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Solid Foundations Workout Program: Lower Body Workout With Dumbbells At Home

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There’s a big difference between a lower body workout and a leg workout

In a leg workout the target area is (unsurprisingly), the legs. In a lower body workout, we include everything from the chest down. We’re hitting the core. We’re hitting the glutes, the hips AND we’re hitting the legs.

It’s an important distinction because a lower body workout is more about strength and performance than bodybuilding. 

In the Solid Foundations program, I’m going to share with you a variety of different lower body exercises across two workouts. It’ll be a complimentary mix of strength and power training that will improve athletic performance, injury resistance and build muscle across the entire lower body.

The exercises are designed to be performed with basic gym equipment, so are all possible in a home gym.

A person working out with a heavy barbell

Lower Body Workout Infographic

Solid Foundations Workout Program: Improve your strength, power, and performance in 8 weeks

A good lower body workout doesn’t just benefit your legs. The crossover benefits are huge, meaning you’ll enhance your cardiovascular capability, your upper body muscle and your functional fitness (more on this in a second).

Here are just three of the many benefits you’ll experience by following the Solid Foundations lower body workout plan.

Benefits of lower body workout

Benefit 1: Your functional fitness will improve significantly

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In many cases (anecdotally I’ve noticed this in people who follow bodybuilding programs), that weak link is the lower back. If you train for form (what you look like) rather than function (how you move and perform), you run the risk of leaving a body part behind.

A good lower body workout like this will also strengthen the lower back and core, meaning you won’t have any weak links and will be functionally fit, improving your strength and force generation in multiple different areas.

Benefit 2: Your training will be more efficient

In a lower body workout rather than a leg workout, you’re ticking more boxes in each session. By training a variety of muscles in different movement patterns, you help a larger area every session. That’s not all though – through a process called irradiation, you ‘spread’ muscle contraction by training general areas.

In practice, this means as you work on, say, the glutes, you’ll also train your hips, lower abs, lower back etc. This has been observed clinically and in the labs, as shown in this 2012 study from Brazilian researchers.

Benefit 3: The physical benefits will be balanced

This might seem like a strange benefit on the face of things… What does it even mean?!

In a bodybuilding program, the aim is to maximize muscle growth – other elements such as stability, movement etc are neglected. In a strength program the aim is to maximize strength. Power and endurance are neglected.

In the Solid Foundations program, we’re aiming to improve a wide variety of capabilities – strength, power, stability, muscle size and muscle endurance across a number of different muscle groups. We’re leaving no lower body stone unturned!

5 Steps to maximize the effectiveness of the Solid Foundations Program

Any program is only as good as its execution, so in this section I’m going to give you a thorough guide to using these workouts to improve your lower body strength and conditioning. 

Use this as your template for the program…

Step 1: Follow the program 3 times per week

There are two different lower body workouts in the program, a strength workout and a power workout.

I want you to alternate them with at least a day of rest between workouts. I’m happy for you to train your upper body on the days off – just don’t do any additional lower body work. You’ll be training 5 days per week, allowing a couple of rest days.

You should perform each of the lower body workouts 3 times across a fortnight. With a three times per week schedule, it’ll mean you perform one of the workouts twice one week, then once the other and vice versa.

Here’s how I suggest you split your training fortnight when following the Solid Foundations Program…

Week 1

Monday: Solid Foundations Strength Workout

Tuesday: Upper Body Workout

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Solid Foundations Power Workout

Friday: Upper Body Workout

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Solid Foundations Strength Workout

Week 2

Monday: Upper Body Workout

Tuesday: Solid Foundations Power Workout

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Solid Foundations Strength Workout

Friday: Upper Body Workout

Saturday: Solid Foundations Power Workout

Sunday: Rest

Of course, this is just a guide – do as you think is best for you.

A person performing back squats with a heavy barbell

Step 2: On the power day, focus on movement quality over maximizing weight

When it comes to power development, all of the best research shows us that the emphasis should be on selecting a load that allows speed and quality of movement. This goes against some of the old advice that ‘heavier is better’. 

Gregory Haff and Naoki Kawamori published a review in 2004 on the research around power development. They concluded that:

Individual load is more important than the sets, reps and rest periods when it comes to power development.

What this means is that the load that works best for you will be individual – it won’t always be a given percentage of your 1 rep max.

Although there’s no exact load to enhance power the most, Spanish research from 2017 suggests anywhere between 30 and 50% of 1 rep max is best for power development.

Step 3: Strength day is all about load!

Where on power day we care more about the speed and execution of lifts, on the strength day we want to lift the most weight we can. This doesn’t mean we compromise on the form, but it means we want to push ourselves to a limit.

On the strength days you should be lifting a weight that makes you really struggle on the final reps on a set. If you finish a set thinking that you had 2-3 reps left in you, then you didn’t lift heavy enough and need to increase the weight on the bar by 2-5%. Aim to increase by this much each week.

I’m not suggesting you need to reach a point where you can’t physically lift a weight any more, but I want you to be reaching the point where you couldn’t perform another technically good lift without resorting to compromised form.

Step 4: Practice the movement and load differences on the days

The workouts are different for a reason, and when you look at the rep ranges in more detail you’ll notice it…

Workout 1: Strength

In the strength workout, you’re typically working around the 5-8 rep range. This means the weights will be higher than similar movement patterns on the power days.

Rest periods will be longer as well. There’s no ‘set’ rest time – just rest as long as you need to in order to be ready for the next set.

Lower Body ExerciseSetsReps
1. Back Squats45
2. Front Squats46
3. Deadlifts55
4. Farmers Walks250 yards
5. Lunges416 (8 per leg)
6. Split Squats312 (6 per leg)
7. Trap Bar Deadlifts45
8. Hip Thrusts56
9. Barbell Roll Outs28

Workout 2: Power

The power workout contains more reps, which means the loads will be lighter in each set. Here we’re looking to maximize speed of movement and force generation. 

This workout might ‘feel’ tougher in the sense that localized muscle fatigue will be greater and you’ll be more out of breath, but they complement one another.

Lower Body ExerciseSetsReps
10. Power cleans46
11. Dumbbell Jump Squats310
12. Box Jumps310
13. Plyometric Lunges420 (10 per leg)
14. Kettlebell Swings512
15. Landmine Rotations48
16. Stiff Legged Deadlifts212 
17. Prowler Sprint Push (Bonus)350 yards

Step 5: Get your warm up right

You may have noticed on other programs that I’m not into overly complicated warmups. I believe the effort and energy should be saved for the workout itself. The goal of the warm up is to prepare you for the work ahead.

Lower Body Warm Up

The Solid Foundations Workout Program warm up is as follows…

5 minutes lower body cardio – think running, cycling/airbike, rowing, skipping. 

Then with an empty barbell, perform 2 sets of 10 of the following movements…

  • Back Squats
  • Front Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Good Mornings
  • Lunges

This will take around 10 minutes to complete.

Start each exercise in the workout with 2-3 reps on a very light weight, before performing the lower body exercise with the correct weight. These first 2-3 reps with a light weight don’t count as reps toward your total.

Each workout will take 60-70 minutes to complete when done correctly.

Notes on the Solid Foundation program design

I mentioned at the top of the article that one of the fundamental differences between a ‘leg’ workout and a lower body workout is the intent with which the exercises are added. 

In this lower body workout, we’re targeting everything from the abs and below. That’s on the front and back of the body.

Lower Body Muscles

We’re working a variety of different muscle groups through different rep ranges and movement patterns. Our focus here isn’t purely on growing muscle – that’s a secondary benefit of the quality and intensity of the training.

Instead what we’re looking to achieve is to improve the strength, power, stability, and endurance of the legs. That’s why we include two different workouts in the program, so we can cover the different bases. It means we can keep a different focus each time, allowing us to maximize results.

Strength vs Power Workouts

It’s also sensible from a practicality and recovery point of view – to perform a workout consisting of so many sets and reps in one go would take hours, plus you’d need an age to recover each time. Not only that, the workout quality would be non-existent. 

You’ll notice on the power workout there’s a prowler sprint push, with the word ‘bonus’ written next to it.

That’s a bonus exercise if you have access to a prowler. If you haven’t, don’t worry – you’ve still managed a great workout!

Solid Foundations Workout – what equipment you’ll need

In order to perform the program without any tweaks or changes, here’s what you’ll need. It’s designed to be as home gym friendly as possible, so none of this equipment list is too extreme…

Remember for the prowler and farmer’s walks you’re going to need enough space to manage 50 yards of movement. That doesn’t mean you need 50 yards in a straight line – two lengths of the 25 is fine!

A gym featuring a prowler and a wide workout space

Solid Foundations Program – the workouts

As mentioned, there are two workouts in the solid Foundations program – a strength workout and a power workout, performed across a two-week cycle. Here are the lower body exercises across the two workouts…

Workout 1: Strength

You know the drill here – big exercises, big weights. Focus on building strength by training to technical failure every set. Rest long enough between sets to feel fully refreshed ahead of the next one.

Lower Body ExerciseSetsReps
1. Back Squats45
2. Front Squats46
3. Deadlifts55
4. Farmers Walks250 yards
5. Lunges416 (8 per leg)
6. Split Squats312 (6 per leg)
7. Trap Bar Deadlifts45
8. Hip Thrusts56
9. Barbell Roll Outs28

Lower Body Strength Workout Infographic part 1

1. Back Squats

The back squat is arguably the most functional and important leg exercise of them all. It works the quads through a huge range, allows you to lift a lot of weight and is excellent for progression – you’ll add a lot of weight onto the bar quickly with this program. It’s also a pretty simple exercise to perform.

Equipment needed for back squats:

How to do a back squat:

  • Place the bar across the upper back – not the neck
  • Take a breath in and engage the core – this keeps the lower back safer
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Drive feet into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required

REP PR-4000 Power Rack

REP-PR-4000 Power Rack
Read our best squat rack guide here

Looking for an affordable yet high quality power rack?

Look no further!

After comparing over 100 types of squat racks the PR-4000 came out on top.

You can add any attachment to it (including cables, dip bars and plate holders). You can even add additional uprights to back to make it even more of a beast!

The 1 inch westside hole spacing means you can position the spotter arms to the ideal height when you bench press. So you can safely drop the bar and have a full range of motion when you lift.

And the 3×3″ 11 gauge steel make this the best value rack we could find.

Note: check out our squat alternatives if you want more exercise ideas for the same muscle groups.

2. Front Squats

Front squats are the squatting pattern that I feature most in my own training and that of my personal training clients. It is fantastic for building leg strength, has excellent athletic cross over and it spares the lower back more than back squats. Front squats may protect the knees slightly more than back squats, ideal when you’re doing a lower body program!

Equipment needed for barbell front squats:

How to do a barbell front squat:

  • Hold the bar in the rack position – open hand grip, elbows up, chest up
  • Take a breath in and engage the core – this keeps the lower back safer
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Drive feet into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required.

Rogue Ohio Cerakote Bar

Rogue Ohio Bar Cerakote
Read our best Olympic barbell guide here

This is the bar that we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 120 hours of research and tested over 100 barbells.

It is affordable but comes with some high specs. The Rogue Work Hardening and 190k PSI tensile strength mean the bar will last a lifetime in a home gym.

It is a multi-purpose bar with a 28.5mm diameter shaft and composite bushings in the sleeves. This means it’s balanced for heavy slow bench presses but you can also perform snatches and fast overhead lifts.

3. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are the ultimate hinge movement. They’re a foundation human movement with huge crossover into other patterns and physical abilities. Used properly, they can build strength, reduce injury risk and offer huge variety to a program. Deadlifts are often seen as the king of exercises, and it’s a claim with plenty of support.

Equipment needed for deadlifts:

How to do deadlifts:

  • Assume an overhand or alternating grip on the bar, about shoulder width apart
  • Bend your legs, keep your back straight and your chest up
  • Drive through your legs, keeping your arms straight as you lift – this will lift the bar to hip height
  • At the top of the movement squeeze the glutes together and push the hips forward slightly
  • Reverse the movement on the way down – start by pushing the hips back and lowering the weight down by bending your legs, keeping your chest up and back straight throughout
  • Repeat as many times as required

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plate
Read our best bumper plates guide here

Bumper plates are ideal for a home gym.

They can last a lifetime and allow you to do additional lifts which require you to drop the bar.

Our team has compared over 100 types and the Rogue Fleck plates came out on top.

They are great value, use color allowing you to quickly see how much you’re lifting and the pattern will give your home gym a unique look.

4. Farmer’s walks

The dumbbell farmer’s walk is a simple yet very effective lower body exercise. It’s an exercise that engages the entire core, legs and lower back. The dumbbells should pull the torso forwards, so the lower back and spinal erectors have to work to keep the torso upright, which is effectively what back extensions are doing – working to make the torso upright. A perfect addition to a lower body workout program.

Equipment needed for farmers walks:

How to do farmers walks:

  • Hold a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand
  • Stand up, keeping the weight on either side with a straight arm
  • Keeping your back straight and your core tight, walk in a straight line for a given distance (minimum 20 yards)
  • Turn around and walk back
  • Repeat as many times as necessary
  • If this is too easy, either use heavier weights or walk a longer distance

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Adjustable Dumbbells

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Classic
Read our best adjustable dumbbell guide here

These are the dumbbells we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 50 hours of research and compared over 100 dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells make sense for most home gyms as they save space.

The Nüobell dumbbells go all the way to 80lbs per hand. This means they are much more versatile than most 50lbs adjustable dumbbells. You can use these for heavy shrugs, squats and bench press etc.

The main reason they are the top pick is because of their shape. They actually feel like real dumbbells and are not awkward to lift like some others.

5. Lunges

Lunges are a fantastic quad and glute exercise. They’re unilateral, meaning both legs are trained the same. They’re functional (one of the 7 human movements). They’re easy to set up, easy to learn and super effective. In this version we repeat the reps on each leg, unlike the alternating or walking version where we swap sides between lunges. It makes for a tough exercise!

Equipment needed for lunges:

How to do lunges:

  • Take the barbell and place it across your upper back
  • Keep your chest up and your core tight
  • Lunge forward, so you have one foot in front of your body and one behind
  • Keeping your chest upright, bend the front and back leg at the same time
  • When the back knee almost touches the floor, pause and straighten both legs
  • Repeat as many times as necessary, THEN swap sides

Lower Body Strength Workout Infographic part 2

6. Split squats

The rear foot elevated split squats allow for great squat depth, plus the single-limb nature of the exercise reduces strength imbalances between limbs. It’s a great way to focus a lot of work on the glutes, taking weight off the lower back. This is a lower body exercise that will really challenge you, so start lighter than you think you’ll need to and build up from there.

Equipment needed for rear foot elevated split squats:

How to do rear foot elevated split squats:

  • Place the back foot on the bench behind you and hop your front foot ahead
  • Hold the dumbbells at your sides and engage the core
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, bend your back knee towards the floor and lower the front thigh until it reaches parallel to the floor
  • Drive front foot into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required.

REP AB-3000 Bench

REP AB-3000 Weight Bench
Read our best weight bench guide here

This is the weight bench we recommend for ‘most people’.

We compared over 70 benches against 12 criteria. This is our highest-ranked flat, incline & decline (FID) bench.

Some adjustable benches can be a bit wobbly when on the incline. But the AB-3000 is very sturdy.

With a height 18mm it’s comparable to benches that cost twice as much.

7. Trap Bar Deadlifts

The trap bar deadlift takes out much of the leg work here, directing most of the load to your lower back, core, glutes and hips. This is an advantage in a lower body workout like this one, because it gives your legs a chance to rest and recover after the work they’ve already done. Thanks to the mechanical advantage of being in the ‘middle’ of the bar, you can lift a lot of weight with the trap bar.

Equipment needed for trap bar deadlifts:

How to do trap bar deadlifts:

  • Stand in the middle of the hexagon, holding the handles directly in line with the weight sleeves
  • Bend your legs, keep your back straight and your chest up
  • Drive through your legs, keeping your arms straight as you lift – this will lift the bar to hip height
  • At the top of the movement squeeze the glutes together and push the hips forward slightly
  • Reverse the movement on the way down – start by pushing the hips back and lowering the weight down by bending your legs, keeping your chest up and back straight throughout
  • Repeat as many times as required

8. Hip Thrust/Hinge

The hip thrust is a great glute exercise, combining the purest elements of hip flexion and extension with the ability to increase weight significantly. It’s a direct glute exercise, easy to perform and doesn’t require much in the way of equipment or technique. As glute exercises go, it’s one of the very best.

Equipment needed for hip thrusts:

How to do hip thrusts:

  • With your back and shoulders on the bench and feet flat on the floor, place the barbell on your lap
  • Drive the barbell up using your glutes until you’ve reached full hip extension.
  • Pause at the top, then slowly lower your hips down.
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

9. Barbell Roll Outs

The barbell roll out is an advanced abdominal exercise that is used for creating anti-extension strength in the trunk. It’s an excellent exercise for allowing both the abdominals and lower back to work together, just as they would when lifting. As an exercise it’s easy to progress by simply extending the range of movement.

Equipment needed for barbell roll outs:

How to do barbell roll outs:

  • Start on your knees, with your hands on the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  • Keeping your core and lower back tight, lean forward with straight arms, allowing the barbell to roll out in front of you
  • Extend the arms away from you, almost ‘pushing’ the bar in front
  • Keep going until you reach a point where you can’t maintain a straight back if you go any further – if your lower back ‘sags’, you’ve gone too far
  • Using your abdominals and keeping your arms straight, pull the bar back to the starting position
  • Repeat as many times as required

This is the whole strength workout. As mentioned, keep the weights high without compromising form. You should be pushing yourself to a limit here every workout – that’s how real strength is built…

Workout 2: Power

This one is more about focusing on achieving the maximum effort and contraction with each rep. These lower body exercises are explosive, they’re powerful and they’re designed to help you develop a lot of force. Maximize the effort in each exercise by keeping the weights on the lower side (with the exception of the power cleans), but the effort on the high side!

10. Power cleans46
11. Dumbbell Jump Squats310
12. Box Jumps310
13. Plyometric Lunges420 (10 per leg)
14. Kettlebell Swings512
15. Landmine Rotations48
16. Stiff Legged Deadlifts212 
17. Prowler Sprint Push (Bonus)350 yards

Lower Body Power Workout Infographic part 1

10. Power cleans

The power clean is a less technical version of the full clean (sometimes known as a ‘squat clean’ in CrossFit, much to the chagrin of weightlifters worldwide!). It’s a way of building serious all-body power, with a particular emphasis on the legs, lower back and glutes. It’s also a movement with huge athletic crossover. It’s an exercise that builds both strength and power generation capacity in one movement.

Equipment needed for power cleans:

How to do power cleans:

  • Load your bar and stand centrally. Assume an overhand (or even better, hook) grip
  • Bend your legs, keep your back straight and your chest up
  • Drive through your legs, keeping your arms straight – this will lift the bar to hip height
  • When the bar reaches hip height, pull the bar to chest height, driving your elbows underneath and ‘through’ the bar
  • As you’re doing this, ‘drop’ under the bar into a quarter squat position – you should ‘catch’ the bar with bent legs to absorb some of the weight
  • Stabilize the bar at chest height, with your upper arms parallel to the floor and your elbows pointing directly in front of you (this is known as the rack position)
  • Stand up to finish the movement
  • Drop the bar to the floor (only if you have bumper plates!)
  • Repeat as many times as required

11. Dumbbell Jump Squats

The dumbbell jump squat is a safe and effective way to build explosive power in the lower body. It’s also excellent for building knee stability, because the knees have to work hard to control the descent of the body’s mass (and that of the dumbbells) on the way down. Make sure you keep the weight in a low-medium range so you don’t fatigue yourself too quickly.

Equipment needed for dumbbell jump squats:

How to do dumbbell jump squats:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand
  • Stand bolt upright, initiating the movement by driving the hips back
  • Lower yourself into a deep squat, until your thighs break parallel with the floor
  • Keeping your chest up, drive your feet into the floor powerfully, forcing the jump
  • When you land, absorb the impact with your knees bent, lower back down
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

12. Box Jumps

I like the box jump because it’s super simple. It trains power, explosiveness and coordination, requires little technique and equipment, plus it has HUGE athletic carryover. Jumping is such a useful movement to maintain as well, because it’s an ability you either use or lose. By staying bouncy and explosive, you’ll perform much better long into your advanced years!

Equipment needed for box jumps:

  • A plyo box, plyo table or bench

How to do box jumps:

  • Set the box/table/bench into position and stand a few inches behind it
  • Keep your chest up, then bend down into a deep squat
  • Drive your feet hard into the floor and explode into a jump, propelling you forward and into the air
  • Land on the box with two feet flat
  • When you’ve landed, stand up to make the landing deliberate – don’t rush to jump down
  • Step down one leg at a time (don’t jump backwards – it’s a pointless risk)
  • Repeat as necessary 

13. Plyometric Lunges

The plyometric lunge is a functional exercise that builds single-leg power and strength. It’s another movement with great sports carryover, plus it involves the quads, glutes, calf muscles and challenges balance. It’s a true all-round lower body exercise and one that is perfectly at home in this program.

Equipment needed for plyometric lunges:

  • None

How to do plyometric lunges:

  • Assume a deep lunge position, with your torso upright
  • Drive off both legs at the same time, lifting your body in the air
  • When in the air, switch the front and back legs around, so your back leg becomes the lead leg and vice versa
  • Land with bent knees
  • Repeat as many times as required

Lower Body Power Workout Infographic part 2

14. Kettlebell Swings

The kettlebell swing is another incredible hip hinge exercise. It’s a way of generating a lot of force and engaging the entire posterior chain in a single movement. I like it in this context because it allows emphasis on the eccentric contraction of the hamstrings and the movement comes from the hips (and a tiny amount of knee flexion). Another general lower body exercise that is perfect for this program.

Equipment needed for kettlebell swings:

  • Kettlebell

How to do kettlebell swings:

  • Hold the kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip
  • Keeping your back straight, tilt your hips back and drive them forward using your glutes – this puts momentum into the kettlebell
  • At the top of the swing, squeeze your glutes together hard
  • Keep your legs mostly straight throughout the whole exercise – the only joints to move a lot are the hip and shoulders
  • Keeping your back and legs straight throughout, build momentum with each swing until you’re reaching chest height with the kettlebell
  • Repeat as many times as required

Note: the kettlebell swing is an exercise liked and performed by many. However, if you don’t have kettlebells at your disposal, be sure to check out our kettlebell swing alternatives, and switch it up with an adequate alternative.

15. Landmine rotations

Any comprehensive lower body workout program must contain some core work. In this program we have already included isometric contractions and stability training, but this is where we add an extra dimension – rotation work. This is a fundamental aspect of core strength so it cannot be ignored.

Equipment needed for landmine rotations:

  • Barbell
  • Landmine attachment (optional)

How to do landmine rotations:

  • Stand upright, leaning slightly forward and holding on to the barbell with both hands
  • With the arms extended fully throughout the movement, rotate to the side
  • Only allow the trunk to rotate – keep the hips stable and knees pointing forwards
  • As soon as you reach a point where your arms cannot go any further without your hips following, pause and return to the starting point
  • Repeat on the other side
  • When you have done both sides, that’s one rep

16. Stiff legged deadlifts

The stiff legged deadlift is one of my favorite hamstring exercises because it combines the eccentric contraction of the hamstrings with a lot of weight. It means you can load the muscles well, whilst benefiting a lot of the other muscles around it. It’s also a simple and safe way to lift if you have a decent deadlift technique.

Equipment needed for stiff legged deadlifts:

How to do stiff legged deadlifts:

  • Hold the barbell with the grip of your choice (I prefer overhand)
  • Deadlift the bar into your starting position, which is where you’re holding the barbell with straight arms
  • Keeping your back and legs straight, tilt your hips back as your torso starts to point towards the floor
  • Keep pushing your hips back, with your legs straight as you lower the bar towards the floor
  • As you feel your hamstrings stretch fully, pause for a second and push the hips forward and lift the bar back to the starting position
  • At the top of the movement squeeze the glutes together
  • Repeat as many times as required

Note: check out our hyperextension alternatives if you want more exercise ideas on how to develop your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles.

17. Prowler push (the bonus one!)

Usually the word ‘bonus’ is associated with something good… but anyone who has done a prowler push knows how horrible (in a good way) they are!

It’s a repeated single leg movement, it requires flexion and extension at the knee, it forces glute activation and it’s adjustable in terms of weight, distance and technique. Additionally, it’s an exercise that uses only concentric muscle contraction so rarely causes DOMS. All you need is a flat space to push the sled – turf or asphalt is perfect.

Equipment needed for prowler pushes:

How to do prowler pushes:

  • Get yourself low on the prowler – your chest should be pointing to the floor
  • Keep your arms ramrod straight – any arm bend reduces power transfer to the prowler
  • Drive forward, keeping your chest low and your arms straight
  • Maintain a fast leg turnover to keep forward momentum in the prowler – if you slow down or stop, it’s tough to get moving again!

And that concludes the power workout. If you do it properly, this is a very tough workout. There’s a lot of variety, a lot of challenge and you should expect to be jelly-legged several times throughout this! Go hard though – your legs will thank you in the end!

Solid foundations – a few bonus tips

Lower body workout bonus tips

A little extra help to get you the most from the lower body workouts here…

  1. Don’t add any extra abdominal work to your program

These workouts contain enough abdominal work for your entire week. Don’t worry about doing any more – what you have got here is plenty.

  1. Eat properly

As always, until told otherwise, eat to fuel these workouts. These aren’t fat loss programs. They’re performance programs, so eat to work out hard.

  1. Don’t combine the workouts

These are big workouts in their own right. Don’t combine them – you’ll spend a LONG time in the gym and even longer recovering afterwards!

  1. Keep your upper body days strictly upper body!

You probably won’t need any encouragement on this one, but just to avoid any doubt, days off the lower body workouts are sacred! They’re rest days for everything below your chest!

  1. Stay consistent over the 8 weeks

If you want to achieve excellent results from any lower body workout program, you have to stay consistent. I suggest hitting this for 8 weeks in the first block, which means you’ll go through 24 workouts. Take a week off, recover and reassess. Promise yourself you’ll be consistent though, because without it nothing else will happen.

The Solid Foundations Program: The bottom line

You can’t fluke a strong and explosive lower body. It takes work, effort, and dedication. You’ll need all of those qualities in abundance if you want to get the most out of this lower-body workout approach.

It’s a comprehensive program, it’ll demand a lot from you but the results will be absolutely worth it.

You’ll have most of the equipment you need already if not all of it. Save the workouts, set your schedule, get into the gym and get busy. You’ve got a lower body to build…

Check out our upper body workout to complement this one.

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Steve Hoyles is a certified personal trainer and gym owner. Since graduating with his Sports Science degree in 2004 he's worked in the fitness industry, helping thousands of people reach their health and fitness goals. His writing has been read by millions of people in over 200 countries as he inspires to help as many people as possible live a healthy lifestyle.

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