This HIIT leg workout is only for those who want beautifully built, toned legs, steel abs and ramped up fat loss….but I won’t lie, it will suck.
How do you get the biggest bang for your buck with this workout?
How this HIIT Leg Workout Works
There are three reasons this HIIT leg workout gets such good results.
1. Big muscles cause excessive results:
Focused resistance training, especially using the legs, unlocks your hormonal and metabolic potential.
It’s well known that you need to “train your legs if you want to grow your arms”.
While the studies available aren’t able to nail down the exact mechanism why this happens, people looking to maximize lean body mass for the whole body should train the legs first.
Kraemer, et al. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Medicine. 2005;35:339–361.
2. Metabolic Supersets create more epoc
You notice that the exercises are in supersets.
A superset is two exercises performed in succession without rest. The secret to getting the supersets right is to train antagonistic muscles, for example, chest and back.
The supersets here are mixing up quads and the glutes for each superset. This technique, commonly known as paired-set training, shows an increase in EPOC and results in greater total energy expenditure when compared to normal weight lifting workouts.
Kelleher AR, Hackney KJ, Fairchild TJ, Keslacy S, Ploutz-Snyder LL. The metabolic costs of reciprocal supersets vs. traditional resistance exercise in young recreationally active adults. J
Even better, supersets increase strength via a phenomenon referred to as “reciprocal inhibition,” or an increase in stored elastic energy in the muscle-tendon complex.
Kamimura, T., Yoshioka, K., Ito, S., & Kusakabe, T. (2009). Increased rate of force development of elbow flexors by antagonist conditioning contraction. Human Movement Science, 28(4), 407-414.
Baker D and Newton RU. (2005). Acute Effect on Power Output of Alternating an Agonist and Antagonist Muscle Exercise During Complex Training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(1), 202-205
3. Strength + Plyometric Combos burn more energy
As the name implies, combo training is a combination of resistance training and plyometric (or aerobic) exercise.
This is probably the most demanding part of this workout. By the end of the exercises, this workout will break you.
That said: the results are worth it.
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM. Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7.
There is one problem though: If you want to shove this much leg work into one power packed HIIT workout for legs and have the workout finish in 15 minutes… You will end up working hard.
The advanced version of this workout is 90 seconds of hard work to every 30 seconds of rest, so if you aren’t that fit make sure you start with one of the easier versions.
HIIT Leg Workouts
Determine Your Situation The first time you do this just run through the HIIT leg workout with just your bodyweight.
You will get a fair idea of how tiring it is.
Determine which workout you want to start on and how much weight you can handle from there.
You will use equipment such as dumbbells so its most likely you will do this at gym, If you have the dumbbells you can do this leg HIIT workout at home.
If you wish to include this HIIT leg workout in a bodybuilding routine, lighten the weights and use it as a finisher on leg day.
Yes, you will swear at me the next morning.
How Many Sets Should I Do?
Just one. If you still have energy for another set, your weights are too light and your dynamic exercise is too slow.
How Many Repetitions Should I Do?
Because this is HIIT, the temptation with the strength training exercises will be to go fast. Resist this temptation. Go slowly, pick heavy weights and concentrate on your form. When you move onto the plyometric exercises, go hard and fast. See how many reps you can get in the 30 seconds.
How Long Should I Wait Between Exercises?
There is no rest between doing a strength training exercise and a plyometric exercise. They should be down one after another. After the plyometric exercise there is a rest:
- 90 seconds for beginners
- 60 seconds for intermediate
- 30 seconds for advanced
How Much Weight Should I Lift?
This HIIT workout is intense. especially as you move to a more advanced version.
The key of this HIIT leg workout with weights is to use the heaviest you can handle while still maintaining perfect form.
You will get tired quickly so don’t overdo it. Rather start with lighter weights, or even body weight and see how you manage.
You can add heavier weights at future workouts if it becomes easy.
HIIT Leg Workout descriptions
How to do Goblet Squats
With both hands cup the dumbbell in front of your chest. Both your elbows should point down at your feet. when you descend, push your elbows past the insides of your knees, pushing your knees apart. Pause at the bottom then push through your heals back to the starting position.
How to do Jump Squats
With your hands behind your head and our elbows pointing outward, dip down in preparation to jump. Jump as explosively as you can and as you land, go immediately down into a squat position. From the squat position, jump again.
How to do Dumbbell lunges
Hold a pair of dumbbells down at your sides, palms facing inwards. Stand strait up with your feet around hip width apart from each other. In this position, engage your core as you will keep your upper body stable in this position throughout the exercise. Step forward with your left leg and keep on lowering until your knee is bent at 90 degrees, ie your quads should be horizontal to the floor. Your other knee should almost touch the floor. Pause for a moment and then push up and return to the starting position. Remember to keep your body up straight and your core engaged for the whole exercise.
How to do Dumbbell Deadlifts
Stand with the dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Brace your core and keep your back straight and slightly arched. Do not round your back. Bend using your hips and your knees and pick up the weights. Use your hips and glutes to push your body back up to being straight. Then lower the dumbbells back to the floor using only your knees and hips again.
How to do Sumo squats
Grab a heavy dumbbell and hold it at one end with both hands in front of your waist. Your feet should be wide with your toes pointing outward slightly. Your core braced and your back slightly arched. (it should stay like this for the whole movement) Squat down until the weight reaches the floor and then push through your heals back to standing.
How to do a Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift
Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you, resting by your sides. Stand on your left leg and bend your right leg behind you at the knee. (your calf should be parallel to your floor). Keep your lower back slightly arched and your core strong throughout the whole movement. Lower the weights as far as you can by bending your hips and your left knee. Try to get the right leg to just above the floor. The push through your glutes and stand up straight again.
How to do Kickouts
Get into a press up position, lock out your legs, squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight. Jump forward, bringing your knees in to just under your elbows, then immediately jump out again. Repeat this keeping your core activated.
how to do lateral SQuat Jumps
Stand in a squat position, about shoulder width apart. Go down into a squat position and explode up like a squat jump, except you will jump both high and to the left. (around 2-3 feet). Land on both feet and then immediately go back into a squat position and explosively jump up and to the right, back to your starting position. Repeat this
how to squat Thrusts
A squat thrust is a burpee without the press up. Stand in a squat position, weight on your heels. Bend your hips and knees into a squat position. Place your hands onto the floor (or a bench to make it easier) and as you push your weight onto your hands, jump back with your feet into a press up position. (Keep your core activated and your back strong and slightly arched.) Jump your feet back to just outside your hands. Reach up and jump as explosively as you can. Land with both feet and return to a squat position.
how to do Double Pulse Squat
This follows the pattern of a body squat, the only difference is that you pulse twice before extending yourself up. This pulse makes your glutes, quads and calves work harder.
how to do Plank Jack
This is like doing a jumping jack in a plank position. Get yourself into a plank position, on your hands and your toes. The jump your legs out to the side, then jump them back to the original position. Make sure your core is braced and your back it stable and not sagging. Try to do as many jumps as you can in the allotted time. (If the jumps are too difficult, try just stepping out with each leg to make it easier)
How to do Box Jumps
The idea is to jump onto a box that’s high enough. High enough means you need to spend great effort to land on the box (ie not a low step). Make sure the box is secure Stand in front of the box, in a squat position. Dip your knees and explode up onto the box. Make sure you have a soft landing with both feet. Then step down, reset and do it again. If you are not sticking the landing, it means that the box is too high. Try to do as many jumps as you can in the allotted time