It’s time to get your legs ready for the sand — or the sandhills — with this special summer prep workout by Maddie Graham.
With summer around the corner, now’s the time to get some lean muscle definition happening in your lower body. Not only does it immediately help banish some of the winter fat, but it also ratchets up your metabolism and calorie burn to keep you leaner in the long term.
Fitness First personal trainer Maddie Graham is known as the “leg lady” because of her formidable reputation for shaping the best legs in the business. Her leg days are LEGendary for making her clients publicly hate her on social media, while also declaring their love for her at the same time. What she does, it works!
It makes the fact that she’s just 19 even more astonishing. But the truth is that Maddie started young, becoming a PT at 18 after joining Fitness First at 16 to bulk up her light runner’s frame. Her passion for fitness, her inexhaustible drive and brilliance with social media have made her one of Fitness First’s young stars.
So there’s no better person to get your lower body ready for summer — either for lazing on the beach or for doing what Maddie loves best: running up sandhills!
“Let’s admit it: most of us actually dread our leg workout. We all admire those who embrace leg day with so much dedication that they become unable to walk properly,” she told us.
She promises she’s not going to punish you with an unbearable leg workout. Maddie has created this program that will get you results fast by working your legs to a reasonably challenging level. This may mean exceeding your comfort zone a little bit, but will make your leg training much more effective. Get ready to see the results.
1A. Wide stance BB back squat
Place the barbell comfortably on your traps. Keep your chest open, shoulders rolled back and middle back muscles squeezed. Lift the barbell off the bar. Set your feet and legs more than shoulder’s width apart with toes pointed out. Keeping a neutral spine, squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or lower if it’s comfortable, before standing. Advanced lifters can challenge themselves by not locking their knees at the final point of the exercise.
Bonus: BB squat 10 x 10 challenge
The German Volume Training protocol is ideal for intermediate to advanced lifters, particularly those with a hypertrophy focus. This type of training deliberately puts the body beyond what it can recover from for a short period of time to put it into shock. If you have some time on your hands with your squats, challenge yourself to complete 10 sets of 10 reps.
2A. BB Romanian deadlift
Hold the bar slightly wider than shoulder width with a double overhand grip or a mixed grip. Keep feet and toes parallel with the weight on your heels, shoulders rolled back, spine neutral and knees slightly bent. Holding the bar at your hips, start lowering the bar while pushing your hips back as far as possible, keeping your chest open. Feeling a moderate stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward and squeeze your glutes at the end.
2B. DB walking lunges
Holding two dumbbells by your side, keep your torso up and shoulders back. Step forward with one leg. Keep your back leg static and, maintaining balance, squat down. Continue the movement by driving your front heel into the floor and rising up. Bring your back foot to meet your front foot and take another step forward, alternating legs.
3A. Wide stance leg press
Place your feet high and wide on the platform with toes pointing out at a 45 degree angle. Extend your knees and unhinge the weight, keeping your pelvis still to protect your lower back. Bend your knees and lower the platform slowly towards your chest. Pause at the bottom of the movement. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to push the weight back up.
3B. BB hip thrust
Start on the floor with your shoulder blades against a bench and a barbell sitting directly over your hips. Place your elbows on the bench, using your hands to keep the bar stable. Drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up to the sky. Keep your knees out to allow your glutes to completely contract.
4A. Single leg Bulgarian squat
Place one foot back on a bench with the top of your foot pressing flat against it and toes pointed down. Keeping your chest up, slowly descend by flexing the knee and hip of your front leg until your back knee is close to the ground. Once at the bottom, extend your front knee to raise back up and stop just before your knee locks, keeping your torso upright.
4B. Frog pumps
Lying on the floor, place your feet together and spread your knees out, rotating them externally. Keeping your neck tucked into your chest and heels as close to your glutes as possible, initiate and work the movement through your hips by pushing them to the sky while squeezing your glutes.
- Roll up or fold a mat and put it under the barbell when doing the barbell hip thrusts to take pressure off your hips.
- Know the difference between a Romanian deadlift and a stiff leg deadlift: a Romanian deadlift is where your hips are pushed back with a slight knee bend.
- Spread your knees outwards on the leg press to avoid knee, hip and lower back stress.
Maddie Graham is a personal trainer at Sylvania Fitness First in Sydney. Having previously competed in bikini competitions, Maddie very quickly became inspired to help other people achieve their health and wellness goals. She also believes nobody should ever skip leg day! Find her on Instagram @maaddiegraham, Facebook @teammaddiept and contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography by Lee McCluskey
Videography by Nathan Ford
Hair & Makeup by Kelly Bowman @ Reload