Workout 45: Legs & Abs

Leg Exercises


1. 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. 

2. Deadlift

  1. Stand upright with the barbell centered over your feet. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your toes slightly pointed outward. Hinge at your hips and use an overhand grip to grasp the bar at shoulder-width so that your shoulder blades can elongate.
  2. Lower your hips and bend your knees until your shins come into contact with the bar. Look forward while keeping your chest up and your back arched. Drive through your heels to lift the weight upward. 
  3. After the bar passes your knees, pull it upward as you raise your chest and, thus, straightening your back. You should be pulling your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar. Make sure that you lock your hips and knees, move your booty back, and fire your glutes as you stand up with the bar (this movement comes from your hips, not your knees).
  4. Unlock your hips and knees so that you can lower the bar by hinging your hips back down. Bend your knees after the bar passes them and use your hips to guide the bar to the ground. The bar should land centered over your feet at the starting position.

3. 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.

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. Standing Oblique Cable Crunch

  1. Start off standing with your side next to a high pulley cable machine with a grip attachment connected to the machine.
  2. Grasp the handle with one of your hands, with your feet shoulder width apart and the other arm rested at your side.
  3. Slowly pull down with the arm grasping the cable with your obliques until you feel a stretch in your abs.
  4. Return back to the starting position and repeat. Only when you’re done with one side, move to the opposite side. 
  5. Repeat! 

2. Plank

  1. Position yourself face-down on the ground and place your hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your back as straight as possible, push your body off the ground, through your hands.
  2. Inhale as you lower yourself downward, until your chest nearly touches the ground.
  3. Exhale and press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest, arms, and abdominal muscles.

3. 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.

4. Table Top Elbow to Knee Crunch

  1. Get in a tabletop position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Hold your body up off the floor in this position. Hold a light dumbbell in your right hand. 
  2. From this position, extend your right arm out in front of you and extend your left leg straight out behind you. 
  3. Next, crunch your abs by bringing your right elbow to meet your left knee in the middle of your body. 
  4. Extend them again and repeat. 
  5. Make sure to finish one side before switching hands and doing the other side. 

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