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[UPWOD Nº24] The Pummelhorse Leg Workout — Legs & Abs

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*UPWODs are Lean It UP’s Workout of the Day. For more info on UPWODs, how to do them effectively, and what they’re all about, read the introductory guide before starting.

**You can find all of our previous UPWODs here.

We’re back after a long Labor Day weekend. Consider this your power detox.

To get back into it, we’re unleashing a simple, muscle-blasting, fat-incinerating leg workout. UPWOD Nº24 is a quintessential leg workout that covers all of the basic power movements—squats, lunges, split squats—and pushes you to lift as much weight as possible.

Your goal is simple: Go big, go heavy, let the sweat pour off, and blast the life out of your muscle fibers.

You’ll tear up your quads and hammies, blast your butt, and unleash sweat waterfalls along the way; all en route to a perkier butt and stronger legs.

It then finishes with an ab-blasting core circuit. Run the circuit through 3 TIMES until your abs feel like they were punched in the gut by Mike Tyson. It’s total ab annihilation.

Jump in and get after it.



[UPWOD Nº24] The Pummelhorse Leg Workout

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The grey column provides substitute exercises that you can do in-home with resistance bands (RBs) and dumbbells so that everyone can blast through the UPWODs.

If you don’t have resistance bands, I use and recommend Black Mountain’s set. If you need dumbbells, I love the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells.

**Bonus info for each exercise:

  • 1. [SUPERSET] Barbell Squats + Barbell Calf Raises — do both exercises back-to-back.
  • 2. Dumbbell Lunges — standard lunges. Go heavy and aim for 12 reps/leg.
  • 3. Bulgarian Split Squats — keep the top of your foot anchored on a bench, chair, or platform. Your toe and knee should be roughly aligned in your front foot.
  • 4. Dumbbell Hip Thrusts — lie perpendicular to a bench. Place a dumbbell/kettlebell on your pelvis, dip your hips down, and then thrust all the way up. Hold and squeeze at the top for 1 second.
  • 5. Leg Press — standard machine leg press. Aim for 15 reps.
  • 6. Cable Crunches — do 15 reps down the center and then 12 reps to the left & right to hammer the obliques. SQUEEZE your abs at the bottom of each rep.
  • 7. [CIRCUIT SET] Planks + Bicycle Crunches + Ab V-Ups + Reverse Crunches + Side Planks + Oblique Scissor Crunches — do each exercise back-to-back as quickly as possible, without rest.

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Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
  • Cheka Chavez

    Hey Bryan, this workout looks great. I keep injuring my calf and am worried to do any leg routines at this time. Do you have any suggestions on how to 1 not injury myself and 2 build stronger calf muscles. Love the workouts. Keep em coming.

    • Hey Cheka — that’s weird, do you know what typically triggers your calf injuries? And how severe are we talking (tweak, sprain, tear, etcccc)?

      Three things that are really key: (1) make sure you form is on point, (2) make sure you’re not lifting more weight than you can handle, and (3) make sure you’re warming up pre-workout (I like cycling before legs).

      Other than that make sure you’re prioritizing calf and lower body mobility/flexibility; tight calves and hamstrings can trigger injuries. Stretching and foam rolling regularly helps there.

      As for calf exercises, here you go:

      • Cheka Chavez

        It’s always when I’m running trails. I’ve learned to stretch before and after. It’s taken patience and trail and error with recovery but I’m learning. I have a foam roller, need to use that more I admit. Just don’t know if my calves are weak and need to build strength or if they’re tight and need to loosen them up. Its frustrating. As soon as I get into a groove with my workouts and running, pop goes my calf. Had a ligament tear in my left calf last summer that took months to heal and now it’s my right calf I believe I just pulled again for the second time this year. Ugh.

        • That’s tough to assess without seeing you personally — it could be as simple as having weak calves or loose ligaments, or potentially lingering structural damage. If they’re really bothering you and it doesn’t seem to be getting better, it might be worth it to have an MRI just to be cautious.

          If that rules out structural damage, then it’s a matter of strengthening them — that’s where seated/standing calf raises come in. I also like hitting a stairmaster and stepping purely with my toes (the same goes for an incline treadmill).