Leg Day Workout: PT, Runs, Sprints, Hills and Mobility

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Airmen perform flutter kicks in Alaska.
Members of the 354th Maintenance Group perform flutter kicks during Fit Flag at Baker Field House at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 24, 2012. (Staff Sgt. Jim Araos/U.S. Air Force photo)

Adding a leg day to your workout can be as logistically simple as doing a 5x5 set/reps of squats and leg machines in the weight room, or as challenging as the below list of lower-body exercises, which are performed across multiple venues.

This is not your typical leg day. This particular workout is designed to present the types of challenges that the tactical athlete will face, as well as provide a much-needed recovery session to assist with flexibility and mobility after a long leg workout.

2.5-mile easy run: Our local group has this particular distance built into our program. We train about this distance away from a really tough quarter-mile hill. Build up from whatever your “warmup” run distance may be at this time over a few weeks, if needed. You can start with a five- to 10-minute warmup run if you are not used to running 4-5 total miles yet.

Run hills or stairs 15 minutes: Run uphill as fast as you can. Jog or walk down for a recovery period. Repeat for 15 minutes. Over time, you can build up this routine to 30-45 minutes.

Run and leg PT sprints or goal pace running: It is up to you on this one. Either sprint 400 meters as fast as you can each set or try to use this time to set muscle memory for your goal pace for timed runs. For instance, if you want to achieve a nine-minute, 1.5-mile timed run, your 400 meters need to be 90 seconds each set. The squats and lunges require no weight.

Repeat five times

  • Run 400 meters
  • Squats 20

Repeat five times

  • Run 400 meters
  • Lunges 10/leg

Transition to the pool or another non-impact activity

Dynamic stretches for 10 minutes: Butt kickers, Frankenstein walks, side steps, leg swings, etc. Take 10 minutes and loosen up the legs again with some mobility exercises.

Swim workout

Tread water (no hands for five minutes): Work on your different kicks like scissor, breaststroke, flutter and egg-beater kicks.

Swim 500-1,000 meters at an easy pace with fins: Top off leg day with swimming with fins to work the legs one last time.

Dynamic stretches in pool: In chest-deep water, stretch for 10 minutes, doing all of the dynamic stretches above to complete your leg day.

If you prefer not to swim or a pool is not available, replace these exercises with other non-impact options like biking, rowing or elliptical machines for an easy to moderate cooldown workout to top off a successful leg day.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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