Workout 18: Legs & Abs


Leg Exercises

1. Barbell Squat

  1. Find a squat rack and set the height of the bar slightly beneath your shoulders. Stand with your feet at about hip-width apart. Step up to the bar, move under it, and grip it with an overhand grip. The barbell should be supported on top of your traps. 
  2. Your chest should be up and your head facing forward. Once the bar is on your back, stand up, flex your core, tighten your glutes, and step away from the rack. 
  3. Begin squatting by lowering yourself until your legs reach a 90° angle and your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Your knees will move forward, but ensure that they stay aligned with your feet. 
  4. While keeping your torso upright, drive your heels into the ground to push yourself back up.

2. Weighted Lunge

Caution: This movement requires a great deal of balance, so if you lack balance or are suffering from an injury that affects your balance, use your own bodyweight while holding on to a fixed object.

  1. Stand with your torso upright and hold one dumbbell in each hand at arm's length.
  2. Step forward with your right foot (about 2 feet or so) as you lower your body down and squat through your hips. Make sure that your left foot remains stationary and that you are maintaining your balance. Do not allow your right knee to move beyond your toes as you come down. Keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.
  3. Using mainly the heel of your foot, drive yourself back up to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the movement for your left leg.

3. Leg Press

  1. Using the leg press machine, sit down with your back and head against the padded support and place your feet on the footplate. Your feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart and aligned with your hips. 
  2. Unlock the safety bars holding the platform and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended without locking your knees. Grasp the handles during the movement.
  3. Slowly lower the platform until your thighs and calves create a 90° angle.
  4. Drive the heels of your feet into the platform and press up using your quadriceps.
  5. When complete, ensure to lock the safety pins properly and lock the safety bars. 

4. Weighted Step-Up

Caution: This movement requires a great deal of balance, so if you lack balance or are suffering from an injury that affects your balance, use your own bodyweight while holding on to a fixed object.

  1. Stand facing the raised platform, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Place one foot onto the platform.
  3. Stand-up by extending hip and knee of the raised leg, placing both feet onto the platform.
  4. Step back down with the second leg, returning to the original stating position by returning both feet to the floor. 
  5. Repeat the exercise but alternate the leading leg between repetitions.


5. Calf Raise

Caution: If you suffer from lower back problems, a better exercise would be the calf press. With this exercise, your back has to support the weight being lifted. Additionally, your back needs to be straight and still at all times. If you round your back, this can cause a lower back injury.

  1. Start by adjusting the padded lever to fit your height on the standing calf raise machine.
  2. Place your shoulders under the pads and position your toes forward with your feet shoulder-width apart. The balls of your feet should be on top of the calf block and your heels should be extending off the end.
  3. Push the weight up by extending your knees until you’re standing erect. Your knees should have a slight bend and never be fully locked.
  4. While flexing your calves, push through the balls of your feet to raise your heels. There should be no bending in your knees at any time. Hold for a second before you begin to return back down.
  5. Slowly lower your heels and the weight as you bend your ankles until you feel a stretch in your calves. 

Ab Exercises


1. Kneeling Cable Crunch

Caution: Do not choose a weight that is too heavy. This can result in straining your lower back.

  1. Find a cable station and attach a rope handle to the top pulley. Grasp the rope attachment at each end, and kneel down so your knees are bent at a 90° angle.
  2. Your arms should be stretched over your head. Your palms should be facing each other when holding the rope and your hands should be placed next to your face.
  3. Slightly flex your hips forward. There should be tension on the cable, and you should feel a stretch in your abs.
  4. Keep your hips stationary, contract your abs, and crunch your chest towards your hips until your head is between your knees. Your elbows should be approaching the middle of your thighs. After reaching this point, hold the contraction for a second.
  5. Slowly reverse back to the starting position. Keep as much tension in your abs during this whole movement.

2. Hanging Leg Lift

  1. Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended at arms length in top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. The legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.
  2. Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Hold for 0.5-1 seconds. 
  3. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

3. Bicycle Crunch

  1. Lie flat with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your head slightly above your neck. Lift your shoulders into a crunch position.
  2. Raise yours legs so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your shins parallel to the ground.
  3. Simultaneously, slowly go through a cycle pedal motion kicking forward with the right leg while pulling in the knee of the left leg. 
  4. Bring your right elbow close to your left knee by crunching to the side. Then crunch to the opposite side as you cycle your legs and bring your left elbow closer to your right knee. 
  5. Alternate sides.

4. In And Out

  1.  Stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding dumbbells.
  2. Jump into a wide squat position and touch the floor (or close to the floor) with one arm extended towards the floor.
  3. Jump your feet back together in a straight, standing position.
  4. Jump immediately back into a wide squat position and touch the floor with opposite hand. 
  5. Keep alternating arms back and forth.

*Try to keep your chest lifted while you do this.