A Quick, Tabata-Style Leg Workout from WW Coach Monika Pierce

The trainer – and Ciara's own WW coach — shares her six go-to moves for leg day.

Leg Workouts For Women
Photo: Courtesy/InStyle

Leg workouts don't tend to get the same attention as say, a butt or abs workout, but we're here to remind you that they're just as important to incorporate into your routine. Not only are they key for improving your range of motion and keeping you moving on a daily basis, but working larger muscles, like those in your legs, will also result in greater calorie burn.

So, we tapped Monika Pierce, a certified fitness instructor, WW coach, and the brand's head of inclusion and diversity, to share a quick at-home leg workout you can squeeze in even on days when you don't feel like working out. (Pierce also happens to be Ciara's personal WW coach, a celeb who definitely does not neglect leg day.)

The Tabata-style workout requires 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. "Tabata is a great style of exercise for beginners and advanced exercise enthusiasts alike. I love Tabata workouts because going hard, even for just 20 seconds, makes me feel capable and powerful," Pierce says.

She recommends running through the set of exercises eight times, for a full workout that clocks in at under 30 minutes.

1. Squat

Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, calves

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart with knees, ankles, and feet in alignment. Take a moment to roll your shoulders back and down and draw in your core.
  2. As you bend your knees, push your hips back as if you are searching for a seat behind you. Continue to lower until your hips are in line with your knees. (If you are newer to squats, you may need to keep your squats shallow to start, that is okay! You will still get a workout.)
  3. Return to standing by pressing the bottom of your heels into the floor and lifting your body up. Repeat for 20 secs and then rest for 10 secs.

Tip: Remember to go at a speed that allows you to maintain proper form for each squat. Quality over quantity to ensure that you remain injury-free.

2. Squat Jumps

Muscles worked: Glutes, Quads, hamstrings, core, calves

  1. Set up your stance as you would a regular squat. Standing tall, shoulders back and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees, push your hips back. Lower your booty to be parallel to the ground (or as close to it as possible).
  3. Engage your core and leg muscles to explode off the ground and into the air. (If jumping doesn't feel possible or good, pop up from your squat to the balls of your feet.)
  4. Land softly allowing your knees to bend, return to the squat position. Repeat for 20 secs and then rest for 10 secs.

3. Skaters

Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves

  1. Begin with your legs hip-width apart.
  2. Lean forward and hop to the right, bringing your left foot behind your right leg while reaching the same arm as the "behind leg" in front of you toward the floor.
  3. Repeat this side-to-side motion, transferring your weight each time. Repeat for 20 secs and then rest for 10 secs.

4. Donkey Kicks

Muscles worked: Glutes

  1. Get on all fours, with your hands directly under shoulders, and knees directly under hips. Maintain a neutral spin, to help achieve the image of balancing a cup of water on your back. Your chin should be just slightly tucked ensuring that your spine is a straight line.
  2. Fire up your lower abdominals. Slowly bend your right knee and lift up towards the ceiling to create a 90-degree angle.
  3. Continue to lift your leg stopping before your back starts to arch and your belly drops. Keep your hips square and parallel to the floor. Repeat for 20 secs and then rest for 10 secs, then switch sides.

5. Curtsy Lunge

Muscles worked: Quads and glutes

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with arms at your side.
  2. Shift weight to your right leg and with your left leg take a large step back and behind crossing your right leg.
  3. Lower your body down as deeply as possible, your back knee hovering a couple of inches off the floor.
  4. Slowly return to the standing and repeat with the other leg. Alternate for 20 secs and then rest for 10 secs.

6. Sumo Squat

Muscles worked: Inner thighs, quads, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexor, and calves

  1. Take a wide stance, feet should be wider than your shoulders.
  2. Bend your knees and lower body until you are parallel to the floor (or close to it!)
  3. Hold in this lowered position for one breath cycle (inhale/exhale). Then return to the starting position. Repeat for 20 secs and then rest for 10 secs.
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