As promised, we’re continuing with the series of 15-minute workouts–and today, that brings us to legs.

With only 15 minutes of time, it’s difficult to imagine that one could get a great leg workout.  What about one that can increase strength, speed, power, and muscle size?  Impossible? Not remotely.

Ah, but patience, patience.

Before we get to the workout, I want to share a quick story.

One the best parts about living in NYC is that you tend to have access to nearly everything.  On the other side of that coin, nearly everything has access to you.

What I mean is that when it comes to being a part of the fitness scene, NYC is a great place to be, particularly with regard to building relationships with people.  You see, much of Big Time stuff from the industry happens here, and this is where a lot of the larger fitness magazines are headquartered.

Of course, this allows me to be a part of such magazines in ways that I wouldn’t have the chance if I didn’t live here–and it just so happens that one such opportunity presented itself with regard to this very workout.

As I mentioned, all of these 15-minute workouts were published by Men’s Fitness. Well, a few weeks after I submitted this workout, I got a call from Sean Hyson, the fitness editor.  Sean asked me if I’d be willing to come down to the studio and “tech” the photoshoot for the article.

Roman teaching squat form and/or groping Luke

That is, to come down and make sure the model was doing the exercises correctly. Of course, I immediately knew that I was being offered a courtesy–Sean himself is very capable of doing this, but invited me to allow me to be part of the process.

Needless to say, I went and it was pretty cool.  I’ve written for a lot of publications (and modeled for some), but I’ve never had the chance to be part of the shoot for anything I had written.  An enjoyable experience, and one wouldn’t have had if not for living where I do.

On the right, you see a picture of me correcting the form of model Luke Guldan.  Why on Earth it look like I’m grabbing his crotch, I have no idea–I was actually telling him how to position his hips.  But, this photo is way funnier.

Anyway, let’s move on to the leg routine.

For this workout, we’ll be employing a unique training method of pairing exercises using heavy loads with un-weighted explosive exercises.  This is a contrast method that allows for increased fiber recruitment due to something called post activation potentiation (PAP).  Potentiation is the act of making a movement more efficient by pairing it with a previous activity.

For the specific purposes of this program, this means that by alternating the heavy exercises with the explosive exercises, each time successive heavy set becomes more effective than the previous one.  In just a few sets (and just 15 minutes) you can actually stimulate as many muscle fibers as you can in a traditional length leg workout.

Additionally, this technique has been useful not only for increasing strength and size, but has also been effectively used to increase sprinting speed and jump height.  That is, it makes your legs more efficient at nearly everything.

The Workout

Circuit A – Perform 2 sets of squats, resting 60 seconds in between them. Immediately after your second set, perform the jump squat for 60 seconds. After your jump squats, rest 60 seconds and perform another set of squats, immediately followed by another 45 seconds of jump squats.  Rest 90 seconds, and repeat this circuit.  After the second circuit, proceed immediately to B.

A1) Barbell Squat – 2×5
A2) Jump Squats – as many as possible in 90 seconds. Rest 45 seconds.
A3) Barbell Squat— 1×5
A4) Jump Squats – as many as possible in 30 seconds.
Rest 90 seconds and repeat.

Circuit B – Perform 3 sets of standing barbell calf raises, resting 30 seconds in between them. Immediately after your second set, perform explosive standing calf raise as fast as you can without weight.  Rest 60 seconds and another set of barbell calf raises, immediately followed by another 30 seconds of explosive calf raises.  Rest 30 seconds, and perform one more set of barbell calf raises.

B1) Barbell Rocking Calf Raises – 3×6
B2) Explosive BW Calf Raises – as many as possible in 90 seconds. Rest 45 seconds.
B3) Barbell Rucking Calf Raises – 1×6
B4) Explosive BW Calf Raises – as many as possible in 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds.
B5) Barbell Calf Raises – 1×6

There you have it – 15 Minutes to Bigger, Faster, Stronger Legs.

And remember, if you’re looking to get bigger, faster and stronger in general, do yourself a favor and pick up Jason Ferruggia’s Rampage 2.0, which is on sale this week.

rampage 2.0
Now, there’s good news and better news.

Again, Ferruggia is  the Chief Training Adviser for Men’s Fitness; so if you liked the leg workout, remember that he signed off on it before it went to print.

If you’re one of those crazy people who likes getting crazy good programs for a crazy low price, you can check it out here.

 

Okay, sound off–what are your TOP FIVE favorite leg exercises?  Let’s get just 50 COMMENTS, and I’ll post part 3–my 15 minute ARMS workout–on Friday!

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  • Christian

    What are your thoughts of going with 8 reps instead of 5 for higher muscle hypertrophy?

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Yea, that would totally be fine.  Could bring the workout past 15 minutes, but as long as that’s okay with you, works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000742817149 Erik Galindo

    1. Barbell squat – I’m not doing a lot of weight right now, but I brace my abs hard and feel it working them too.
    2. Romaniellian deadlifts – Did I spell that right? Whatever, the stiff legged one that hits the hamstrings.
    3. Lunges – Require good balance and form.  Neither of which I can brag about yet.
    4. Leg curls – Because I work out at home and don’t have a full gym.
    5. Split squats – I finish with these, so they tend to burn, but in a good way.  Unlike people who order their steaks ‘well-done’.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      People who order their stakes well done are not welcome at my BBQs. Regarding the leg exercises, you mean the ROMAN deadlift =)

  • Lauri Bernard

    Bulgarian split squat, overhead walking lunges, glute hamstring raise, Romanian Deadlifts & tuck jump burpees. Just an add on sprints of any sort resisted/weighted. Pushing, flipping or pulling tires just for fun. I know this is way more than five but I love working my legs. Oh yeah any type of kettlebell swing. Yours in Training, Lauri aka Ms.Scrappy2U

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      KB swings ftw!

  • Tyler Carter

    You tuned me in to Rear Leg Elevated Split squats a while ago, and my hamstrings thank you.
    Other than that, my favorites are the full squat, box squats, power cleans, and Roman deadlifts.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Nice one – most people wouldn’t have put power cleans with legs. But, it’s helped a lot with my butt.  Great stuff!

  • Tyler Carter

    You get bonus points on this post for these two pictures.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      ha! Thanks.  I’ll take all the points I can get!

  • Marie

    Bulgarian split squats, wide barbell squats with feet pointing out, dumbbell sumo squats, reverse lunges and spidey lunges are just some of my favorite. I want my legs to look like Jamie’s ^ !

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.edwards123 Andrew Edwards

    Well,my favorites are:
     I have  a love/hate relationship with overhead Bulgarian split squats, 
    Kettlebell swings for power and they loosen up mt hips.and 
    Pistol (1-legged) squats, mainly because most people fall over when they try to do them
    Lateral Lunges
    Hip raises on a swiss ball, great for my private life ;)

  • Kedric

    To give my buck a bang I like pairing heavy weights with bodyweight movements such as barbell spilt squats followed immediately with pistons squats. Next is seated calf raises followed by explosive jump lunges,usually end it with jumping rope bouncing on the balls of my feet for greater calf muscle activation

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Sounds like PAP to me! Great stuff.

  • Ted

    Posting simply because I want your arms workout for Saturday. :D

    Although now a question has come to mind – as I haven’t seen the arm workout yet, would you recommend against performing it in the same day or same workout as the shoulder workout you posted earlier this week?

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Fair enough.  Arms workout to come, but I guess we’re a bit late!

  • Chris H

    Favourite leg exercises… I hope you aren’t insinuating that we should enjoy them!
    My favourite is the barbell squat, most hated is Bulgarian split squat by far. I need to do them more often.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      haha, well I guess “enjoy” is probably not the right word =)

  • http://thewallenway.wordpress.com/ Dan

    Right now I’m going through HSS-100 from T-Nation, but I’ll have to try this out once I’m done.  Sounds like it could be a nice de-load.

    Favorite leg exercises:
    1) Deadlift (“dead hoooker lift”)–right now I’m enjoying the Sumo variety
    2) Supine hip extension with leg curl (it always makes me think about humping mid-air and sometimes I start chuckling in the middle of them… awkward, maybe)
    3) Front squats

  • Ylwa Falk

    Deadlifts and the leg press, hands down! Yes I know, leg press is a machine exercise, but I don’t care. I love it, its the single exercise that has helped me gain some mass to my hard-gainer ass. At least with regards to muschle mass…

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      You know, lots of people hate on the Leg Press, but I have always liked it, particularly as a follow up to front squats on a quad dominant day.

  • Solano Mateo

    split squats from a deficit

    Pistols

    Single leg Romanian deadlifts

    Lunges

    Squats

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Anything from a deficit is pretty amazing.  Fantastic suggestion!

  • Carolynswaney

    Anything hamstring…love dead lift, single leg dead lifts on a Bosu, and reverse leg curl (on my knees, drop to the floor and push / pull back up). Squats are a favorite of mine. I hate weighted step ups, which means they are awesome. Overhead Bulgarian Split Squats make me want to kill myself…so I do them constantly. Walking around in heels all day works, too.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      The reverse leg curl you’re describing is actually called a natural glute ham raise.  It’s beastmode.

  • Chris Wilmot

    Pistol Squats, Box Jumps, Sprints, Bulgarian Split Squat and Single Leg Stability Ball Ham Curl

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Ooooh, love the ham curls.  Excellent suggestion.

  • Deanphillips

    I love front squats, Back squats, hack squats, deadlifts and rom reads when I use straps

    I’ve lost leg size recently as I’ve just got lazy with my training going through t-nation to find a new program now need some growth man

    P.s your writing style is awesome

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Thanks for the compliment on the writing. 

      Thanks for mentioning hack squats – one of my favorites.  Good luck with regaining the leg size, Dean!

  • Alexcobo

    Do you have a bodyweight version?

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Good question.  I would replace with squats with pistol squats. 

  • TbirdGym

    Is there a modification for women who don’t want to add size???

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      I would replace the squats with lunges.

  • Pauline

    Bulgarian Split squats
    Lunge Touch Down
    High step up
    Slow squats (say 15) with 15 sec  hold and 15 pulses
    Slow lunges (say 15) with 15 sec hold and 15 pulses

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Love that – especially the pulses.  VERY good!

  • Marie

    If I were to tone down the INNER thighs, what additional leg workouts would you recommend? Unless the only thing for this is more cardio? They seem to be a trouble spot. And what is the average time one can see results for toned legs based on a 3xweek strength training, hiit 1xweek, mod cardio 1xweek regimen? Grazie mille.

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Hey Marie,

      Great question – for inner thighs, I’d suggest lateral lunges.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBZ8SYBS8YY

      I’d say you should see results within 4-5 weeks.

      Good luck!

  • Peter

    Top 5

    1. Pistols or Bulgarian Split Squats
    2. Lunges
    3. Romanian Dead Lift
    4. Squats (overhead and front squats are my favorite but good old back squats for max load)
    5. Standing Calf Raises

    I guess that’s sort of 8… what ev…

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      lol, yea, that’s more than 5.  But, all of them are pretty awesome.

  • Dmrc07

    There seems to be conflicting information in the Squatting as well as the Calf Raises. The paragraph about Squats states different times for work and rest than the exercise pairings below it. And the Calf paragraph says to perform Jump Squats, but the pairings underneath say to perform explosive calf raises. 

    Are these just typos, or are you posting variations of the workout?

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      typo. and fixed! thanks!

  • Ashleigh

    OH YEAH, BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS, YEAHH

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Ooooh hell yea.

  • Anonymous

    I like it

    • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

      Appreciate your well thought out contribution to my blog, bru.

      • Anonymous

        Buahahaha. Mate i am WRIT out. Alright, only five?  

        For chicks: KB swings2 arm 1 leg RDLHip Thrusts with chains or BB, single leg or two leggedReverse LungesGHRsSPRINTING (what can i say, i like buns on chicks, not quads)For dudes: Trap bar DLGHRFront SquatReverse Lunges2 arm 1 leg RDL
        SPRINTING

        bugger, that is six, and i could add at least another four to each. 

        I liked the post mate. Let me know if you want an intro to Jamie! 

      • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

        Very good list.  I like a nice balance of buns AND quads on the ladies myself.

        Jamie and I are already acquainted, but thanks!

  • Hayley

    Hello – I just wrote this workout down into my book of wicked workouts – one question though – is this one also good for the ladies? Or is this one more for the fellas? Gonna try it anyway :)

  • mattias sørensen

    explosive jumping squats. 
    barbell front squat
    sumo barbell deadlift. 
    forward lunges(dumbbell)

  • Jenniesrockurbody

    I like to stand facing towards the squat machine or the smith machine with the padded arms on my shoulders or bar on my back and perform step back lunges. – jennie c.

  • Artisticsuicide

    I’m loving these 15 minutes workouts you’re posting. They’re great inspiration for my routines. Regarding the squats; what weights would reccomend? So heavy that I can just finish the sixth set (which I imagine would be around 70% of my 1RM), or even lower so I still got some left when I finish the routine?

  • Yvonne

    This is a great workout.  I am a cross country runner, and I could stand to lose a couple pounds, but I do not want to be slowed down with too much muscle on my arms.  For my case, this is great.

  • http://1RMperformance.com/ Melissa Hinkley

    I like the complex training principle, but not sure where the 60-90 seconds of plyo’s come into play. If we are training for power here (and type II’s), wouldn’t it be more effective to do 5-8 reps of a plyo. For example, a heavy set of squats followed by a few max box jumps. There is no way you can maintain max box jumps for a minute+. Favorite leg exercises (and yes, I am a female)
    1.) Deadlift
    2.) Bulgarian split squats
    3.) Single leg RDL’s
    4.) BB Step ups
    5.) Front squats