Stories from Trainer of the Month Club

Found: The Lower Body HIIT Workout That’s Just As Effective As (But *Way* More Fun Than) Hundreds of Squats

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsJuly 27, 2020

Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the most grueling workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

I’m about to reveal one of the best-kept fitness secrets: Unilateral workouts—workouts that ask you to do a full set on the left before switching to the right—have a way of dialing the intensity of your workout from an eight to a 10. Why? You’re essentially “burning out” the muscle groups that might otherwise get a nice rest if you were alternating right to left. On this week’s Trainer of the Month Club, New York City Barry’s instructor Sashah Handal shows you the magic trick that is adding unilateral workouts to leg day.

“Today, I’m going to take you through a 15-minute, high-intensity, low-body workout. We’ll be doing three different sets, and each move will be performed for approximately 20 repetitions,” says Handal. In three quick sets that are shorter than a quick TV episode put together, you’ll check off a sweaty, fun workout. And if you do have a little more time on your hands, you can even work through all three sets twice (or even three times!). Ready to get started?

Get sweaty with this 15-minute lower body HIIT workout

Set 1: 

1. Squat kick-outs: Begin standing with your feet slightly more than hip’s width distance apart. Clasp your hands at your chest and squat backward. Straighten your legs and kick your right foot 45-degrees to the right. Return to center, squat back down, and kick your left leg to the left. Keep going until you’ve completed 20 reps total.

2. Sliding lateral lunges: Return to standing and come to a wide-legged stance with your feet about three feet apart. Sit back and bend into your right knee. Pulse up then down and return to center. Push your butt back again and bend your left knee, pulse, and return to the center. Keep it moving for 20 repetitions.

3. Pop squats: Prepare to get that heart rate up! Start standing with your legs together. Jump out and down into your squat and touch your fingers to the floor. Pop back up into standing. Repeat 20 times.

Complete moves two and three 20 more times each. 

Set 2:

 1. Curtsy lunge: Start standing with your feet separated and your hands clasped in front of you. Pick up your right foot and channel your inner-princess to curtsy backward. Make sure your right knee lightly brushes the ground and do your best to keep your left knee over your right ankle. Repeat 20 times on just your left side.

2. Single leg deadlift: Return to standing. Shift all of your weight into the left foot and bow your torso forward halfway as you bring your right leg up so your body forms a T-shape. Stretch your arms all the way out like you’re doing Warrior III in yoga. Return to center and repeat 20 times on your left side.

3. Single leg inchworm: Start standing. Pour the weight into your left foot and lift your right leg (try to keep it up for all 20 reps.) Squat down (still on one leg) and place both hands onto the ground. Walk into plank pose: shoulders over your wrists, pelvis tucked under, and legs and core engaged. Walk your hands back into your squat once more and stand up. Keep going for 20.

4. High plank donkey kick: Return to plank pose. Lift your left foot off the ground and tuck it into your right elbow. Kick it back and out to the left. Repeat 20 times.

5. Bear plank hydrant: Still in that plank pose, bend your left knee and point your toes up to the sky (your right knee can bend). Draw your knee into the center, then shoot it straight back up. Repeat for 20 reps total.

6. Single-leg hip thrust: Roll onto your back, bend your knees, and make sure your fingers can just brush the backs of your heels. Extend your right foot up and push your hips up into the sky. Lower down, bring the left foot to hover just over the floor, and repeat 20 times.

Repeat moves one through six on the right side.

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