This session is kicked off with box jumps, a criminally underused and highly effective exercise. While these alone aren’t going to give you legs like Chris Hoy, performing them regularly – and as a warm-up exercise before you get into your heavy lifting – will fire up your nervous system and stimulate the fast-twitch muscles neglected with low-intensity weightlifting. The result? You’ll not only be able to lift more, but you will also stimulate more muscle growth during each workout.

Muscles primed and nervous system prepped, it’s into the main body of the workout. You’re going to hit 4 sets of barbell front squats, which are more lower-back friendly than the back variety, but don’t think that means they’re easy. Your quads are going to feel the full force of these – which makes those warm-up box jumps even more essential.

Heaviest lift out the way, it’s onto the more glute and hamstring-dominant split squats and lunges, which are going to strengthen the back half of your lower body. Finally, single-leg deadlifts will develop the proprioception and unilateral strength required for virtually every sport.

Although the focus is on the lower body here, pay close attention to keeping your shoulders back and your chest up throughout each exercise to ensure correct form.

Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

1. Box Jump

Reps: 5
Rest: 60 secs
Sets: 4

  • Stand just in front of a box with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Swing arms and hinge hips back with a tall chest, flat back, and engaged core.
  • Swing arms forward, using momentum to jump up and slightly forward, landing softly with both feet completely on the box.
  • Stand up, locking out your knees and extending your hips.
  • Carefully step back down to the ground.

Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

2. Barbell Front Squat

Reps: 4
Rest: 90 secs
Sets: 4

  • Take the bar out of the rack with your hands crossed over your chest, supporting it across the front of your shoulders.
  • Squat down, keeping your chest up, then drive up through your heels to stand.

Shifting the bar to the front moves the emphasis to your quads, but also makes the move safer, because you’ll be less likely to tip forward and endanger your lower back. If you haven’t got the elbow mobility to do the Olympic lifters’ version (bar held in place by your fingertips), use this variation.

Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

3. BB Split Squat

Reps: 8 each side
Rest: 60 secs
Sets: 4

  • Start in a split stance, with one foot in front of the other, holding a bar across the back of your shoulders.
  • Bend both legs until your trailing knee touches the floor.
  • Straighten both legs to return to the start, then go straight into the next rep.

Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

4. Dumbbell Lunge

Reps: 8 each side
Rest: 60 secs
Sets: 3

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, take one step forward and lower your body until both knees are bent at 90 degrees.
  • Push off your front foot to reverse the movement.

Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK Strengthen Your Legs & Core With This Lower Body Workout | Men's Fitness UK

5. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Reps: 8 each side
Rest: 60 secs
Sets: 3

  • Stand on one leg, holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand.
  • Bend forward until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings, then straighten up.

This move challenges your balance and proprioception, while firing up your hamstrings.