Tag Archives: leg workout

Home Leg Workout (No Equipment Necessary)

This post should really be called “How to Achieve a 4-Minute Wall Sit” because that’s what my goal is. You’ll remember from our Summer Fitness Goals, that I have several body weight goals. One of them is to–as you may have predicted–achieve a wall sit for four minutes. Now, four minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but you plomp your behind and a wall and see how long you last. This workout is designed to be high rep low weight to achieve muscle endurance. My poor legs need to build up muscle endurance to stay put for four minutes straight! I’m sweatin’ just thinking about it! So whether you’re trying to achieve a 4-minute wall sit or just want a home leg workout, this is for you!

1. Wall sit. As long as possible. I bet this was a shocker. Hold a wall sit for as long as you can before your legs give out. Make sure your legs are absolutely parallel to the ground and you aren’t leaning on your legs. Look like a chair!

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We’re Baaaack (Sorry!)

We have just arrived back from a nice 5-day vacation on the magical East Coast! We went out to visit Chris’ family (he’s from New Jersey/New York) and also see some friends. We had planned to prepare posts for each day ahead of time…but obviously that didn’t work. We have a little pathetic excuse, that there was no wifi we were able to get onto in the house…but still, sorry! I hope this post of deliciousness and friends will help you forgive us. It will be picture-heavy and text-light.

It was an early start to the Wednesday of us flying out–6:30am flight called for a 3:15am wake-up. We drove the car over to the airport and had a nice smooth ride, stopping briefly in Minneapolis before arriving at Newark. Since everyone who could pick us up were working, we decided to take it slow and just take public transportation back to Chris’ town, Midland Park, New Jersey. We got to the train station, his mum picked us up and we had an early first dinner of some good Chinese food. Two hours and a chiropractic appointment later, we had another dinner with his brother at a great thin-crust pizza. We finished that night off with some great Van Dyk’s ice cream and played video games all night with a good friend, Po.

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Po & Chris, ice cream buds

On Thursday, we wake up bright and early (not getting much more than 5 hours sleep…who sleeps on vacation, right?) and pack in the car with Chris’ mum to visit Chris’ sister in Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia. And grabbed delicious bagel sandwiches on the way! It was a great day of relaxation, visiting Chris’ niece, adorable puppy, spending quality family time, and watching movies like Hotel Transylvania and Puss in Boots. We didn’t get home until around midnight and collapsed right to sleep.

Chris and his niece on a walk

Chris and his niece on a walk

Puppppyyyyyy

Puppppyyyyyy

On Friday, it was another early-wake-up day for us because we were visiting the city–New York! We had a great day seeing lots of friends from college. We found our way to my friend Mary Kate via bus and had a great breakfast with her before she headed into her super awesome 60 Minutes work. Then we took the good old 1 train uptown to the college where we met, Manhattan College. We got to meet up with some friends who still are attending, some who drove in for the day just to see us, and our old bosses. Chris got to fit in a leg workout while I hung out with my old JustPeace (a social justice club I led) club while they held an event. I got to see Kathleen and Hilary here.

Times Square, crazy to be back

Times Square, crazy to be back

Yum

Yum

hi!

hi!

Roomates 4 lyfe

Roomates 4 lyfe

My boss (Lois), Kathleen, and I

My boss (Lois), Kathleen, and I

Quad livin'

Quad livin’

Sweaty buds

Sweaty buds

After that (still Friday), we grabbed Kathleen and kidnapped her back downtown where we forced her to see The Grandmaster (review coming soon), which was pretty epic at one of our favorite indie theatres at Lincoln Center. We walked around Central Park for a bit before walking down to the famous Halal Cart which came from humble beginnings but is now 3 carts deep. We chowed down on some platters and then met up with Allan to go to the Yankee game. It was a lot of fun and we got great seats! Pretty good game too–2 of Chris’ favorite players hit homers. We then got a ride back to New Jersey, had some ice cream, then went to sleep.

Central Park walk

Central Park walk

Chowing on Halal--thanks for the pic, Kathleen

Chowing on Halal–thanks for the pic, Kathleen

DROOL.

DROOL.

Yankee game

Yankee game

On Saturday, we actually slept in! All the way until 9am! I know–crazy. While we waited for our friend, Allan, to wake up, we went and visited Abma’s Farm for some baked goods and sheep humor. After that, and he still wasn’t up, we went to the local Wildlife Conservatory which has beautiful paths and only animals that need rehabilitation. We finally met Allan, Jane Kim (a friend of Chris’) and her boyfriend at a new place in town for “brunch” (…at 12:30pm). Although we were wary about prices and reviews, it turned out to be delicious and a great time! We walked around town afterwards, got some boba, and hung out at the Ridgewood Park. We then grabbed a Tony’s Pizza to eat the next day (because they would be closed on Sunday). Later that night, Chris’ whole family went out to hibachi and it was delicious! Then after, we of course got more ice cream and went to sleep.

This sheep had the deepest voice ever...creepy

This sheep had the deepest voice ever…creepy

Beautiful nature walk

Beautiful nature walk

 

My delicious breakfast burrito at brunch

My delicious breakfast burrito at brunch

Friends

Friends

Best pizza I've ever had

Best pizza I’ve ever had

Hibachi!

Hibachi!

We have another late morning wake-up on Sunday, this time around 8:30. I decide to go for a easy-paced run in the morning while we get started on the day. We basically spent the entire day visiting Chris’ many aunts and uncles–it was really nice to meet all of them as I hadn’t met many before. That night we met up with Pablo and Brit (Chris’ close friends) and we drove 15 miles to go to East, a restaurant with sushi on a conveyor belt. Delicious! We then watched Here Comes the Boom (surprisingly awesome movie) and, of course, got some more ice cream.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Now it’s Monday, and we’re wondering how this vacation is already over! However…our flight wasn’t until 7pm so we had a good amount of time to spend with friends before we took off. We had a nice breakfast with Pablo and Brit that morning while we waited for Allan and Po to roll out of bed. I got way too much food…brie-stuffed french toast, eggs, home fries, and toast! We then meet up with everyone else and to everyone’s disappointment, Chris coerces us to go see the Percy Jackson movie. Okay maybe not coerced, but reactions were definitely amusing. After that movie, we all piled into cars and rushed to Mitsuwa (which will be getting its own post), which is a magical place that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into Japan. Once we gobble down some delicious foodAllan is nice enough to take us down to JFK in Labor Day traffic. We owe him a big one.

Brie-stuffed french toast. yup.

Brie-stuffed french toast. yup.

And that was our trip! We had a pleasant flight and watched Great Gatsby (review coming soon) to make the 4.5 hours go by quickly. We are still catching up on sleep, and apologize again for the lack of posts, but here we come on full throttle! I’m probably forgetting a lot in this post, but I did what I could from memory! Make sure you travel to stay hungry and fit!

Thunder storm below us

Thunder storm below us

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Kathleen and I ^.^

Kathleen and I ^.^

Hiking for Fitness

Chris often says that hiking is a tougher workout than running. Master Kim, our old Tae Kwan Do teacher, said that hiking is the best form of exercise besides Tae Kwon Do itself. If you believe anyone about fitness and life, it’s that guy.  I like to go hiking sometimes when I’m planning not to run that day. And almost always, I am passed out on the couch afterwards, zapped of energy. Which is a good thing! I know we are lucky enough to be in Colorado and thus have a seemingly-infinite amount of hiking trails, but there are hiking trails everywhere. Yes, even in Iowa. You just need to go find them.

A dam

A dam

This post is encouraging people to hike for fitness and not just spend all of their time in the gym. And there will be pictures from my most recent hike in Lyons, Colorado at Button Rock. Now, as you all know, I have nothing against gyms–nothing at all! In fact, we spend 2 hours there per day, usually. But we must never forget the beauty of nature and what we can enjoy outdoors. We must always find a balance between the indoors and the out.

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Hiking is a great form of exercise. It (usually) costs nothing, spare the gas or parking fees, and it is almost enjoyable. Some people detest gyms and if you are one of those people, take a hike! Hiking has an extraordinary amount of benefits including cardiovascular endurance training or as we like to shorten it to “cardio.” Not all hikes are uphill, but I know that ours definitely was. Hiking is walking on steroids. As you continue going upwards, the air gets thinner, and your body has to work harder to gain its homeostasis (basically, the “normal” state of our body at rest). And even if you’re not necessarily going straight uphill, the terrain of hiking is often unsteady, thus your body fights to maintain balance and recruit muscles to stabilize yourself.

My friend and her dog

My friend and her dog

There are incredibly cardio benefits to this (in fact, it is almost just as powerful in this way as running is, as your body has to try to regulate your breathing just as it does while you run or jog), but there are also just as many muscular benefits as well. After I’ve hiked, I feel that I ran a 5k and did a heavy leg workout. It of course has these effects, because of the strain you put on your “cardio” system (as we spoke of earlier) and the amount of work your poor muscles have to do!

Her dog loves to be thrown sticks and retrieve them in the water

Her dog loves to be thrown sticks and retrieve them in the water

After a hike, I can almost certainly not do a heavy leg workout. I remember one time I did this hike and it was a planned leg workout that night. As soon as I got home, I passed out on the couch for an hour and then I dragged myself to the floor to do some leg work without weights. Just when your body is trying to balance upon the unsteady terrain, your legs (all the way from your feet to your glutes and even core) recruit all the muscles they can to maintain that stability. Your glutes help you power up the steep hills and rocks, your quads help slow your descent downhill, your calves help to delicately step up a pile of boulders, and your hamstrings keep you going. It is a fully functional total leg workout. And the legs almost never get a break the whole time!

photo 1 (4)Even with just the slight amount of benefits I’ve already told you, why aren’t you lacing up your hiking boots already! Take a day off from the gym, or even combine the two, and go for a hike! My traps even feel sore afterwards too. If the workout benefits haven’t convinced you, then maybe the rest of these pictures will! Or you could just decide to take it to another level, kick up the intensity, and run the trail instead. For more information on the best trail running shoes, check out Gear We Are! Go hiking to stay hungry and fit!

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5 Ways to Firm Up Your Glutes

No matter what gender we are, we all want to have nice glutes. And besides aesthetics, the stronger our glutes are, the more powerful we are. Think of when you feel your glutes: walking up the stairs, the beginning part of sprinting, and standing up from kneeling or squatting. Improve your gluteal muscles and you will get up the stairs faster, be able to run and sprint faster, and spring up from the ground like a ten-year old. These are 5 simple exercises that can be performed anywhere!

1. Doggies. You’ve heard me talk about these beforeand I will again because it’s such a great exercise for the glutes! And the more you do without stopping, the better workout it is for those muscles. Go on your hands and knees, kick your leg back and then rotate it around to starting position, keeping the leg in line with your hips. Keep going until you can’t and then go right away to the other side.

2. Hip bridges. This can be done with or without a stability ball. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Now, lift up, bringing your hips and glutes up. If you want a deeper exercise, you can go up on your toes to get higher. Come down, but don’t touch the floor. Continue up and down, squeezing the glutes at the top until failure. If you want to use a stability ball, simply put your calves on top of it and do the same motion.

3. Box jumps. For this, you can use an athletic box, stepper, a chair, a couch–anything that is raised and stable. Focusing on using your glutes, spring up with both feet and jump onto the top of the box. Try to synchronize so both feet hit at the same time. This is also a cardio workout if you do it repeatedly. Slightly squat down so you can get power, and jump up!

4. Step ups with leg extension. This is different from regular step-ups. Have something similar to what you had for box jumps–a box, a stepper, a chair, a couch, whatever you can find. Now step up with one leg, and extend the other as high as you can behind you which clenches the glutes. Now do the same on the other side. Do this until your glutes and hips cramp up so you can’t do another (aka until failure!).

5. Bobbing squat. You will really feel the burn with this one. Get into a squatting position and hold. Now bob your hips and glutes up and down in little motions. Go for as long as you can until the burn is just too much. Don’t forget to time yourself and try to beat your own record!

So if you’re looking to have buns of steel for the summer time, or better, for your lifetime, make these few exercises a part of your routine. They’re easy to remember and simple to do (though they burn if you do it right!), giving you no excuses not to have the glutes of your dreams! Click here if you’re looking for an over-all non-machine leg workout! Use these exercises to stay…hungry and fit! 

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria found a nice little spot

Nymeria found a nice little spot

Fat-Roasting, Glute-Burning Leg Circuit

After a 2 mile run around McIntosh Lake (see the run here), I decided to get my leg workout in the fast, no-break circuit kind of way. For this, it’s best to find yourself in a park, a beach, a backyard–somewhere with some space. But of course, if you’re locked in an apartment in an Alaskan winter, you can always modify it for small space too. This is a great workout for those who have little time and want high intensity. Let’s do it!

Lock n Load Legs Circuit

1. Lunge 20 feet (or for 20 seconds). You’re going to lunge yourself to your first “station” in this circuit.

2. Scorpions until failure. These work the hamstrings. Go on all fours, lifting one bent knee up and down behind you. Do it until you can’t do another rep. Switch to other leg.

Quadruped hip extension

3. Lunge 20 more feet to the next station (or 20 seconds). Think about a triangle as a formation that we’re doing (the stations set up in that way).

4. Plie squat until failure. The link has the best full description. Start in horse stance, squat down, then lunge left and then right! These are killer on the glutes and quads. Do them until you drop.

5. Lunge 20 more feet to next station (or 20 seconds stationary). ‘Nuff said.

6. Step ups until failureFor this, I had a little grassy incline that I used. If you’re at home, you can use a chair, a couch, or a coffee table (just don’t tell your partner!). Or at the beach, build up a little sand incline. You get the idea. Step up and drive the knee up every time. Until you can’t step up another time!

A super blurry older picture of me performing a step up

7. Doggies until failure. For this, you’re on your hands and knees again. Kick your leg back and then a full rotation around back to starting position. This targets your glutes. The more you do, the more those muscles will tighten up. Do them until failure and then right away on the other side.

And repeat as much as you have time for. Again, this can all be done stationary in one place. Just try to keep it non-stop. You can rest and have water in between the whole sets, but to get that burning, cardio effect, just keep going! Have fun and stay hungry and fit!

15 Minute High-Intensity Workout — No Excuses

I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes. You do. Don’t lie to yourself. So if you don’t have time for your own full workout, try this one. Only 15 minutes. Extremely simple. All you need is a timer. You could use your phone if it has one too. You can get some of your family to do it with you–it will make it more fun (and entertaining) this way. Most everyone can do it, unless you have a significant injury. Just try it! It gets you working, your heart rate up, hopefully sweating, and your core/legs strong. So here it is…

  • 1 minute mountain climbers

  • 1 minute russian twists

  • 1 minute lunges

x5

Meaning, you perform 1 minute of mountain climbers, 1 minute of russian twists, then 1 minute of lunges. And REPEAT FIVE TIMES. Take as little rest as possible. If you do so, you will have completed a very efficient, high-intensity, muscle-burning workout.

With the mountain climbers, I want you to go as quickly as possible. Keeping the pace up is one thing, but you also need to try to get those feet as close to the hands as possible to complete a good exercise.

With the russian twists, make sure you are doing complete rotations. This means that it’s not just your hands moving side to side, but also your shoulders. You’re doing a complete twist from either side. Once you’ve mastered that rotation, try to get a solid speed going.

With the lunges, if you have enough room you can do moving lunges. Otherwise, place your hands on your hips, lunge forward with the right, bring it back to center, then lunge forward with the left. This way, you stay in the same spot, but still get the full extension of the exercise.

Good luck, work hard, and sweat often! 

I’ll Need a Bigger Helmet: Biking in Boulder

This will be a quick one, mainly because we had long days and have an early day tomorrow, but also because I don’t have much to say about this, or perhaps I actually do and want to prevent an all out rant.

Essentially, again today on the way home from work I almost got hit by a car… in the sidewalk. I’m a responsible bike rider and good on my bike. I ride it at least 4 days a week, typically more. Some days I only ride it 2-3 miles to and from work but some days, doing multiple jobs, I can ride up to 12 miles a day. These are all commuting miles, on a mix of flat and graded terrain, typically sidewalks and roads. I have an old Trek mountain bike that has been transformed into a commuter bike and I custom fit it to meet my needs.

 
It has a 17″ frame, and some extra grooved tires for the snow. It has trigger gear shift capabilities that work relatively well and old but reliable brakes. It has a loud bell, a retractable steel grocery basket that fits onto the mountain rack on back, that I use as a makeshift splash guard. I have a decently comfortable seat that is locked to the frame with a wire lock. I keep my heavy duty u-lock attached to the frame and I use a large thick black bell dome helmet. I have all my reflectors in place, plus a flashing or steady rear led red light in addition to my steady or flashing led headlights.
 
Even with my ability and all these flashing lights, I almost always get hit day or night and it happens in the crosswalks! I come from an area where drivers have a tendency to lack patience and manners, but they are extremely efficient in terms of keeping traffic moving but also very aware of the stop signs, lines, lights and pedestrians.
Many of the drivers in Boulder are the opposite and it’s been tough to get used to it, but that’s not the issue. The issue comes with how bike friendly the actual city of Boulder is! There are crosswalks for pedestrians and bikers that have flashing lights and announce to slow down and stop, and there are bike lanes everywhere.
Bike are people too!
So every day I happen to be riding in the bike lane, or on the sidewalk if there aren’t any and someone almost hits me in that safe area! It’s because many of the drivers here happen to think that the stop line is for your back tire or the back of your car! Then they usually try to make some apologetic gesture, knowing that if they hit me, they would be in a big trouble, legally. So please, be considerate of pedestrians, be efficient but aware, and recognize the fact that your automobile is a powerful weapon if not handled properly.

Let’s keep our streets and sidewalks safe for everyone! Biking is a physically and mentally rewarding activity and although I may not like the snobby cyclists that wear racing gear and use $5,000 bikes to commute, I enjoy biking to work everyday. It is great for the environment, which I care much about, and it’s a decent leg workout if done correctly. Plus, it always wakes me up before I get to work on the early cold days. I love riding through the snow in the mornings here when the powder is untouched.

Oh well, enough of that, thanks for reading and remember to use green and alternative transportation!

Give Your Body [SPECIFIC] Love

Weird title, right? For me, love has a lot to do with health, especially when it comes to one’s body. And it’s very important to love your body. And a way I do that is giving it great workouts. Why do I say specific love? Let me tell you.

A lot of people who aren’t really into fitness or go to the gym as a chore, typically do total-body workouts. Meaning that they will try to work each part of their body (from back to chest to legs, etc.) in one workout. And if you do that workout properly and hard enough, each and every muscle group will be sore.

So I have a question. What are you going to workout the next day if all body parts are sore?

Which is why I say SPECIFIC! You don’t have to be a meat head, a fitness buff, or even in shape to split workouts up properly. You’ll be amazed at how much more effective each workout will be. Usually spend 45 minutes on a total body? Imagine 45 minutes spent just on your legs. Now there’s some defined calves.

And specific doesn’t necessarily mean one muscle group each workout, it could mean two or even more. Usually, we split our workouts into two muscle groups each. For example, yesterday we did back and biceps. Another day we would do chest and triceps. Another day? Shoulders and forearms. Legs we usually keep by itself because there are several large muscles to work (calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, etc.) And so on and so forth. I think you’re getting it. If you want, you can even split it into upper body and lower body workout days. But that will only work if you’re only working out 3 or so days of the week.

By the next day, you’re going to be sore in whatever you worked out. And by the second day after, you should be even more sore. But soreness to me equals happiness, because I know that muscle group is getting stronger. I’ll keep using us as an example. So we worked our back and biceps last night (great workout by the way), which are going to be sore today and tomorrow. Thus, tonight we will most likely work out chest and triceps, core, or something else.

There are so many pros to this way of working out and a very slim amount of cons. The specific muscle groups will get stronger by isolating them, they will develop more quickly, gain endurance, and toning. You will not have all body parts feeling sore and tired thus preventing a good workout.

You have the ability to isolate your workouts. Do it! I hope you can now understand how much better it is. AND it also makes it easier to plan out your workouts, thus making it easier for you to actually workout. I find it’s always easier to follow a workout plan (even if I’m feeling meh that day), because it’s written down what I’m going to do. Trust me, just try it.

Tell us which muscle group is your favorite to workout!

A Walk to Remember

No, I am not talking about that overly-sentimental book/movie by Nicholas Sparks. I’m talking up uphill, climbing rocks, push to get to a Flatiron. Remember that time I talked about how you can use other exercises than using machines for a good leg workout? Forget that. Climb up to the freaking Flatirons. I may have done a leg workout the day before, but that hike accentuated my leg ache more than I can explain. I was hurting the next day, which is always a great thing (if it’s the good kind of pain).

We climbed up to the one on the right

I had made a date with a friend from the nursing home I work part-time at to go for a hike. She told us about Chautauqua Park (where we saw the Reel Rock Film Festival) and how it had tons of trails. We had never gone there to explore any hiking–we had just adventured there once to see those films. Well, let’s just say it wasn’t what we were expecting or what we were prepared for. I, sadly, forgot water for Chris and I (good job there, bud) and we had bellies full of food eaten at the dining hall at the park.

According to my pedometer, it was 4 miles up. It was a steady slow incline at first, and then at the actual flatiron base, it got rocky and steep. My friend was doing it pretty well (she brought water) and suggested we do this at sundown for an amazing scene. Well, we got pretty amazing views without a beautiful sunset to coat the sky. Since it was a Saturday, there were lots of other people, from a group of twenty college boys to couples to dog walkers. Everyone had great trail etiquette and was very friendly.

View to the East

It took about an hour to get up to the top of the flatiron, winding around it, up rocks, and steep hills. Though we were sucking in oxygen the whole time, having a serious case of dry mouth, and cursing our legs for being so sore, we had a great time.

View to the West

The views were absolutely incredible, and I can’t wait to see it during sunset and also when more leaves change.

Leaves slowly starting to change…

We were exhausted afterwards and pretty sore the next day, but it was definitely worth it and we will do it again very soon.

Made up to the top!

Oh and just to throw in here…Misty’s gotten quite adept at walking on small surfaces. Who doesn’t like a kitty picture at the end of a post?

Help, I’m adorable!

How to Get Thor-Like (or Wonder Woman-like) Legs without Machines

Sometimes in life, you don’t have all of the resources you would like. When it comes to fitness and gyms, you may not have all the equipment you would like (or think you may need). This is actually something we’ve stumbled upon as the Boulder Rock Gym doesn’t have many (or any) machines, not counting cables. It is very tough to do a leg workout without machines because it’s difficult to isolate and work each muscle of the leg. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and honey, we’ve got it!

All you really need is 30 minutes to 1 hour. Not bad! As you might have read in our last postwe’re not in the shape we’re used to, so this was a relatively light workout for our standards, but nonetheless, a good leg workout (without machines). Let’s get started.

1. Start with a warm up. Since this is a workout “without machines,” ignore what we did (biked), and go for a run or use a real bike. Try for 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio.

2. Strength time. Get some weights, a barbell, whatever you have. You can always be flexible and substitute for what you don’t have. It’d be great to pull out a jump rope too.

Start with squats. This can be with dumbbells, barbell, or just with your body. I wanna see 10-15 reps, 3 sets. 

Chris performing proper exhalation. VERY IMPORTANT

3. We did a superset (meaning performing a squat and then, with no rest, another exercise), matching squats with jumping rope for however long the other did squats.

4. After that, we did (explosive) step-ups with weights. Get something you can step up onto, at least a foot high. You could use a bench, a chair, whatever. I used our couch the other day (oops). So basically, step onto the platform, weight in hand, and raise your other knee as you do so. Let’s go for 8-15 reps, 3 sets, reps depending on what amount of weights you use.

5. And, for a superset, we did box jumps. You can see the “box” in the left part of the picture above. Basically, do as many jumps over that as you can while the other person finishes their step ups.

6. By this point, we’re feeling pretty tired because most of our exercises have been high-intensity cardio. We move onto plie squats, which I covered here. Turn your feet out with wide horse stance, squat, turn left lunge, then turn right lunge. That’s one rep. Again, look at the other post for more details. Try to get 8-10 reps, 3 sets. 

7. Finally, we end with deadlifts. This is basically a squat, but you start at the bottom position. Keep your back straight and form pristine. 8-12 reps, 3 sets. 

And there you have it. Afterwards, we were pretty exhausted, but we did bouldering for 25 minutes anyways, making our forearms scream. You just need to push yourself to your potential, you can make something great out of any workout. And you didn’t need any machines for this great leg workout! Remember, this workout does not take long. Again, let us know if you have ANY questions, we would really love to help out.

Cheers!