A New Look at Bill Phillips’ Lower Body Workout

Lifting free-weight dumbbells is an incredibly effective and efficient way to work the major muscles of your body. The lower body workout I teach at my Transformation Center is all done with dumbbells. The exercises which make up this routine blast the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. When we use the proper form it also strengthens the core, improves flexibility and builds stabilizer muscles which support the knees, ankles, and hips. This lower body workout includes three variations of squats — it is absolutely the best exercise for lower body work and it also is incredibly good for calorie burning and cardiovascular health improvements. This workout is the exact approach that I have followed to rebuild my leg muscles after a brutal injury I suffered a few years ago. This workout works and it’s simple (not easy) to do.

I used this Lower Body Workout to rebuild my leg muscles, at age 50, after an injury which ruptured the quadriceps tendons on both legs.

I used this Lower Body Workout to rebuild my leg muscles, at age 50, after an injury which ruptured the quadriceps tendons on both legs.

With this ‘5-25 Intense Interval Strength Training’ workout I can stick with the same weight for all 5 sets (as opposed to ‘pyramiding’ or increasing weight for each set as we did with Body-for-LIFE). The way 5-25 is designed we reach ‘progressive resistance overload’ (needed for positive muscle adaptations) through fatiguing the muscles more with each set. By your 5th set of 10 reps for each muscle group your muscles will be thoroughly cooked, and that is good!

Lower Body Workout

1. Dumbbell Squats — 10 Reps 2. Straight-Leg Deadlift — 10 Reps 3. Dumbbell Sumo Squats — 10 Reps 4. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raises — 10 Reps 5. Narrow Stance Dumbbell Front Squat — 10 Reps Complete all 5 exercises, 10 reps of each, with no rest between. After you’ve completed all 5 exercises, rest 2 minutes and then repeat the cycle. Aim for the completion of 5 times through the cycle in approximately 25 minutes. ++This workout can be done with a number of different exercise combinations. For example: 10 reps of barbell squats, followed by 10 reps on the leg extension machine, 10 reps of leg curls, 10 seated calf raises,  and 10 reps on the leg press machine. There are many different combinations we can put together to get an excellent high intensity strength training workout for the lower body. ++Never sacrifice good form to lift more weight. Doing the exercises with proper form and lifting the weights slowly and under control is even more important for those of us over 40. The great results from working out consistently come over time. Injuries are setbacks that throw us off track. Good form is one of the keys to keeping your exercise program going and producing great results. lbwo

Dumbbell SquatsphotocatSquatJan-7

Starting Position: Hold two dumbbells at your sides, with your palms facing in. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. The Exercise: While keeping your chin up, bend your legs at the knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then, pushing from your heels, lift yourself back up to the starting position. Breathe out on exertion. Take your time — go lower and slower to fully work the leg muscles.

Straight-Leg Deadlift

DeadliftFinalFinal12-18 Starting Position: Stand up straight, with your feet shoulder width apart and a dumbbell in each hand, your palms facing towards the front of your legs. This is a terrific exercise for the hamstrings, and it helps strengthen the lower back. The Exercise: Bend forward at your hips, and slowly lower the dumbbells in front of you, keeping the weights very close to your legs, until the weights almost tough the floor. Then, while concentrating on the muscles in the back of your legs, raise your upper body and the weights to the starting position. Roll your shoulders back, keep your chin up, take a deep breath and then repeat the exercise.

Dumbbell Sumo Squat

SumoFinal Starting Position: Hold a single dumbbell or ‘kettle bell’ in front of you. Your feet should be pointed out diagonally at about a 45 degree angle. Stand with your feet double shoulder width apart. The Exercise: While keeping your shoulders, back, and head upright, bend your legs at the knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then, pushing from your heels, lift yourself back up to the starting position. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout this exercise.

Standing Dumbbell Calf Raises

photocatFinalCalfRaise12-18 Starting Position: Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing the sides of your hips. Stand with your feet half shoulder width apart. Keep your feet parallel with each other. The Exercise: Keeping your legs straight, raise up on the ball of your feet. When you get to the top hold it for a count of one, then slowly lower to the starting position.

Narrow Stance Dumbbell Front Squat

finalNarrowSquatJan-7 Starting Position: Hold two dumbbells at your sides, with your palms facing in. Stand with your feet half shoulder width apart. The narrow stance will make the quadriceps muscle groups work even harder than regular squats. The Exercise: While keeping your shoulders, back, and head upright, bend your legs at the knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then, pushing from your heels, lift yourself back up to the starting position. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout this exercise. Breathe out on exertion.

Comments

  1. Love this new 5/25 LBWO! Looking forward to leg day next Wed! Bill, comeback from such an injury is phenomenal…..but I wouldn’t expect anything less from you!

  2. Doing these on Friday!

  3. Geri Moore says:

    What is the difference tween a leg extension machine and a leg press machine?

  4. Ann-Marie Mackiewicz says:

    Awesome

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Are we doing abs during our aerobics days? Abs used to be part of lower body in Body for LIFE. When do you work your abs?

  6. Daniel Sanchez says:

    Thanks for sharing this Bill!!! I’m always telling my friends and family that your program works because you keep it simple and uncomplicated, yet it’s very effective and efficient!

  7. Great set of exercises! Do you have any alternatives to squats for those of us with knee injuries, or other chronic knee problems?

    • Karen, if you are doing squats with proper form there should not be any knee agitation. You can use leg press, leg extension, and leg curl machines if you are working out at a gym and are having trouble with the squats.

  8. Thanks you so much for the long awaited Lower Body routine ! Truly appreciate it !

  9. I noticed the change up. why no longer the use of lunges in the routine?
    Johnny Miceli, New Rochelle N.Y.

  10. Bravo Bill I been waiting a long time for you 5/25 lower body workout, thank you.

  11. Looks awesome, I can’t wait to try it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  12. Hey Bill – I used to love squats, but now my knees are older and crunchier and it’s too painful. Extensions with machines are in this mess too, but leg press is ok. I’m struggling to find good options! Any help you can offer would be my golden ticket! Thanks for all you do.

  13. Erik Belle says:

    Love the work-out! As an ex personal trainer I have developed my work-outs around high intensity compound sets, super-sets, tri-sets & partial reps! It does make a huge difference on results

  14. Bill you are the master I could not think differently you are da man!

  15. Ilari Parkkunen says:

    Hi, regular couch potato here with a desk job. Back in the ninetees I used to do Body-for-Life with the recommended supplements. Now wanting to get back in the muscle building game as I’m 40. Today 15 years later my question is – nothing’s upgraded, everything remains the same as in ninetees?

    Thank you!

    • Hello,

      If you had good results before, the same workouts and supplements will still work for you. I recommend Right Light Protein and Strongevity Rx for muscle building and fat loss.

  16. Lyndsey Heath says:

    These are great work outs. You can sure feel it working as long as your technique is right. 😄

  17. rob carpenito says:

    bill,Ive been following you for years,please let me know how you split up upper and lower workout days.ie.Day 1 upper-Day 3 lower-day 5 upper ect.Thanks for your help!!!

  18. Thanks Bill for the lower body routine! I did it this morning it feels great working out again!

  19. Diane Daly says:

    THIS IS EVEN MORE AWESOME! THANK YOU BP!

  20. Hi Bill,
    So tickled to find your blog and to see the 5-25 programme which I can’t wait to try. I have been following/ living B4L for 5 years now as a way of life because of it’s no-nonsense and practical approach as a way of living healthily. As a middle aged woman I can relate to your comments about needing to work out and lift weights safely with ageing body parts!
    Just one query though…
    In your B4L programme you also included an abs component. Do you still do an abs workout as part of your lower body workout?

  21. I actually look forward to doing this new workout now. Less changing of the weights and it’s more fun! Feels great! Thank you!

  22. Dominic Abrahams says:

    Hi Bill, is my understanding that one do cardio twice a week and not thrice a week as previously.. Thank you for being here now in my 40,s!

  23. Hi Bill,

    I notice my forearms fatigue before my legs and I can’t complete full sets. Is that normal or a sign I am using to heavy of weight?

  24. Bill,
    This program is WAY BETTER than P90X3!
    To make it complete I do add stretching in on my off/rest day(Sunday)for about 20 minutes.
    Your the best!

  25. I love this – where can i get those forms with the circles so I can track my workouts?

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