A Lower-Body Circuit Workout for Faster Strength Gains

Try this giant set lower-body workout from STACK Expert John Papp to build strength, muscle mass, and endurance.

Giant sets are one the quickest ways to get a high volume workout that builds strength, muscle mass and endurance. They pack a punch with four sets of eight exercises in a small, super intense time period.

If you tried my last giant sets workout for your upper body, you know what I'm talking about. This time around I'm giving you the other half of the equation—a full lower-body circuit workout using giant sets.

Start with a complete proper warm-up. Here is a short warm-up that will work perfectly.

Once you are warmed up, perform four sets of four lower-body exercises. Do not rest between exercises. Rest for 90 seconds after you complete a round of all four exercises. Repeat until you complete four rounds. Then rest and get your equipment ready, because you have four more rounds of new exercises coming your way.

Giant Set 1

Barbell Back Squat

Barbell Back Squat

  • Step under the bar in a rack and place the bar on your traps.
  • Pull your elbows forward so they are pointing to the floor.
  • Step out into position with your feet slightly wider than hip width.
  • Initiate the Squat by pushing your hips back as you squat down, as if you were sitting in a chair.
  • Continue to squat down until your thighs are completely parallel to the floor or just below parallel.
  • Power up out of the bottom of the Squat, squeezing your glutes as you return to the top.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x8

RELATED: Front Squat vs. Back Squat: What's the Better Choice for Athletes

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

  • Hold two dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing in toward your body.
  • Assume a hip-width stance with your knees slightly bent.
  • Hinge at the hip by pushing your hips straight back.
  • Keep the same bend in your knees throughout the movement.
  • Keeping a completely flat back, continue to hinge until your torso becomes parallel with the floor.
  • Reverse the motion and squeeze your glutes hard as you return to the top, making sure not to overextend backwards.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x10

RELATED: RDL Variations for Strength and Flexibility

Band Monster Walk

  • Mini-band version: Place a mini-band around your ankles and stand up with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Step laterally with one foot as far as you can and follow with your other foot.
  • Make sure to keep your toes straight throughout.
  • Repeat until you complete 10 reps with each leg.
  • Resistance band version: Step on a long resistance band with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Grab the other end and loop it into your hands (see video for visual instruction).
  • With your toes pointed straight ahead, take a lateral step and perform the same as with the mini-band.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x10

Rear-Foot-Elevated Squat Jump

  • Assume a lunge position with one foot placed up on a bench behind you.
  • Your front leg should be completely vertical.
  • Drop down into a Squat, touch your knee off the ground and explode up as high you can.
  • Land on the ball of your front foot and bend your knee to absorb the force.
  • Reps/Sets: 4x5 each side

Giant Set 2

Kettlebell Swing

Dumbbell Goblet Squat

  • Pick up a heavy dumbbell in a goblet hold, tight to the chest (see video for demonstration).
  • Squat down until your elbows touch your knees, then explode up out of the Squat.
  • As always, maintain a flat back and squeeze your glutes hard as you come up.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x10

Two-Arm Kettlebell Swing

  • Place a kettlebell on the floor behind your heels.
  • Hinge at the hip until you can reach back between your legs and grab the bell.
  • Explode your hips forward holding the kettlebell in your hands until you are standing completely straight. The bell should only go to the sternum, and all of its momentum should be generated from the hips, not the shoulders.
  • Let the bell swing back between your legs and repeat.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x12

Dumbbell Goblet Lateral Lunge

  • Hold a dumbbell in the goblet position against your chest.
  • Take a big step laterally, keeping your toes pointed straight and your feet flat.
  • Drop your hips down slightly, keeping your back straight, then explode out of the Lunge back to the center.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x6 each side

Tuck Jump

  • Jump up in the air as high as you possibly can and pull your knees to your chest.
  • Land on the balls of your feet and drop your butt down to absorb the force.
  • Sets/Reps: 4x8


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | LOWER BODY | LUNGE | CHEST | KETTLEBELL EXERCISES | WORKOUT PLAN | DUMBBELL EXERCISES | EXERCISES | WORKOUTS | RDL | DUMBBELLS | SWING | JUMPING | KETTLEBELL | KETTLEBELL SWING