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Class Plan: Lower-Body Moves Revisited

Help your students improve lower-body strength by taking them through unique variations of the lunge, squat and deadlift. Round out the routine with some basic choreography to rev up heart rates and burn extra calories. Play with tempo, range of motion, power moves and compound exercises to get the most out of your students.

Rock Bottom Details

Format: lower-body strength and cardio intervals

Time: 55 minutes

Equipment needed: step, weighted bar, tubing

Music: 125-130 beats per minute

Class setup:

This workout features three blocks of exercises. Each block includes

  • three lower-body strength exercises;
  • 3 minutes of slightly choreographed, moderate-intensity cardio; and
  • a 1-minute anaerobic cardio challenge.

Additional details:

  • Select exercises that require core stabilization, for a more functional approach.
  • Include work in all planes of motion.
  • Eccentrically load select moves to increase intensity.
  • Build in variety and challenge over time by adjusting exercise order, load and reps.
  • Provide progressions and regressions.
  • Suggest that students cross-train to allow adequate rest between sessions.
  • Provide low-impact options for the cardio segment.
  • Use the rating of perceived exertion scale (1–10) to guide intensity levels for the cardio sections.

Recommend that students work at a level 5 or 6 for the 3-minute cardio intervals and a level 7 or 8 for the anaerobic challenge.

Warmup (5 minutes)

Do 8 reps of each exercise, and then repeat the full sequence twice.

  • inchworm (hinging from hips and bringing hands to floor, then walking hands forward to plank, and returning to start)
  • pushup alternating with side plank (modification: knees down).
  • squat
  • alternating front lunge
  • burpee (no hop)

Work Phase (45 minutes)


Strength With Weighted Bar

Do 12 reps of each exercise:

  • Romanian deadlift: Hold bar in front of thighs (pronated grip) and hinge from hips until bar reaches knee level; return to start.
  • Hack deadlift: Hold bar behind legs (pronated grip) and perform deadlift until bar reaches back of knees.
  • Overhead front lunge: Hold bar overhead with wide grip, and step forward into lunge (alternate).

Cardio Intervals

  • Double step-touch, right and left; 8x.
  • After each double step-touch, add squat at each end (step toward center); 8x.
  • Change squat to plyometric jump squat; 8x.

Anaerobic Challenge

  • Plyometric jump squat, 16x.

Alignment tips:

  • Maintain extended spine on deadlifts.
  • Brace core to stabilize spine on overhead front lunge.


Strength With Step

Do 12 reps of each exercise, R-leg lead:

  • Rear lunge to Superman: Do rear lunge from top of step, then lift into Superman position, extending rear leg while hinging forward from hips.
  • Side squat: From top of step, squat off side and return to top.
  • Single-leg plank with knee tuck: With hands on step, hold one-legged plank, then hop foot in toward bench and return to start.

Cardio Intervals (R-Leg Lead)

  • Walk forward 3, knee-up 1, walk back 3, knee-up 1; 8x.
  • Walk forward 3, alternating knee-up 3, walk back 3, alternating knee-up 3; 8x.
  • Walk forward 3, knee-up 1, high-knee jog 4x, walk back 3, knee-up 1, high-knee jog 4x; 8x.

Anaerobic Challenge

  • High-knee jog, 16x.

Repeat all with L-leg lead.

Alignment tips:

  • Maintain neutral spine on Superman.
  • Avoid excessive hip hinge on squat.

For block 3 and cooldown ideas, please see “A 55-Minute Lower-Body Workout With Strength and Cardio Intervals” in the online IDEA Library or in the June 2017 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

Melissa Weigelt, MS

Melissa Weigelt is an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, NASM-certified personal trainer and vinyasa yoga instructor with 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. As an ACE- and AFAA-approved provider of continuing education for fitness instructors and a member of the BOSU® master trainer and development team, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and ideas with others.

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