DeLeon has tried every leg-and-glute workout under the sun, and crafted countless such workouts herself. So when she anoints this as her favorite such workout ever, you can be sure it’s defeated some stiff competition in earning those props.
After beginning with straight sets for two exercises, the workout pivots to three superset pairings. All told, the workout should take roughly 60 minutes to complete. Perform this workout weekly or occasionally, as a way to shock your legs when they need it.
Whereas most leg workouts start with quads, DeLeon does something different.
“I love starting a solid leg day with a hamstring-dominant exercise to really get my hamstrings warmed up,” she says.
Hold the contraction for a second and release the weight slowly. This helps maximize the effectiveness of each rep.
Barbell Hip Thrust
After your hamstrings have been warmed up and pre-exhausted, barbell hip thrusts shift the focus a little above the hamstrings.
“I love this exercise because it’s truly a glute-isolating exercise,” says DeLeon.
If having the bar directly on you is uncomfortable, place a pad in the middle of it for cushioning. Although the move appears simple, make sure you perform this with proper form. You’ll know you’re doing it right if those glutes are burning.
Superset: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift and Lying Banded Hamstring Curl
The focus on this first superset remains the back of the thighs. On the RDLs, focus on your hamstrings and glutes, rather than your lower back, moving the weight. If the weight you choose doesn’t allow such focus, switch to lighter dumbbells.
When you lie down to begin the band curls, make sure you’re far enough away from the anchor point that you can still feel tension on the band.
Superset: Leg Extension and Goblet Squat (Heels Elevated)
Now the focus shifts to your quads. On leg extensions, focus on maintaining a steady tempo. If the move is ballistic, you risk damaging your knees.
For goblet squats, use 10-pound plates to elevate your heels.
Superset: Bulgarian Split Squat and Step-Up Heel Drop
For the final superset, the focus becomes unilateral movements. These ensure that your legs are equally strong and developed. For the split squat, use a bench or a box for your lead leg and then stabilize your trailing leg. Achieve as deep a stretch as possible at the bottom of the move.
As for the step-up heel drop, DeLeon prefers this version to more popular alternatives.
“I like this exercise over a traditional step-up,” she says, “because it truly works my isolating leg by not allowing my non-working leg to push off the ground, since I’m only tapping that heel down.”