Lean & strong legs workout

This is a cardio and strength workout focusing on legs and booty! You can do this workout anywhere with a pair of dumbbells and your legs will be on fiiiiiiiire.

Hi friends! I’m coming atcha with a new leg workout today. I think I might be the odd one out on this one, but I LOVE training legs. I feel like you can quickly see a difference in strength and definition, and leg workouts always feel challenging. In a weird way, I even enjoy the sore swagger the next couple of days after a really challenging workout.

I took a barre class last week with a friend, and after a bit of a hiatus – P suddenly didn’t want to go to Play Lounge so it changed up our usual Friday routine – it felt SO good to be back into it. My leg shake was the most intense it’s been in quite a while. It was such an important reminder to change up the type of training you do. You need max strength workouts (where you really push yourself to the limit with weight), traditional hypertrophy (lean muscle-building) work like the workout below, and endurance work, like BODYPUMP or barre. It’s a simple way to continuously change stressors and keep your body guessing.

Spring is on the horizon, and with that often brings a focus on leg training. We always want our legs to be strong to support our activities and everyday life, and the physical benefits (like when they look lean and strong in a pair of shorts) are just the icing on the cake.

Here’s one of my latest favorite leg workouts, combining strength and cardio.

Lean strong legs workout

 (Wearing Carbon38 tank // Beyond Yoga leggings // APL sneakers // Lorna Jane sports bra)

Carbon38 leggings

Here’s what the workout looks like:

Lean and strong legs workout

Form cues and tips:

40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest of the following exercises

Rotating lunge to plie squat jump:  Start in lunge position, making sure your front knee doesn’t bend in front of the toe and keep your legs parallel to each other—like a train track, not a tightrope. Spring up and rotate to the side, being sure to land with a soft knee and sink into your plie squat before springing up and rotating to lunge jump on the other side. If the impact is too much, try quick and efficient lunges instead.


Low lunge to squat: For this exercise, you aren’t rising in between switching – keep your body LOW and knees bent the entire time. Torso stays upright, step back into your lunge, then keep the front knee bent as you step out to the side to squat. Step the opposite foot behind and lunge. Watch the front knees to make sure they don’t extend past the toes.

Weighted squat: Stand with feet hip-width or slightly wider is good, and toes slightly turned out. Focus on sitting back, while keeping your chest lifted and a tight core. Inhale to lower, exhale to rise. Make sure that your knees go towards your toes, but not far past your toes. Sink your hips as low as your flexibility allows, whether it’s a small squat, or to hips just above knee level. You can squat lower than knee level if it works for you, but generally it’s not something that I recommend.

Single leg deadlift (each side):  Hold a barbell, pair of dumbbells or kettlebell, and tap one leg behind you. You can keep it here, with the weight in your front foot as you tilt forward, bringing the weights just below the knees. Exhale and rise with a flat back. For more advanced variations, you can float this top foot off the floor. Make sure to keep hips parallel to the floor.

Gina Harney Favorites 0015

Squat jumps: Get into a squat position (booty LOW and back), and touch the floor. Keep your abs engaged and chest lifted. Powering through your heels, spring up, reaching your arms towards the ceiling. Land with a soft knee. Repeat.

Plank with leg raise (20 seconds each side): You can complete this in a modified plank, or a full plank on your hands, or with knees down. Raise one leg off the floor (keep that hip pointing down) and pulse that leg towards the ceiling. Take a quick break if you need it, and switch to the opposite side after 20 seconds.

Leg raise

Please let me know if you give it a try!



More of my favorite leg workouts:

Lean mean leg workout + HIIT Blitz 

Core and leg burning workout

Barre legs workout

Leg and booty burner (video)

Photos: Tara Leinen

Location: La Encantada Tucson

Wearing: Carbon38 tank // Beyond Yoga leggings // APL sneakers // Lorna Jane sports bra


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