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12 Minute Leg Workout No Weights

Updated on June 20, 2019
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Jon D is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

It’s been a good gym week – Monday you absolutely crushed Chest and Triceps, leaving the gym pumped and feeling good.

Tuesday, you hit your back from so many angles Einstein would be impressed.

Wednesday’s HIIT training left you exhausted, covered in sweat and a fat burning machine.

Now it’s Thursday, leg day. Oh wait, you have an after work “meeting”. You just have to get to Home Depot to get some paint for the stairs – which you’ve been meaning to paint for about 3 years.

Oops, legs will have to wait till next week because, as you know, Friday is arms day and if you’re able to make it to the gym on the weekend you deserve to reward yourself with some kind of upper body pump.

“It’s fall anyway - I’ll be wearing pants.” is what you tell yourself…

OK, OK – we just managed to fit just about every stereotype into a few paragraphs. There’s little doubt the majority of folks reading this article train their entire body hard frequently and are no strangers to squats, deadlifts, lunges and a wide variety of lower body exercises.

But the truth is life does get in the way of your gym efforts and goals from time to time.

You may be traveling, something unexpectedly pops up or just are generally short on time.

But you still need to train legs!

So, we’ve put together a quick, yet highly impactful 2 exercise superset that takes just 8-12 minutes to complete and will give you a great leg workout anywhere, anytime!

“No Excuses - Gotta Do Legs” Quick Workout Routine

A1. Star Lunge – 8 Reps Right Leg

A2. Single Leg Deadlift – 8-10 Reps Right Leg

A3. Star Lunge – 8 Reps Left Leg

A4. Single Leg Deadlift – 8-10 Reps Left leg

Perform the above in circuit fashion – resting only the time it takes to set up between sets.

Rest for 2 minutes between circuits and perform 2-3 total circuits.

Add weight when circuit becomes too easy. The circuit should be challenging, but you should always be able to maintain proper exercise technique.

Exercise #1 – Star Lunge

This exercise packs 3 lunges in each and every rep – making it one of the most diverse and economical exercises around.

Whether you are short on time or just looking for an awesome exercise to work your legs, look no further than Star Lunges.

This little-used lower body exercise combines three different lunge variations – front, side (or lateral) and rear – into one movement to ensure that your glutes, quads and hamstrings are all stimulated.

The best way to perform this exercise is to first do it without and weight and then add weight in the form of dumbbells at your side or a barbell across your back.

It’s pretty simple – Start with feet together and do a forward lunge, a side lunge and then a reverse lunge – returning to the starting position each time. That’s one rep.

Begin standing straight with your feet together.

With your right foot step forward, landing softy and then lunge down and slightly forward. Be absolutely sure that your bodyweight is spread evenly over your foot and don’t allow the heel of your right foot to come off of the ground. This is important for two reasons –

  1. Keeping your heel on the ground helps prevent unnecessary strain on the knee
  2. You’ll need that heel to return to the starting position

Now, once you’re in the bottom position, press your heel into the ground and drive your body back to the starting position. This is where most get it wrong. Let the legs do the work.

Now, repeat for a side lateral lunge and then a rear lunge. The right foot will be the moving foot throughout. That is one rep!

Repeat for the number of reps you are shooting for and then for the left leg. If your technique breaks down, stop immediately.

Shoot for a total of 8 reps and 24 lunges.

Exercise #2 – Single Leg Deadlift

Start by standing on one leg. At first, don’t hold any weight, although holding a weight does seem to help with balancing.

Bend you knee and bend at the waist to touch the ground with your fingertips. Be sure not to round your back to touch the ground – Bend at the knee to get closer to the ground.

This will ensure your leg muscles are being stimulated and will protect your back – especially once you start holding weight.

Once in the bottom position, drive your heel through the ground to straighten your leg and return to the upright starting position. That’s one rep.

Repeat for the number of reps you are aiming for and then for the opposite leg.

If your technique ever starts to break down, stop your set immediately.

Additional key points:

Movement generates from the knee.

Ensure weight stays spread out over your foot and doesn’t shift too much towards your toes.

Push into the ground with your heel and through your glute to return to starting position.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 workoutsthatwork


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