This 20-Minute Home Workout Will Help You Build Lean Muscle in a Hurry

Your struggle to build a stronger lower body outside of the gym ends now. The following tri-sets will focus on your leg strength, isolating each side to accelerate growth and build a powerful core, too. Who said you need a squat rack, anyway?

Perform the first trio of moves back-to-back, only resting after the step-ups. Repeat the process with the second tri-set. If you’ve got dumbbells or kettlebells then you use them as described. But the split squats and step ups work well with just your bodyweight if you don’t have any weights at home. Silence your excuses: it’s only a 20-minute session, after all.

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1A) Bulgarian Split Squat

10 REPS PER SIDE, 3 SETS

Dumbbells and a bench (or box) are enough to create a challenge for your legs. Stand holding the weights by your sides. Rest one foot, laces down, on a bench behind you (A). Bend your standing leg to lower your opposite knee to the floor (B), then push back up. After both legs, move on with minimal rest.

1B) Hamstring Towel Curl

10 REPS PER SIDE, 3 SETS

Next, isolate your hamstrings. Lying on the floor with a towel under one heel, bend your knees and lift your glutes, raising the other leg as you do so (A). Slide your heel along the floor towards your glutes (B), contract your hamstring, then slide back to the start. Proceed to the next move with no rest.

1C) Step-Up With Knee Raise

10 REPS PER SIDE, 3 SETS

With a bench or box in front of you, a dumbbell in each hand, step up with your right foot (A). Drive your left knee up as high as you can (B), then return that foot to the floor before stepping back down with your right. Repeat on the other side and rest for 90 seconds ahead of tri-set two. Stairs will be a struggle tomorrow.

2A) Single-Leg Squat

10 REPS PER SIDE, 3 SETS

Your second tri-set starts with a squat variation that proves you needn’t go heavy to build leg muscles. Sit on a bench or box, with your back straight. Extend your arms in front of you and raise one foot off the floor, level with your hips (A). With tensed abs, push through your grounded foot to stand (B), keeping your other leg raised. Now, slowly sit down. Perform 10 on each side, then start your plank.

2B) Adductor Side Plank

10 REPS PER SIDE, 3 SETS

This plank progression is anything but simple and will strengthen your neglected adductors. Set up with one foot resting on a bench or box, your hands on the floor for support (A). Pressing your foot into the bench, lift your lower leg to move into a side plank, your outer arm extended above you (B). Hold for 30 seconds per side.

2C) Single-Leg Glute Bridge

10 REPS PER SIDE, 3 SETS

Finish the tri-set by firing up your glutes to boost your lower-body power. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and extend one leg upward (A). Drive through your flat heel to lift your hips and raise your glutes off the floor (B). Go as far as you can, hold, then lower. After your reps, rest for 90 seconds before set two of squats.

David Morton is Deputy Editor at Men’s Health, where he has written, worked, edited and sweated for 12 years.

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