90 degrees, right foot flat in front; left foot in back, ball of the foot planted on the ground. Keeping the same foot in front/back, you hop a few inches into the air and land softly back into your starting position. Your legs are never fully straightening during this; it’s a small upward hop, pushing off the balls of the feet. To modify, take out the jump and just pulse at the bottom.
Lunge Hop LEFT
Hot Feet | You probably know these best as a basketball or football drill. You essentially run in place as fast as you can while in a wide-leg squat position. With your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart, squat down. Staying low, you’ll quickly run your feet up and down, staying on the balls of your feet and barely picking them off the floor (an inch or two) so that you can maintain the speed.
WEARING | Terez SU2C Mantra leggings (5% of sales are donated to Stand Up To Cancer) // GAP tank // adidas neo sneakers (also love them in black with the marbled sole!) // Athleta bra (sold out in orange but much cuter colors available)
Just to highlight what’s mentioned above in the outfit details, the leggings I’m wearing in today’s post give back! Terez (also the makers of these skull leggings everyone loves) will donate a portion of the proceeds to Stand Up To Cancer.
Outfit detail links are affiliate (except the charitable one). I appreciate your support!