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25-Minute Leg Circuit Workout: Slow Burn (Stronger 25, Day 8)

Build strong, toned legs with this workout: the best leg circuits for the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves and thighs. This leg circuit workout supersets an eccentric leg exercise with a “power rep” or pulse, increasing time under tension and building muscle at home.



 

This is DAY EIGHT of our Stronger 25 Program.

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Build lower body strength, control and power with this leg circuit at home. Targeting all of the major muscle groups in the lower body in under 30 minutes.

This is the eighth day of our Stronger 25 Strength Training Program. Last week we targeted the legs with a challenging Strength, Power and Isometrics Leg Day. Today’s Leg Circuit Workout trades the isometric exercises (holds) for eccentric exercises (slow and controlled lengthening of the muscle).

Our infamous “Slow Burn” format supersets slow and controlled eccentric leg exercises with “power reps” or pulses to increase the intensity.

Performing eccentric movements takes the muscles through a full range of motion, building strength and increasing muscle tone. While the power reps and pulses get your heart rate up, increase time under tension and test control.

two women performing a lateral lunge as part of leg circuit workout

Leg Circuit Workout FAQs

What Are Eccentric Exercises?

Eccentric exercises focus on the lengthening of the muscle under tension or load (Ohio State University). Think of slowly lowering down during a squat: the muscles in your glutes are lengthening while working against gravity. The benefits of eccentric training include building muscle, increasing control and improving range of motion.

What is the #1 Leg Exercise?

When it comes to muscle engagement, squats and squat variations (such as the back squat, split squat, sumo squat, and front squat) are the most effective leg exercises. The squat is a compound exercise that targets every muscle in the lower body, which is why it can be found in almost every leg workout. If squats don’t feel good, try this No Squat Lower Body Workout instead.

What Are The Benefits of Exercise Pulses?

Pulsing at the bottom of an exercise increases time under tension when the muscle is at the extent of its lengthened position. These small movements fatigues the muscle more quickly, which leads to muscle growth. Exercise pulses are popular in barre and pilates workouts to target the stabilizing muscles around joints such as the knees, hips and ankles.

Are Circuit Workouts Good For Building Leg Muscle?

Circuit Training is an effective way to build muscle and can be easily customized to focus on different muscle groups. Circuit training workouts combine multiple exercises with little to no rest.

two women performing staggered squat as part of leg circuit workout

Build lower body strength and control with this slow burn leg circuit workout.

Today’s workout supersets slow and controlled eccentric leg exercises with power reps or pulses. The combination of these two different styles of reps works the muscle in its most lengthened position – which is beneficial for building strength and increasing muscle tone.

I suggest doing this leg workout once a week as part of a well-rounded fitness routine.

Workout Equipment:

A medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells. I suggest anywhere from 8-25 lbs. We used 10-20 lb dumbbells in this workout. Optional Mini Loop Resistance Band.

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Woman performing a single leg glute bridge with calf raise as example of eccentric leg exercise

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Leg Circuits on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 2 Circuits (4-6 exercises per circuit)
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of eccentric reps right into 30 seconds of power reps or pulses; followed by 20 seconds of rest)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets
  • Bonus Core Circuit

Workout Outline

Circuit One:
1. Eccentric Staggered Squat
2. Staggered Ski Swing and Front Step Shallow Lunge

1. Eccentric Split Lunge
2. Lateral Lunge and Clean

1. Eccentric Sumo Deadlift
2. Wide Squat Pulse

Cardio:
1. Lateral Shuffles
2. Single Leg Three-Way Squat

Circuit Two:
1. Fire Hydrant Lifts and Kicks
2. Single Count Fire Hydrant Lifts

1. Single Leg Glute Bridge and Calf Raise
2. Single Leg Glute Bridge

Abs and Core Burnout:
1. Donkey Kicks and Bear Crawl Hold (Right)
2. Donkey Kicks and Bear Crawl Hold (Left)
3. 90 /90 Kick Out and Switch

two women performing a split squat as example of eccentric leg exercise

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Leg Workout

5 Eccentric Leg Exercises

Eccentric Staggered Squat

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and core.

Eccentric staggered squat - part of leg circuit workout

How To Do Eccentric Staggered Squats

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold dumbbells in both hands at your sides, palms facing in.
  2. Stagger your feet, so your right leg is slightly in front of your left foot. Kickstand your back left foot, left heel floating off the ground. Keep 80% of your weight in your front foot, 20% in your back left toe.
  3. Maintain a staggered stance as you perform a squat, slowly lowering the hips down until knees are bent at 90 degrees and thighs are parallel with the floor. In this variation, lower down on a three-count and hold at the bottom of your squat position for a second to increase time under tension. Drive your knees out toward your outer three toes.
  4. Drive through your front right heel to stand tall, squeezing your glutes and repeat.

Eccentric Split Lunges

Targets: Legs, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs and core.

two women performing eccentric split lunges as example of eccentric leg workout

How To Do Eccentric Split Lunges

  1. Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in.
  2. Step your left leg back into a reverse lunge, slowly lowering your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, front thigh parallel to the ground. In this variation, lower down on a three-count and hold at the bottom of your lunge for a second to increase time under tension.
  3. Then, press through your front right heel as you straighten your legs and stand tall. Feet remain in place.

Eccentric Sumo Deadlifts

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings back (posterior chain) and inner thighs.

Compared to a conventional deadlift, a sumo deadlift requires more hip and glute strength

two women performing eccentric deadlifts as part of leg circuit workout

How To Do Eccentric Sumo Deadlifts

  1. Stand with feet wider than hips (sumo squat stance, heels slightly in, toes slightly out).
  2. Hold one dumbbell in each hand between your legs; palms facing in toward each other.
  3. Hinge your hips back as you slowly lower the dumbbells in a straight line towards the ground. Think about pushing your hips and butt back towards the wall behind you as you glide the dumbbells down towards the mat. In this variation, lower down on a three-count and hold at the bottom of your deadlift for a second to increase time under tension.
  4. Then drive through your heels to push your hips forward, pulling the dumbbells back up towards your hips as you stand tall to return to starting position.

Fire Hydrant Lift and Kick

Targets: Gluteus maximus, hip abductors and core.

two women performing fire hydrant lifts as part of leg circuit workout

How To Do Fire Hydrant Lifts and Kicks

  1. Start in a table top position, quadruped on all fours, shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees. Option to place your forearms on the mat for more stability.
  2. Lift your right leg up and to the side so you create a straight line from glute to knee, keeping a 90-degree bend in your right knee.
  3. Hold at the top and straighten your right leg; kicking through your right heel.
  4. Pull your right foot back in to bend at the knee and create a 90-degree angle again.
  5. Then, slowly lower your right knee back down to the mat on a three-count, returning to starting position.

Modification: Omit the kick, just performing a fire hydrant lift.

Single Leg Glute Bridge and Calf Raise

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core and pelvic floor.

Two women performing glute bridges with calf raises as part of stronger 25 workout targeting the legs

How To Do Single Leg Glute Bridges and Calf Raises

  1. Option to place a resistance band around your thighs, six inches above your knees.
  2. Start laying on your back, feet hip-width apart, right foot planted on the floor and left foot extended straight overhead (ankle stacked over knee). Arms extended at your sides or arms straight overhead.
  3. Press through your right heel to lift your glutes off the mat on a three-count, squeezing your glutes as you lift. Think about keeping your core engaged and knees in line with your hips.
  4. At the top of your glute bridge, lift your right heel off the mat, balancing on your right toes (performing a calf raise on the right leg). Hold for a second.
  5. Exhale, slowly lowering your hips on a three-count to hover an inch above the mat, returning to starting position.

Modification: Perform a “B-Stance” Glute Bridge. Plant your right heel and step your left heel out slightly further away from your body, finding a staggered stance. Keep most of your weight in your right heel, left toes popped off the ground.

Stronger 25 Feature Image. Woman performing an oblique crunch and knee drive.

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2 comments
  1. I am loving the Strength in 25 series. More so then the 20 minute one. I am 71 and should refrain from deadlifts. Wondered if you have a substitute move. Thats my only restriction, Thanks!

    • Sandy! I’m so happy to hear you’re loving the Stronger 25 program!! A great alternative to deadlifts is: 1) Glute Bridges 2) Glute Bridge Hamstring Slides or Hamstring Roll Outs! I hope that helps and keep up the great work! -Lindsey