Build Lower-Body Strength With This Heavyweight Leg Session From Krissy Cela’s New Program

Woman performs lying leg curl on weights machine
(Image credit: microgen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

It used to be that gym-goers gave weights machines a wide berth in the gym, with the functional fitness crowd preferring free-weight exercises instead. However, a gym’s weights machines can be very useful when you want to challenge large muscle groups, like those in your legs, with lots of weight, and they can also effectively isolate muscles. That’s why you’ll find machines used in many of the best leg workouts, including this one from Krissy Cela

It’s the week one leg session from the new program on Cela’s EvolveYou fitness app for women. It combines compound exercises—including the Romanian deadlift and leg press—as well as leg extension and leg curl isolation exercises that target individual muscles.

Take a look at Cela's Instagram Reel to see the workout.

Cela recommends doing four sets of 10 reps of each exercise, apart from the Bulgarian split squat where it’s three sets of eight reps.

The first move in this routine is the Romanian deadlift, a variation of the conventional deadlift where the movement begins with the barbell off the floor. In our guide to Romanian deadlift form, strength coach Jeff Hoobler explains that the key to perfecting this move is in the hips: “The hips need to unlock before the knees. This means sending the hips backward first, then unlocking [or slightly softening] the knees as you lower the weight.”

Weights machines can vary, so make sure to check the written instructions printed on the machines you’re using for the next three moves.

The Bulgarian split squat is a tricky move that challenges your balance. If you haven’t attempted it before, starting with the split squat, where your rear foot stays on the floor, may be wise. To get the correct set-up for the Bulgarian split squat, sit on the platform with your rear foot under your glutes, then extend your other leg forward, locking your knee and placing your heel on the floor. Stand and rock your foot forward so it’s flat on the floor and adjust the placement of your rear foot. There are more tips in our Bulgarian split squat form guide. 

We have more Krissy Cela workouts for you to try too. If you don’t have access to a gym, you can try this glutes workout at home, or for a gym workout with lighter weights, start with Krissy Cela’s bum workout.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.