Advanced Lower Body Superset Workout

This advanced lower body workout uses supersets with compound exercises that focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. Almost all of the supersets also include a plyometric exercise. So not only will you build muscle and improve strength, but you'll also torch calories, and train your body for more explosive and responsive movements—such as jumping, sprinting, or quick directional changes used in sports like soccer, football, and basketball.

You'll also notice that this workout combines movements in different directions. So you'll be challenged to move the body in all three planes of motion: the frontal plane, the sagittal plane, and the transverse plane. Training in different planes of motion more closely mimics the way our body moves through activities of daily living and in various sports.

While the focus of the workout is the lower body, your whole body will be challenged during this session. Expect to use your core, chest, back, and arms to stabilize the body for many of these moves.

Precautions

This is an advanced workout. You should be in good health and have experience using different types of exercise equipment. If you are using any piece of equipment for the first time, use little to no weight until you are comfortable. You can also enlist the help of a friend or a trainer to supervise or spot you.

If you are returning to exercise after an injury, pregnancy, or a sedentary period you should always seek the clearance of your healthcare provider before starting any workout program. But this is not likely to be the best workout for you unless you have been exercising regularly for some time.

Equipment

This workout is designed to be performed at the gym or in a well-equipped home workout space. The equipment that you need includes a barbell, weight plates, dumbbells or a smith machine, a box or platform, medicine ball, cones, and kettlebells. You'll find most of these tools in the weight room of most gyms or health clubs. There are some modifications provided if you don't have a particular piece of equipment.

How To

Warm up with 5–7 minutes of light to moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity. This might include an easy jog around a track or on a treadmill, rowing, cycling on a stationary bike, or even jumping rope.

Once you are warmed up, begin with superset #1 and work your way through it. Remember that the point of superset training is that you move from one exercise to the next without taking a break. You can, however, take a 30–60-second break between supersets.

Based on time availability, you can repeat each superset if you choose before moving on to the next. If you complete each superset once, the entire workout will take about 40 minutes which should be sufficient for a solid workout.

If doing all 5 supersets is too much for you, pick and choose 2–4 supersets to complete. Be sure to finish with a 3–5 minute cool down (such as walking around a track or on the treadmill) and a few total body stretches.

Superset #1

Don't wish for it, work for it.
svetikd / Getty Images

During this superset, you'll prepare the body for more intense activity in the following supersets. This is the only superset that does not include a plyometric exercise. But the box step-up will further increase your heart rate.

Weighted Squat

A weighted squat works all of the muscles in the lower body but focusses on the quads and glutes. You can do this exercise with dumbbells, kettlebells, or using a smith machine.

  1. Rest a dumbbell on each shoulder and position the feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Hinging at the hips, pull the hips back as you bend your knees. Keep the chest open and back strong.
  3. Lower so that the thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
  4. Press into your heels to lift the body to the starting position and complete 7–10 repetitions.

Good Morning

With this exercise, you'll focus on the hamstrings and core. To prepare for a good morning, stand tall with feet hip-distance apart. Place a barbell on your upper back (resting on the trapezius muscle) and hold it securely with both hands. If you added weight to the bar, be sure that the weight plates are secured with a collar.

  1. Bend the knees slightly and hinge at the hips bringing the torso forward and hips back (as if trying to shut a car door with your butt). Maintain a straight back and a strong core.
  2. Once your torso is parallel to the floor, return to the starting position.
  3. Complete 10–12 repetitions of this exercise.

Step Up With Weights

You'll need a sturdy step or box for this exercise. A taller box is harder, a shorter box is easier. Start by standing in front of the box, holding one weight in each hand at shoulder height.

Weighted Step up
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
  1. Step onto the box with the right foot making sure that the entire foot is on the box.
  2. Press through the right foot and bring the left foot to meet the right.
  3. Step off the box with the right foot, then the left.
  4. Complete 10 repetitions leading with the right leg and then 10 leading with the left.

Superset #2

bulgarian split squat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

You'll build strength and challenge your balance and coordination in this superset. You'll need dumbbells or kettlebells to perform these exercises with resistance.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Prepare for the Bulgarian split squat by standing with feet hip-distance apart about two feet in front of a chair or bench. Lift the left foot and place it on the bench behind you with the top of the foot facing down. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your hands in front of your chest.

  1. Bend your right knee, lowering your body into a one-legged lunge. The shoulders stay upright over the hips as the body descends to knee level.
  2. Pressing through the right heel, lift the body back up to the starting position, and repeat.
  3. Complete 7–10 repetitions on each leg.

Sumo Squat

Engage the adductors (muscles on the inner thigh) with the sumo squat. You'll add weight by holding a kettlebell or dumbbell.

sumo squat
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
  1. Place feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Rotate out from the hip joint so that your toes are angled out slightly.
  2. Bend the knees and drop the hips back simultaneously. The hips lower behind the knees, the knees track in line with the toes.
  3. Press through the heels and return to the standing position. Keep the core engaged throughout and weight evenly distributed between both feet.
  4. Complete 7–10 repetitions.

Jump Lunge

Jump lunges are a great way to build explosive power in the lower body and challenge your coordination. You'll also have to engage the core to maintain your stability.

Jump Lunge
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Prepare for this exercise in a lunge position with the right leg in front and the left leg behind. Both knees are bent.

  1. Sink deeper into your lunge and lean slightly forward preparing to jump. The arms are bent at your sides with the left arm forward, right arm back.
  2. With a quick and explosive movement, launch your body up, lifting high enough to fully extending your knees and hips.
  3. While still in the air legs, bringing the left leg front and the right leg back. switch positions as you begin to land. You should also switch arms, bringing the right arm forward and left arm back.
  4. Land softly in a lunge position and sink deeper in that lunge to prepare for your next jump.
  5. Continue to lunge, jump, switch and land using the core for stability and the arms for added momentum. Complete 12–20 repetitions.

Superset #3

Deadlift

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You'll add rotation and lateral movement in this superset. Substitute equipment as needed.

Deadlift

The deadlift is a great exercise to build stronger hamstrings and glutes. You'll also use muscles in the back and core to stabilize the body. Use dumbbells if you don't have a barbell.

Place a barbell with (optional) weight plates on the floor in front of you. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart with your toes under the bar.

  1. Lower the body in a squat position with back straight and grasp the bar just outside the line of the knees with an overhand grip.
  2. Lift the bar by pressing up through the hips and knees. The bar should almost graze the shins and come to rest around thigh level as you reach a standing position. In this fully upright position the back is strong, shoulders are aligned over the hips, hips are aligned over the knees and ankles.
  3. Reverse the sequence by drawing the hips back into a squat and lowering the bar back to the floor. Repeat this lift and lower sequence for 7–10 repetitions.

Lunge Twist

You'll combine a basic lunge with rotation in this exercise to strengthen the core, (especially the obliques), shoulders, and legs. Training your body for movement in the transverse plane (twisting movements) helps prepare you for activities like moving heavy objects. If you don't have a medicine ball, simply use a dumbbell.

lunge with a twist
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Prepare for this exercise by stepping into a basic lunge position with the right leg in front. The back heel is off the floor. Hold a medicine ball at chest height with elbows fully extended. Use a dumbbell if a med ball is not available. You can also do this exercise with no weight at all.

  1. Keeping the ball extended in front of your chest, rotate the body to the right. Keep your core engaged and glutes tight. Your focus follows the ball (or slightly above).
  2. Return the torso and your focus to the starting position. Make sure the shoulders are still aligned over the hips. Repeat 7–10 times on the right before switching sides for 7–10 repetitions on the left.

Lateral Jump

Adding a plyometric lateral jump to your workout introduces explosive movements in the frontal and sagittal planes. This helps you to improve daily function and particularly performance in sports that use a lot of side to side movements, like tennis or soccer.

lateral plyometric jumps
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To prepare for this exercise, place a row of 5 to 7 low-profile cones in a wide-open space. If you don't have low-profile cones, you can use another marker (such as a small weight plate), or none at all. Begin standing at one end with the cones on your right side.

  1. Sink into a squat position to prepare for a jump.
  2. Push off the feet with an explosive movement and jump over the cones to the left side of the next cone. Land with bent knees. The cones are now on your left.
  3. Squat again and jump forward and across the cones landing with the cones on the right.
  4. Continue to jump in a forward diagonal pattern until you get to the last cone. Turn around and repeat for 30- to 60-seconds.

Superset #4

Barbell Front Squat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

By using a barbell for both of the strength exercises in this superset, it is easier to challenge yourself with more weight. Use dumbbells if a barbell is not available.

Barbell Front Squat

Like a traditional squat, you'll work all of the muscle in the lower body with this move. But the barbell front squat emphasizes the muscles in the quads and glutes.

Begin standing with feet hip-distance apart. Prepare for the exercise by lifting the barbell up to the meaty part of your upper chest. The bar should be close to your neck, but not touching it. Elbows are facing forward and two to four fingers under the bar.

  1. Lower the body into a squat keeping the spine long and the back upright and strong.
  2. Continue to descend into a deep squat until your hamstrings nearly touch the back of the calves. Make sure the heels stay on the ground.
  3. Reverse the movement to return to a standing position and repeat 6 to 9 times.

Hip Thrust

The hip thrust is an excellent move for targeting the glute muscles. Use dumbbells if a barbell is not available. You will also need a sturdy bench for this move. If one is not available, do a basic bridge and add a weight plate or dumbbells.

Hip thrust exercise.
gilaxia / Getty Images
  1. Start seated on the floor in front of a weight bench with knees bent. The upper back should be resting against the edge of a weight bench. Place the weight bar across the hips.
  2. Squeeze the glutes and press the bar straight up until the hips are in line with the shoulders and the knees. The bench should be supporting the upper back. Keep the core tight and maintain a slight chin tuck with your focus down your body.
  3. Slowly lower the bar down until the hips are just a few inches off the floor. Then squeeze the glutes and lift again. Complete 7 to 10 repetitions.

Side Shuffle

The side shuffle is a lateral move performed without weight which gives your legs a slight break. But you'll use quick feet to keep the heart rate elevated and challenge your agility, balance, and coordination. Use cones or small weight plates placed about three to five yards apart.

Side Shuffle Sprints
  1. Begin at the cone on the right side with knees bent and chest lifted.
  2. Stay low and quickly shuffle to the left as quickly as possible maintaining your low stance.
  3. Once you reach the cone on the left side, reach down and touch it quickly then reverse the direction of your shuffle and quickly move back to the right cone. Continue the lateral shuffle for 30 to 60 seconds.

Supersets #5

Jammers exercis

Verywell / Ben Goldstein 

Your last superset works the muscles in both the upper, middle, and lower body, although the focus is on the hamstrings, glutes, and quads.

Jammer

Prepare for the jammer by placing a bar on the floor vertically in front of you. Place a weight plate on the end closest to your body. It's best if the far end is anchored against a wall or a corner.

  1. Sit into a deep squat and grip the bar by cupping the palms over the end.
  2. Holding onto the bar, press through the hips, quads, and glutes to stand up and drive your hips forward to straighten your legs.
  3. Press the bar up and overhead, keeping the back tall and strong.
  4. Once the arms are fully extended, reverse the movement. Lower the bar and bring the body back into a squat position to repeat. Do 7–10 repetitions.

Cross Balance Lunge

You'll engage the core with the cross balance lunge which uses TRX straps. Before you begin, make sure that your TRX straps are firmly attached to their base on the wall or ceiling. If straps are not available, do a curtsy lunge, a side lunge or another lunge variation.

TRX Cross Balance Lunge
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  1. Grab the handles, stand with your body facing the anchor point, and step back until all slack is removed from the straps. Arms are extended forward with palms facing each other.
  2. Keeping your core tight, extend the left leg behind the right moving the body into a low curtsy position with an upright chest. Touch the left toes to the floor behind you.
  3. Press through the right foot and return to start position. Complete 7–10 repetitions.

Box Jumps

You'll need a platform or box to perform this last plyometric move. No matter how high it is, you'll target the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves to enhance power and strength.

Box Jumps
Verywell / Ben Goldstein 
  1. Stand facing the box with feet about hip-distance apart. Bend your knees, lower the arms behind your body to prepare to jump
  2. Spring up, jumping up and onto the box. Use the arms for momentum and land with soft feet and bent knees.
  3. Step off the box and prepare to begin again. Complete 10–12 repetitions.
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