It is a well-known fact that more often than not, leg-day is every gym goer's least favorite day of the workout week. I know for a while it was mine. I never wanted to believe that it was just as important as every other day. I never liked working on my legs, and I didn't care to either.
However, later on, I learned that leg day can be the most challenging and rewarding part of your workout week. If you do it right, you will be walking around the next day with a case of the jelly legs.
Over the past few months, I'd been finding myself looking for a new leg-day routine to jump start my workout. After reading various fitness blogs and workout magazines, I couldn't find anything I liked. So, I went to a friend of mine who is a personal trainer (shout out to Jen Hajek) and she hooked me up with an amazing 30-minute workout that fed the chickens nicely.
1) Hack Squat Superset:
The workout starts off pretty heavy here with the hack squat superset. You set up in a normal squat position, except you are on your tiptoes instead of on your heels. While going into your squat, your back needs to remain straight and your knees need to stay back to really get a good squat position. There's no goal in reps, but there is a 30-second timer to do as many as possible. While going into the squat you should feel a different part of your quadricep muscle working. Do 3 sets of 30 seconds each.
These are done with the hack squats. After finishing the 30-second set, grab two dumbbells and do 3 sets of 10. After each set of lunges, rest for 2 minutes and go back to the hack squats. I found myself dragging after the second set of the lunges, so a tip for this is to go a little lighter than you normally would. You don't want to burn yourself out because there's much more to come with this workout.
3) Superset Hamstring Curls:
There's a pattern developing here. This workout is pretty much all supersets to help really get your legs working hard. Go over to the hamstring machine and set a lighter weight than normal. For example, when I was going to start the hamstring curls, I went about 30 pounds lighter than I normally would. Go for 3 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds of rest in between. At this point, you should really start to feel a good burn in your legs.
4) Superset Calf Raises:
Yes, correct, another Superset! Go over to the soleus machine for calf raises. Do the calf raises for 3 sets, 30 seconds each. Also, while doing the workout, the calf raises need to be more like a bounce, not like your normal calf raise. They also need to be quick, allowing you to get the most out of this part of the workout. No, this one is not fun at all, but it's a great workout, so it's definitely worth the try.
Now, I'm only calling these Quickfeet because that's what my coaches used to call them way back when. Go over towards a staircase and tap your feet like you're running on the first step (easier to do than explain). Continue with that for 30 seconds. Then, in between sets of Quickfeet, stand on the edge of the step and do calf raises. The fun part about this is that if you lose your balance during the calf raises, you have to start all over again from the first set.
6) Jump Squats:
If you're still walking, I'm proud of you, and it's almost over. Last are 5 sets of 15 jump squats. Something easy to finish up with.
A quick tip: while going through the entire workout, make sure you're staying hydrated. That may seem like something that doesn't need to be brought up, but I needed to be reminded a few times myself. Trust me, it will be a tough 30 minutes.
In short, if you're looking for something new for your leg day, this is a great place to start. Quick and easy, yet tough, which is everything to look for in a workout. This part of the week was always the one I thought about skipping, or not giving 100% on because I didn't want to be bothered. I found that doing it this way makes one of the toughest days of the week that much easier. Leg day is back, in 30 minutes or less, so get psyched everyone! It's time to feed those chickens.