For strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and calves, while keeping the thighs svelte, we recommend one of these HIIT leg workouts with weights.
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a training style where you alternate bursts of high-intensity exercise (think sprinting, rope jumping, or jogging up the stairs), with brief rest periods. You alternate between exercise and rest pretty rapidly, which means your heart doesn’t have time to slow down. Your heart rate stays elevated and you keep burning calories!
A common format for HIIT workouts is 40 seconds of exercise, followed by 20 seconds of rest. This can vary greatly, however, and any workout where you have high-intensity bursts followed by rest can be considered HIIT.
HIIT has greatly grown in popularity in recent years because it’s great for getting that strong-yet-lean look. As we mentioned above, when doing HIIT your heart rate stays elevated, meaning you’re torching calories. Yet many of the exercises performed during HIIT involve strength training.
This combination means you’re both putting on muscle and getting rid of fat. It’s a total body transformation! Check out these 5 Reasons to Start HIIT.
Try it out yourself with these insane lower-body HIIT workouts using weights!
With plenty of jumping squats, and lunges, this fat-burning lower body HIIT workout is the perfect way to challenge your leg muscles and cardiovascular endurance.
Exercises like squats and lunges are great for burning calories because they activate your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, which are some of the largest muscles in the human body. The bigger the muscle, the more energy it uses up. Therefore, activating these large muscles burns more calories.
Well, we already know that activating the glutes and thigh muscles is a great way to burn calories. Now, you can drive up that calorie-burn with plyometric exercises!
Plyometric exercises are explosive jumping moves. You’ll go from a stable stance (such as a squat or lunge) and jump up into the air. Even just two or three reps into these moves, you’ll notice your heart beating faster and your muscles getting tired.
Plyometric moves are ideal for total body transformations because they torch fat while building lean muscle, which in turn raises your metabolism all day long. Try it out for yourself with this workout!
Dumbbells aren’t the only way to add weights to a workout. This lower body kettlebell routine is an amazing muscle-builder.
Similar to a dumbbell, kettlebells are easy to use, versatile, and come in a variety of weights. Their shape however, makes them easy to grab from the floor and swing.
They’ve become popular in the fitness world as a fun and useful alternative to regular dumbbells, and many trainers will use them to train both lower and upper body at the same time. You can get started with this interval routine that uses all kinds of kettlebell moves.
Other than dumbbells and kettlebells, you can intensify your workout using resistance bands. Resistance bands are some of the simplest, most versatile gym equipment. They’re a great alternative if you want to work out at home, because they’re inexpensive and take up almost no room at all.
For this workout, you’ll use bands to add resistance to donkey kicks, leg raises, lateral walks, and squats. You’ll be surprised at how much harder a workout is with these little bands.
Now this workout is specifically for the booty. It shifts the focus away from the thighs and calves, and onto the glutes. You can do anywhere from 1 to 5 rounds of this quick 5-minute routine.
Fit it in at the end of leg day to give those butt muscles a little extra oomph! Or do a super quick round on your cardio day or rest day. At just 5 minutes, you can do this workout anytime!
Although this workout is also great for the booty, it does have moves that help strengthen the quads and hamstrings. Stronger thighs mean more shapely legs, and they usually go along with a firm, round butt, so don’t be afraid to target those thighs.
This workout uses a light set of dumbbells to add some difficultly to lower body moves. You’ll be doing variations of lunges, squats, kickbacks, and leg raises.
And this final booty workout is here to make all your shapely rear end dreams a reality. It begins with pulse squats, which quickly get your butt and thigh muscles burning. Continue with weighted half squats, step-ups, and side-lunges.
Finally, (as if that weren’t enough) wrap things up with box jumps. The box jump is a challenging move that hikes up your heart rate fast!
Just make sure to use a box that’s at the right level. It’s easy to injure yourself if you miss the jump, so when it comes to box jumps, play it safe and go for a smaller box. You’ll still burn just as many calories!
Try out one of these workouts (or try them all!) and let us know in the comments what you think of HIIT. For a total-body transformation, follow along to our interval training calendar, 30-Day HIIT Makeover. In one month, you can use the power of HIIT to become stronger, fitter, and leaner!