You don’t always need weights or complicated training equipment to strengthen your leg muscles. In fact simply running, combined with a variety of bodyweight leg exercises, can boost your lower-body strength.
This routine, created by HYROX master trainer Jade Skillen, includes several of the movements synonymous with the popular fitness competition and will target a wide range of lower-body muscles while simultaneously boosting your fitness.
“By performing bodyweight exercises under fatigue and then running after the AMRAP section of this routine, you’ll improve your lower-body strength, muscle endurance and aerobic capacity at once,” Skillen explains.
If you currently weight-train a few times a week, she adds, this is a great session to add into your routine to build strength and muscular endurance, all while challenging your lower-body and cardiovascular system in new and varied ways.
How To Do This Bodyweight Leg Workout
For the running section of this workout, you’ll need some outdoor space, or you can use a treadmill set at a 1% incline to replicate the feel of running outside.
“Just don’t go out too hot or you’ll burn yourself out and compromise your technique for the AMRAP,” says Skillen. “Instead, find a pace that pushes you, but that you can hold for the full 1km. Take a quick breather post-run, then get into the AMRAP ASAP.”
AMRAP means “as many rounds as possible”. With this 20-minute AMRAP, the objective is to complete all the stipulated reps of each exercise in order; once you complete one round, return to the first exercise and repeat, taking note of how many rounds and reps you manage in the given time period.
Speed is of the essence, but try to move as efficiently and proficiently as possible to minimize any risk of injury. “This section is all about strength endurance, so find a pace that you’re comfortable holding for the full 20 minutes,” Skillen says.
The final run is when you can push yourself. Try to increase the pace compared with the first run. “Push yourself—just don’t compromise your lower back when your legs get tired,” says Skillen. “Focus on keeping your form tight, even if it means slowing yourself down.”
- 1km run
- 20 min AMRAP
– 10 burpee broad jumps
– 15 jump squats
– 20 sit-ups
– 20 https://youtu.be/sP_UcL8oH58?si=7GRnVDNLTJtvi8At&t=45
- 1km run
Burpee broad jump
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Engage your core, hinge at your hips, and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the floor. Jump your feet back so that you’re in a push-up position and bend your elbows to drop your chest to the floor. Push yourself back up, jump your feet forward again to land next to your hands and stand up straight. As you stand, swing your arms from behind you to high in front of your body as you explosively jump forward. Land with bent knees to soften the impact, then repeat into the next rep.
Skillen says: “Burpee broad jumps will test your leg strength, explosive power and lower-body stability all in one.”
Stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and push your hips back to squat down until your hips are lower than your knees, keeping your chest up. Push through your feet to jump straight up as high as you can. Land with soft knees and continue into the next rep.
Skillen says: “Again, the squat jumps will test your explosive power, as well as your strength endurance in the quads and glutes throughout the workout.”
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, or with the soles of your feet together. Extend your arms behind your head, then engage your core by pressing your lower back into the floor. Squeeze your abs to sit up and bring your hands forward to touch the floor by your feet. Reverse the move under control and repeat.
Skillen says: “Sit-ups, though they are abdominal-focused, also strengthen your hip flexors and quads which are engaged every time you perform the movement.”
Reps 20 each side
Stand with one foot in front of you and the other behind you (a split stance). Keeping your chest facing forward and your core braced, bend both knees to lower until both are bent to a 90° angle. Push through the heel of your front foot to stand. Do all your reps on one side, then swap the position of your feet.
Skillen says: “Static lunges target the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors.”
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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.