8-Minute Legs

This pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things- certainly the way we workout! At this time last year, we had no problem paying monthly dues, spending gasoline and time to get to the gym, and sharing equipment that someone else had just sweat all over it. Fast-forward to now, that just sounds… unnecessary. With very little equipment, you can get spectacular workouts at home. In this “8-Minute Workout” series, I’m letting you in to my own, personal, at-home workouts that target every major muscle group. This, the third edition is, is Legs!


Using just one set of medium-weight dumbbells, you can expect 6 challenging moves for the legs. Each move lasts 40-seconds, and we repeat the circuit. On the second time through, we triple the pulses in the stable strength exercises- yowza! To get the most out of 8 little minutes, I plugged a progression- a cardio move- after each stable strength move. Heart-pumping moves are beneficial from a metabolic standpoint, so trek through the tough stuff with me. Tell yourself “it’s only 40-seconds!” You’ve got this!



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Exercise 1: Sumo Squats with a pulse

Stand tall and set your legs far wider than hips-width apart, with toes turned to 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock. Place your hands behind your head with elbows open wide (this will help to engage your thoracic spine extenders, your posture muscles). Sink your hips down to approximately knee height. Rise halfway up (that’s the “pulse”). Lower the hips back down to the lowest part of the squat. Rise up.

*Note: On your second time through this circuit, increase from one (single) pulse to triple pulses by raising your hips halfway up, then all the way down three times before lifting all the way up to standing. The extra time under tension will make the exercise harder.




Exercise 2: Plyo Sumo Squats

Keep the legs in prisoner squat stance, explained in Exercise 1. Sink your hips down to approximately knee height. Next, leap high into the air, point your toes, and catapult your body to airbound for a few seconds. Land toe-to heel and return to Sumo Squat position. Repeat. Option: If jumping is too hard, just perform rapid-fire sumo squats with no leap.



Exercise 3: Stationary Lunge with a Pulse

Stagger your legs where your right leg is in the front and left leg is in the back. Create enough space between the two feet that when you lunge down, the right knee lines up with the shoelaces (not beyond the toes). Bend both knees to where they nearly touch the ground. Lift halfway up (not all the way up). Lower back down to hover the knees right above the ground. Lastly, lift all the way up where the knee are extended at the top. Repeat.



Exercise 4: Plyo Split Squat

Keep the legs in staggered-stance, explained in Exercise 3. Bend your knees to hover above the ground, drawing your arms back. Leap into the air, extending both knees, and reaching your arms high to assist with leverage. Land lightly and repeat! Option: If jumping is too hard, just perform rapid-fire stationary lunges with no leap.



Exercise 5: Stationary Lunge with a Pulse (other leg)

Stagger your legs where the left leg is in the front and left leg is in the back. Create enough space between the two feet that when you lunge down, the left knee lines up with the shoelaces (not beyond the toes). Bend both knees to where they nearly touch the ground. Lift halfway up (not all the way up). Lower back down to hover the knees right above the ground. Lastly, lift all the way up where the knee are extended at the top. Repeat.



Exercise 6: Plyo Split Squat (other leg)

Keep the legs in staggered-stance, explained in Exercise 5. Bend your knees to hover above the ground, drawing your arms back. Leap into the air, extending both knees, and reaching your arms high to assist with leverage. Land lightly and repeat! Option: If jumping is too hard, just perform rapid-fire stationary lunges with no leap.




Repeat this circuit, starting with Exercise 1.



For additional 8-minute workouts, see 8-Minute Bis and Tris and 8-Minute Shoulders. Soon to come, we’ll add 8-Minute Chest and Back, 8-Minute Butt, 8-Minute Total Body, 8-Minute Core, and 8-Minute HIIT!



About Brook Benten


Brook Benten, M. Ed., is a fitness expert in Georgetown, TX. She offers fitness education and workout videos at brookbenten.com. Brook is a Master Trainer for Johnny G Spirit Bike, ambassador for Ryka, and faculty member for SCW Fitness. Brook is beta-testing a new platform that will revolutionize the home group fitness experience, Train with the Trainers.

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