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This Lower Body Strength Workout Builds Powerful Legs

Updated: Apr 17

A guy about to perform a barbell squat as part of a lower body strength workout.

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This lower body strength workout has been designed to develop superior strength and power in the big muscles of the leg. As well as building strength this lower body strength workout will also encourage muscle growth in the glutes and quads.

Additionally, the combination of functional and compound exercises will also enhance muscular endurance. So, if you’re searching for a training session to strengthen your pins, you’ve come to the right place. And what’s more, this lower body strength workout is fully modifiable. Meaning you can adapt it to suit your level of ability and fitness aims.

Who can benefit from this lower body strength workout?

This lower body workout is ideal if you want to improve strength in the major muscles of your legs. Perhaps you’ve been neglecting leg training for some time, or maybe you’re looking for an all-purpose workout to build strength in the legs after an injury. Well, this workout can be tailored to suit your fitness and training goals.

Lower body strength improves sports performance

If you’re a sports enthusiast, and you play either for pay or pleasure, no doubt you want to improve your performance. Whether your sport is football, rugby, cycling, or swimming, increasing leg strength can confer a competitive advantage.

It’s for this reason that strength and conditioning training is forming an increasingly larger part of the exercise routine of professional athletes (NSCA's Guide To Program Design). From rowers to rugby players, and gymnasts to golfers, all sports players benefit from stronger legs.

But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to strive for improvement in your sport. Even if you play for a weekend football league, or enjoy a cycle with friends on a Sunday, improved leg strength will enable you to participate more fully.

lower body strength workout benefits

This workout does what it says on the tin: builds strength in the muscles of the lower body. But it provides more benefits beyond just strength.

Comprised of compound exercises, this workout will increase muscle mass in the glutes and quads. And because lower body compound exercises engage a wide spectrum of muscle groups, such as the core and lower back, you’ll enjoy whole body gains.

Also, due to the mix of strength and muscle endurance training elements, you’ll notice enhanced muscle endurance as well. So, if you adopt this workout as part of your training routine, you should start to notice a broad range of performance improvements.

Improved fitness and muscle definition

Spoiler alert! This isn’t one workout – it’s two. The second workout is a strength challenge in which you are to lift and shift 10-ton in the shortest time possible.

He or she who takes up the 10-ton challenge will enjoy a tough workout. One that will promote a whole host of fitness benefits including increased muscle definition in the quads and glutes.

As well as sculpting enviable muscle tonality, lifting 10-ton in a CrossFit-style AMRAP complex will also get your heart rate up. Thus, include this workout in your training routine and expect to see some fat disappear.

More benefits of this strength workout

  • Develops strength in the glutes and quads

  • Enhances muscle definition

  • Improves definition and tonality in the legs

  • Increases functional fitness

  • Improves sports performance

Lower body strength workout

So, you already know that there are two lower body strength workout options. The first, which we’ll call option one, is organised around your typical gym session. Each of the leg exercises is assigned a set and rep range. The ranges are within the strength training zone. Thus, don’t be afraid to pile on the poundage.

Option two is the 10-ton challenge. The objective is to lift 10,000kg in the shortest time possible. This is essentially an AMRAP (as many reps as possible). However, the slight difference is there is no time cap, and you’re accumulating weight, not reps.

If you fancy a bash at the 10-ton challenge, but are still a bit hazy about how it works, see the comprehensive explanation below.

10 ton challenge explained

Calculating your accumulated weight is super simple. Merely multiply the weight being lifted by the number of repetitions performed. Here’s an example.

To 10-ton with, say, a 50kg Olympic barbell, you must perform 200 reps. (Example: 1 rep x 50kg = 50kg lifted. 10 reps x 50kg = 500kg lifted. 200 reps x 50kg = 10,000kg (10-ton) lifted.)

Note: those 200 reps do not have to be performed in one sitting. You can take as long as you need. Also, the reps should be divided across the leg exercises. So, you’ll get a rest when transitioning from one exercise to another.

And don’t forget to record your time for prosperity. By recording the time it takes to bag the 10-ton, you’ll have a benchmark to compete against the next time you have a go at this challenge. This will provide you with a measure to assess physical improvements against.

Make this upper body strength workout a circuit

Quick tip: the most effective way to approach this challenge is by organising the exercise into a circuit. Here’s how you could do this.

  • Use a single barbell for the compound exercises

  • Select a weight that you can comfortably lift for 10 reps

  • Calculate the number of reps needed to achieve 10-ton on each exercise

  • Stick to 10 reps as it makes calculating the weight easier

  • Create a tally sheet (or use the examples below) to keep track of your progress

  • After a good warm-up, set a timer and start lifting!

1) Barbell squat

Option 1 strength: 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps

Option 2 10-ton challenge (50kg Olympic barbell)

Barbell squat key teaching points

  • With the bar resting securely across your traps, space your feet slightly over shoulder-width apart.

  • Keeping your eyes fixed forward, squat down until a 90-degree angle forms at the back of the knee.

  • To conclude the squat, stand up under control focusing on pushing your hips forward as you do so.

Related: The Best Olympic Barbell by a mile!

2) Kettlebell goblet squat

Option 1 strength: 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps

Option 2 10-ton challenge (32kg KB)

*To account for those four extra goblet squat reps. Five sets of 15 reps of a 32kg KB equates to 2400kg lifted. Thus, we’re left with a debt of 100kg. No matter, that’s easily rectified. A few additional swings will balance the books. To pre-empt those pedantic types, yes, I concede, 19 reps puts you in credit by 28kg. But better to have a surfeit than a deficit, wouldn’t you agree?

Goblet squat key teaching points

  1. Stand over a kettlebell with your feet set wider than shoulder-width.

  2. Grasp the outer edge of the kettlebell handle; your fingers are curled around the handle, your thumbs pointing to the body of the bell.

  3. Pull the kettlebell back between your legs and upend it: if you’re in the correct start position the KB should be suspended level with your chest, the base of the bell facing the ceiling.

  4. Squat down until your forearms touch your quads.

Related: Check out the top three Competition Kettlebell Sets

3) Dumbbell Farmer’s walk

Option 1 strength: 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps

Option 2 10-ton challenge (2 x 25kg DBs)

Farmer's walk key teaching points

  • Before breaking into a Farmer’s walk, first measure out a ‘runway’ – that is, a straight walkway that is bereft of obstacles and trip hazards.

  • Also, it’s good practice to measure the runway so that you know how far you’ve walked. Remember, Farmer’s walk is not measured by how many repetitions you perform, but by how many metres you carried a specific load. (Hence the 'm' in the grid above.)

  • When picking your dumbbells up, ensure to observe correct lifting principles: back straight, tight core, eyes fixed to your front.

  • Stand up, compose yourself, and proceed to walk.

4) Overhead squat

Option 1 strength: 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps

Option 2 10-ton challenge

Overhead squat key teaching points

As the overhead squat requires flexibility in the calves and Achilles tendons, many beginners struggle to squat below 45-degrees. To overcome this simply use 2-inch spacers to raise your heels.

  • If you haven’t attempted an overhead squat before, it is wise to practice with an unloaded bar or broomstick. The following teaching points apply to trainers using a light bar.

  • Hold the bar at your front and space your hands wide; the bar should be level with your hips.

  • If you’re using spacers it’s best to manoeuvre your heels on them before getting the bar into position.

  • Organise your feet so that they are just over shoulder-width apart.

  • Raise the bar above your head ensuing to apply tension by pulling it apart as though you are tearing it in two.

  • Keeping the bar directly above your head, under control squat down to 90-degrees.

  • Pause momentarily before returning to the start position.


Enjoyed this lower body strength workout?

Get your hands on 80 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 3 >

Lower body leg workout concludes with the HUngry4Fitness book of circuits.


About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at

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