Leg Exercises

45-Minute Strength & Size Leg Workout for Monster Wheels

Get an intense workout in a fraction of the time with this hardcore leg routine.

45-min Strength & Size Leg Workout
Duration 45 min
Exercises 8
Equipment Yes

I’m of the opinion that time is very important. Some of us enjoy working out, so spending 2 hours in the gym is satisfying. Others exercise because they understand that it’s a necessity to stay healthy. As a personal trainer, my job is to accommodate both philosophies because regardless of which thought process you subscribe to, something will get between you and your workout. 

In an effort to keep consistency at the top of the priority list, I’ve written many workouts that keep the time needed to complete them abbreviated. Taking on training programs that require a lot of volume or tremendous intensity could require long or frequent training sessions. For those that can’t necessarily commit to 5 training days a week or longer sessions, I suggest combining certain training protocols within each workout to accomplish as much as possible.

This workout is effective because it accommodates the intensity aspect by using unilateral strength work and allows for higher volume because you won’t be completely exhausted from high amounts of spinal loading. The strategy here is to start with a unilateral strength technique and move to higher volume bilateral work. It sounds technical but it’s really quite simple.

The Exercises

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat is performed with one leg, the rear leg, elevated onto a box or bench that should be at a height somewhere between your knee and your butt. Any higher will cause too much stretching in your hip flexors and quads along with too much back extension. Any lower and it will be difficult to get the flexion you want out of the working leg (front leg). You load weight to the lift by holding dumbbells in both hands along side your body.

Your weight should be distributed almost 100% to your working front leg. The rear leg on the box is only an anchor point. Keep your torso pitched forward over your front leg while maintaining perfect posture. Get your working leg parallel to floor at the bottom and fully extended at the top.

You should ascend in weight using the dumbbells along with your sets. Essentially working up to one top set of poundage that is very challenging for you. The last rep of the last set should be completed but tough.

Back Squat

I would normally suggest starting your training session with back squats however because of our time constraints they come second. Additionally, you worked your strength reps unilaterally with the split squats so your legs are fatigued and for this reason, these sets are performed with 50%-60% of your usual back squat 1 rep max and at a higher volume.

Romanian Deadlift

When I’m tight on time or if I want to back off of heavy deadlifting while still stressing my hamstrings I use RDLs. I believe they have many benefits but I favor them because of the constant tension.

I suggest performing these without touching the ground between reps. I specify this because I’ve seen RDLs coached in so many different ways. For me, the critical aspect is the eccentric phase of RDLs. Because you don’t put the barbell down, your body will automatically force you to slow down towards the bottom of the movement - for good reason, too. If your brain didn’t signal you to systematically slow the bar you could potentially hurt yourself. This intense eccentric phase digs deep into the muscle and will probably leave you sore the next few days.

Perform these sets with 40%-50% of your 1 rep max deadlifts. Lower intensity here allows you to move through the sets faster and will make sure you don’t create such soreness that you can’t train hard during your next session. If you don’t do RDLs frequently or if you have limited hamstring flexibility, this exercise can leave you very sore. 

Side lunge

I like lateral lunges because of the unique angle of force applied to the hip and quad, along with the active stretch that is achieved in the adductors. This exercise is great because it requires a lot of hip mobility. While that makes it hard, that also forces you to work on your hip mobility.

Perform these lateral lunges alternating from side to side with body weight only. Focus more on depth than anything. Getting deep into each hip will get your glutes, and your quads firing hard.

Kettlebell High Swing

The kettlebell high swing is your finisher. Choose a weight that you can manage well for high reps. The high swing will require you to get the bell above your head. It doesn't have to be totally overhead; slightly higher than your forehead is fine.

Many people approach the kettlebell swing from a knee-dominant perspective. I believe it should be a hip-dominant movement. When done correctly, you use the same hip hinge technique that you would during a deadlift. This is why KB high swings are a great finisher for a quick and powerful workout. It not only ties together all your previous leg work, but it also requires full body activation, including a spike in heart rate. Finishing with this kind of intensity completes the layers of energy output you need to naturally stimulate and spike the release of favorable hormones that will help you build muscle and recover better.

45-min Strength & Size Leg Workout

Exercise 1

Spin Bike
exercise image placeholder
1 sets
2-3 min reps
-- rest
*Perform as part of 5-min warmup.

Exercise 2

Standing Hip Circles
exercise image placeholder
1 sets
10 reps
-- rest
*Perform as part of 5-min warmup.

Exercise 3

Dumbbell Reverse Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge thumbnail
1 sets
10* reps
-- rest
*Per side. Do not use dumbbells. Perform as part of 5-min warmup.

Exercise 4

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat thumbnail
5 sets
8 reps
120 sec rest

Exercise 5

Back Squat You'll need: Barbell, Squat Rack How to
Back Squat thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
60 sec rest
*Use 50-60% 1RM.

Exercise 6

Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
60 sec rest
*Use 40-50% 1RM.

Exercise 7

Dumbbell Side Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Side Lunge thumbnail
3 sets
10* reps
30-60 sec rest
*Per side. Do not use dumbbells.

Exercise 8

Kettlebell Swing You'll need: Kettlebells How to
Kettlebell Swing thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
60 sec rest
*Perform as a high swing, getting kettlebell over your head.