Perform Leg Exercises to Build Muscle and Burn Fat

April 4, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

Must See Strength Training Videos

There's no question about it: working the lower body is hard, which is why many people ignore this crucial area of the body. If you fall into this category, you may be seriously hurting your ability to improve as an athlete and gain overall fitness.

The lower-body comprises several large muscle groups, including the glutes, quads and hamstrings. Working these muscles releases natural anabolic hormones, which help you build muscle everywhere in your body. Also, large muscles require more fuel to function, increasing your fat burning metabolism.

If you don't like working your lower body, try the two workouts below. They combine upper- and lower-body moves to deliver more benefits from the lifts and maximize your time in the gym. The exercises are not easy. You will feel the burn. However, they will build full-body strength and endurance, while helping you put on muscle and burn fat.


  • Do a dynamic warm-up beforehand
  • Rest 30-45 second between sets
  • Hydrate before, during and after workouts
  • Finish with a cooldown

Workout 1

Sets/Reps: 3x10

Single-Leg Squats With Arm Raises

  • Stand on your right leg with your arms extended in front of your chest
  • Perform a Squat and simultaneously raise your arms overhead
  • Hold the squat position for 10 seconds on the last rep
  • Repeat on your left leg without rest (watch a demonstration of the Single-Leg Squat0

Squat Thrusts and Explosive Push-Ups

  • Stand in an athletic position
  • Drop to push-up position and perform an explosive Push-Up by driving your body into the air
  • Land with soft elbows
  • Bring your feet your hands and stand up while driving your arms into the air

Step-Ups to Press-Ups

  • Place your right foot on a bench or box
  • Extend your right knee and hip to drive your body up
  • Drive your left knee up until your thigh is parallel to the ground and press your arms overhead
  • Lower to the ground in control
  • Repeat with your left leg on the box without rest

Workout 2

Sets/Reps: 2x10

Forward, Lateral and Reverse Lunges with Arm Circles

  • With your arms extended laterally at shoulder level, lunge forward, laterally and backward with your right foot while doing Arm Circles
  • Repeat with your left foot without rest

Burpees With Push-Ups

  • Stand in an athletic position
  • Drop to push-up position and perform a Push-Up
  • Stand up and perform a jump
  • Continue this pattern for specified reps

Bulgarian Split-Squats With Arms Overhead

  • Stand in a lunge or with your back foot on a bench or box
  • Hold your arms overhead
  • Bend your front knee to lower into a lunge until your thigh is parallel to the ground
  • Extend your knee to drive up out of the lunge

Wall Squats With Arms Overhead

  • Assume squat position with your back flat against a wall and your arms overhead
  • Hold this position for 60 seconds


Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Must See
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 6,471,296
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,322,363
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 9,261,291

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 66,647
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 5,931
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 124,090
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,506
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,206
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,831

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Have you tried every program on the planet, yet you still can't seem to build muscle? While it's possible you could be using a program not suited for...

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise