We all have them: Those days when you can only spare 20 minutes to exercise. You might ask yourself, “Is it even worth it?” Every time, the answer will be “YES! A resounding YES!”
This is one of my favorite super-speedy, easy-to-remember lower body workouts. Use this as a stand-alone routine when you’re short on time, or tack it onto the end of a cardio or upper body workout.
20-Minute Lower Body Workout: The Pyramid
Complete the exercises in the order listed below, moving up the pyramid and then back down. Because this is a quick workout, try not to rest between exercises. You can do this routine with or without weights. If using weights, go lighter for the exercises with higher reps.
- Warm-Up: 4-5 minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching
- Exercise 1: Single-Leg Hinges- 10 reps each leg
- Exercise 2: Curtsy Lunges – 20 reps each leg
- Exercise 3: Plié Squats – 30 reps
- Exercise 4: Deadlifts – 40 reps
- Exercise 5: Squats – 50 reps
- Exercise 6: Deadlifts – 40 reps
- Exercise 7: Plié Squats – 30 reps
- Exercise 8: Curtsy Lunges – 20 reps each leg
- Exercise 9: Single-Leg Hinges- 10 reps each leg
- Stretch: 3-4 minutes
- With a dumbbell in each hand and feet hip-width apart, shift your weight to your left leg
- Slowly lift the right leg off the floor behind you, hinging your upper body forward while keeping your hips level, your back straight, and your gaze on the floor slightly in front of you. Raise your right leg as high as possible while maintaining your form (even a few inches off the floor works perfectly)
- Slowly reverse the motion, using your left glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself back up to standing. That’s 1 rep on 1 leg.
- With a dumbbell in each hand and feet hip-width apart, shift your weight to the left leg
- Lunge back with the right leg and land in a curtsy position, keeping your weight pressed into the left (front) heel, with the right toe resting lightly on the floor behind you
- Squeezing the left glutes and quadriceps, press back up to standing to complete 1 rep on 1 leg.
- With a dumbbell in each hand, position your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your toes turned out between 45-90°
- Slowly bend your knees, lowering your glutes towards the floor while keeping your back straight and your gaze forwards
- Take a quick look at your knees to make sure they’re not rocking inwards or jutting out past your toes (it helps to squeeze your glutes, which automatically pulls the inner thighs back and prevents the knees from rolling in)
- Push through your heels to rise back up to standing. That’s 1 rep.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, back straight, knees soft (slightly bent), with a dumbbell in each hand. Rotate your wrists inwards so the dumbbells are lightly touching the fronts of your thighs
- Tilt your pelvis forwards slightly, then hinge forwards from the hips, lowering the dumbbells along the fronts of your legs until you’ve stretched as far as you can go while maintaining a straight back (imagine that you’re trying to close a door with your behind)
- Pause, then engage your hamstrings and glutes to pull yourself back up to standing, maintaining a straight back throughout the full movement. That’s 1 rep.
- Stand with a weight in each hand, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing forwards or slightly turned out
- Slowly bend your knees, lowering the glutes towards the ground. Focus on pressing your weight into your heels rather than your toes
- Squat down as far as you can go while maintaining a straight spine, weight in the heels, and knees behind the fronts of the toes
- Engage the lower body as you return to standing. That’s 1 rep.
As always, consult your physician before starting a new exercise routine.