A Legs and Abs Workout for a Stronger, Faster Run

Save time in the gym (or at home!) by hitting multiple muscle groups at once.


When you run, the majority of your power comes from your legs, which is why it’s so important to strengthen those lower-body muscles (think: gluteshamstrings, and calves). However, the less obvious muscles that power your miles are the ones in your core: your obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis. In order to maintain your posture and power up hills or sprint to the finish of a race, you’ll need a strong midsection.

That’s why Simone Tchouke, a NASM-certified personal trainer, created a legs and abs workout to strengthen both of these key muscle groups at the same time. As a bonus, you’ll save time in the gym (or at home) because the exercises in Tchouke’s circuit target multiple muscles at once.

How to do it: Perform this circuit three times through, doing 10 to 12 reps of each exercise. Rest as needed.

You’ll need one kettlebell to complete this circuit, an exercise mat is optional.

Kickstand Deadlift

Start with right foot planted, left toes used for balance like a kickstand. Hold a kettlebell in left hand. Then, hinge at the hips as you lower the kettlebell toward floor to perform a deadlift. Complete the reps then repeat on the other side (left foot planted, right toes used for balance like a kickstand, kettlebell in right hand).

Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out, and knees slightly bent. Hinge at the hips with a flat back, and hold kettlebell in right hand using a one-handed, overhand grip on the horns (or handles), arm extended straight down in front of you. Keeping your back neutral, send hips back and draw the bell back until it is between and behind your legs (simulating a player hiking a football to the quarterback).

Squeeze glutes to thrust hips forward and swing the weight up to chest level. You can bend the opposite arm and keep a closed fist close to chest for balance. Allow the weight to swing back between your legs as you extend opposite arm, sending hips back and allowing knees to bend slightly. Complete the reps then repeat with the other arm.

Explosive Air Squat

Stand with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out, and arms at your sides. Send hips back to drop down to a squat position. Explosively straighten legs and chest to return to standing, swinging arms up to chest level with the momentum. Bring arms back to starting position and repeat.

Single-Leg Knee Drive to Glute Bridge

Start laying face-up with right knee bent, right foot flat on floor, and left leg extended. Both arms are resting at sides. Drive left knee toward your chest and press through right heel to lift hips up toward ceiling. Return to starting position. Complete the reps then repeat on other side.

Reverse Lunge to Knee Drive

Start by standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell in right hand. Lunge backward by stepping the left foot back while keeping the right foot in place. Bend the knees and drop the left knee so it’s hovering above the floor, creating a 90-degree angle with both knees. Keep your left knee behind your front toes, your core engaged, and your torso tall, chest lifted. Push through right heel to return to standing, driving left knee up toward chest at the same time. Complete the reps then repeat on other side.

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