Tight, Toned, and Strong: A Lower-Body Circuit With Weights

Grab some dumbbells, and get ready to work your legs. This is a quick workout — only 10 minutes — so you want to push yourself (keeping good form, of course). You will be amazed by what you can do in 10 minutes when you put your mind to it. Blast some power tunes, and get ready to train.

Lower Body Workout

Equipment needed: Medium-weight dumbbells

Directions: Warmup with two minutes of light cardio (find inspiration here), then perform as many sets of this 5-exercise circuit as you can in 8 minutes. Follow the prescribed number of reps, and maintain good form throughout; take rests only if needed. Cool down with some stretches for your hamstrings, quads, and glutes.


  • Squat to overhead press: 12 reps
  • Romanian deadlift: 15 reps
  • Low to high woodchop: 8, each side
  • Bent-over row: 12 reps
  • Single-leg bridge: 8 each leg

Keep reading for detailed explanations of each move.

Squat to Overhead Press

Squat to Overhead Press

We love this exercise combo for firing up the legs, arms, and abs.

  • Stand with your legs just slightly wider than hip-distance apart, arms raised to shoulder height with elbows bent, holding weights by your ears.
  • Bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair, keeping weight on your heels.
  • Press the dumbbells overhead as you straighten your knees to return to standing.
  • Do 12 reps.
Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift

This deadlift variation is great for strengthening your hamstring and glutes.

  • Stand upright holding a pair of medium-weight dumbbells in each hand, arms at your sides, with your knees slightly bent.
  • Keeping your arms straight and knees slightly bent, slowly bend at the hips (not your waist) and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight.
  • Now squeeze your glutes to slowly pull yourself up (don't use your back).
  • Do 15 reps.
Low to High Woodchop

Low to High Woodchop

This dynamic exercise works the obliques and upper abs while keeping your heart rate up.

  • Squat, and twist left to hold the dumbbell on the outside of your left leg.
  • Exhale, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed.
  • The move is a bit percussive, so focus on the rotation initiating in your torso.
  • Control the weight back up to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Remember you are moving with force but also control. Don't give into the momentum of swinging the weight around.
  • Do 8 reps, each side.
Bent-Over Row

Bent-Over Row

Get ready to feel this in your upper back — it's great for your posture, too.

  • Holding your dumbbells, bend forward at the hips keeping your back flat and your knees slightly bent.
  • Lift the dumbbells straight up to chest level, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upward. Don't arch your back.
  • Slowly lower the weights and return to the standing to complete one rep.
  • Do 12 reps.
Single-Leg Bridge

Single-Leg Bridge

The bridge variation works the legs independently and helps work core stabilization — it's a great move for runners.

  • Lie on your back, and place your hands on the floor for stability as you bend one leg and lift the other leg off the ground.
  • Pressing your heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a stiff bridge position.
  • Lower your body to the floor to complete one rep.
  • Do 8 reps, each leg.