Calisthenic Lower Body Workout

Today’s workout is a weight-free workout focussed on the lower body.

While loaded exercises for the lower body  are recommended (squats & deadlifts), I recognise this isn’t an available option for everyone all the time, and sometimes a bit of an out gym session can be great for you.

Requirements

  • A hill
  • Some sort of raised surface you can stand on and squat off,
  • a smaller raised surface for you to calf raise over

The Workout

Specific Warm Up – Jog to a hill for sprints, and jog up the hill and walk down until you feel warm.

A. 20-30 metre Hill Sprints – 6-12 sets. Walk back down the hill slowly for rest.

B1. Marching Glute Bridges – 3×5-8 each side.

B2. Pistol Squat / Shrimp Squat Progression – 3×5-8 each side.

C1. (High) Step Ups – 3×8+

C2. Bodyweight Hamstring Curls – 3×8+

D1. Walking Lunges – 2-4 x Alternating until 1-3 reps short of failure.

D2. Single or Double Leg Calf Raises – 2-4 x 1-3 reps short of failure (each side for SL).

Notes:

  • The sprinting is meant to be high-quality high-intensity, and the aim is to maintain that quality. Pick a distance and gradient that you can maintain the speed and quality of your sprint. Between sprints, rest long enough to keep that quality high.
  • The glute bridges are meant to stimulate your glutes which are often under-utilised in lower body exercises for a lot of people. Do not do these to fatigue, keep them fresh. If this is not your weakness, feel free to substitute it for an exercises that targets your weaknesses.
  • Keep the step ups in the 8-12 range as you work on progressing the height, but if you’re already at the maximum height for your step up as your mobility allows, feel free to break that rep ceiling and work at whatever range you need to get to within 1-3 reps of failure.
  • Similar for hamstring curls, do what you can to progress in the 8-12 range, but if you are at a limit, feel free to go beyond 12.

Progressions:

  • Sprinting should be firstly progressed by adding speed, then sets and increasing the volume this way. Once you’re doing about 12 sets, then you may consider finding a slightly steeper or longer hill, and dropping back down to 6 sets.
  • Glute bridges should not be progressed, as the aim is not fatigue.
  • Step ups are progressed by adding height, then reps, then if you want, holding something heavy.
  • I’ve linked a set of progressions for hamstring curls and pistols/shrimps.
  • Lunges and calf raises are primarily progressed by adding reps, but you can also consider holding a small weight.
  • While all these exercises are intensified by wearing a weight vest, I personally would not wear the vest for sprinting.

Regressions:

  • If you are not up to some of the single leg progressions I’ve listed, firstly, consider that this program might not suit your level, and think about some full-body programming.
  • If you still want to charge ahead, I would move the lunges from the end to replace the pistol/shrimp, and replace the lunges with high rep squats. All the other exercises choose an easy enough progression to hit the rep goals.