Lower Body Workouts on the Total Gym

Leg Burners for Men & Women

Sexy legs, slender thighs, strength and power development… things every man and woman strives to accomplish!

Leg workouts can be very challenging from a physical and mental perspective, but by dedicating a whole workout session to just training the legs you can achieve great benefits. Leg workouts can vary depending on what your goals are and how you like to train your body. There are many muscles to be worked from different angles and ranges of motion in order to get the complete benefits of strength development, prevent injury, and of course tone the muscles.

Let’s first cover a few key concepts that go along with targeting a specific area. If you don’t already know (and I hate to break it to you now), you cannot spot reduce any one area of the body! You can target a specific area, but you need to incorporate all aspects of health and fitness to change the body. Listed below are some key factors of a complete overall healthy approach to accomplish a well-conditioned lower body!

No program would be complete unless you incorporate all aspects of fitness, which are:

  1. A clean nutritious diet
  2. Good healthy habits
  3. Exercise that includes cardio, strength, & flexibility for your lower body

If you can incorporate these three concepts into your everyday lifestyle, then you are on the road to some amazing benefits and changes that will motivate you and leave you wanting to do more!


Training the lower body has enormous fitness benefits in relation to the glutes, quads, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, and calf muscles. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased overall lean muscle mass
  • Increased overall strength & power
  • Increased circulation
  • Improved calorie and fat burning
  • Improved sports performance
  • Preventing injury
  • Promoting a healthy balance


Ultimately, there are no significant differences in the way men and women train the lower body. Biomechanically speaking, the major differences between men and women are how the proportional size, different in hip angle, and muscle to fat ratios.

During a leg workout, men typically tend to focus their training on working their primary muscle groups. It is important to supplement the primary (larger muscles) with secondary (smaller muscles) because theses smaller muscles provide support for the larger ones and prevent injury. Working secondary muscles also assists in strengthening the joints and ligaments that surround the bones and will provide overall strength development from every muscular angle.

Men and women have the option to train the same way or differently depending on what works best for each person. From my experience and observations, here are what each genders’ goals tend to be and exercises they focus on:

Women’s concerns:

  • Shaping and toning the hips, glutes, thighs, inner/outer thighs and calves
  • Reducing body fat
  • Developing strong, slim, sexy legs
  • Targeting primary & secondary muscles

Examples of exercises to target these concerns include: leg/glute lifts, squats, lunges, curtseys, plies, bridges, and a lot of pulses for a deep burn!

Prescription: higher reps (15-25), lighter weight

Men’s concerns:

  • Overall balance of muscle development
  • Strength & power
  • Speed & quickness
  • Tend to focus on only primary muscles

Examples of exercises to target these concerns include: squats, lunges, power movements (cleans), leg press, leg extension, hamstring curls, calve raises, and deadlifts.

Prescription: lower reps (6-12), heavier weight

Typically, men work out with a smaller rep range compared to females because they want to develop more mass and strength. Women tend to focus on smaller resistance and do more reps to burn out the muscle for a long, lean, toned look. With this being said, leg workouts can be physically and mentally challenging anyway they are performed. The Total Gym is an excellent way to train the primary and secondary muscles through functionally activating the body through different motions. This is important for both genders for strength, toning and injury prevention.


I have compiled the best leg exercises to train and strengthen your legs using the Total Gym equipment. These exercises are functional, multi-directional, and will work every angle of the lower body to develop strength as well as sculpt and tone your body.


  1. Single leg squats (adv. plyometric)(med- high level)
  2. Bridge press (single/ both legs) (medium/ high level)
  3. Glute kick backs (medium/ high level)
  4. Step ups (adv tap overs) (medium level)
  5. Curtsy lunges (low level)
  6. Straight leg dead-press (low level)
  7. Cable leg sweeps (medium level)
  8. Cable leg circles (medium level)



These leg exercises can be performed either in a circuit or superset format.

CIRCUIT: Perform each exercise (1-7) one after the other without resting. After one round is complete, hold a plank for an active rest, grab some water, then repeat the circuit 2-3 more times.

SUPERSET: Perform 2-3 exercises back to back and repeat those before moving on to the next exercise completing 2-3 sets of each exercise grouping.
Superset Example:

  • Exercise 1 -alternate right/ left leg 2-3 sets (while 1 leg is working, the other is resting)
  • Exercises 2, 3, & 4 -perform these 3 exercises consecutively without rest 2-3 sets.
  • Exercises 5 & 6 -alternate right/ left leg 2-3 sets
  • Exercises 7 & 8 – perform each exercise on one leg, then repeat on the other leg 2-3 sets.

If you are looking to build muscle, strength, and mass: stick to a 6-12 rep range at a higher incline depending on the exercise.

If you are looking to sculpt, tone, and slenderize the thighs: stick to a higher rep range of 15-25 at a medium- high incline depending on the exercise.

Note: Some exercises are more challenging at a lower incline.

Try to perform 2-3 workouts per week on nonconsecutive days that specifically focus on training and conditioning the lower body muscles. You should vary you leg workouts slightly each time you work out to create muscle confusion, which produces better results. You can achieve this by changing the exercises, the number of reps, the tempo, the equipment, the exercise combination, and/or the range of motion.

Good Luck!
Maria Sollon Scally

Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi Maria, thank you for the workout tips.
    Is there any way to simulate deadlifts on the total gym?

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