How to build up your legs during your lunch hour

Quick exercises to improve your cycling in 60 minutes

Jonathan Lewis, trainer and physio with London’s Balance Performance Physiotherapy, shares some quick exercises that will boost your muscles during your lunch break.


Once you’ve mastered these moves, take a look at our how to build legs like a superhero article for further advice on improving your pins.

1. Step back lunges

Repeat on each leg
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Use two equal weights and perform a bow-like move: the step back lunge. Stand with your feet at hip width, pointing slightly outward. ‘Hinge’ through the hip and sink onto the knee of your front leg — which remains planted — while stepping the other leg back a fair way and slightly outward.

Use two equal weights
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Lower your body, holding it vertically, as far as possible. Flexing the rear knee will let it get close to the floor. Powerfully return to the start position by driving through the front foot. Repeat this movement on the opposite leg, alternating between sides.

2. Yoga squats

Yoga squats help glutes, hamstrings and calves. Stand with your feet apart, then fold through your hips and knees as deep as you can, heels flat on the floor. In the squat position, keep your feet parallel (but open them up if you can’t otherwise go deep).

At the deepest position place your fingertips on the floor in front of you, drop the top of your head and raise your hips back up as far as you can without your fingers leaving the ground.

Then reverse back to the deep squat, drop your hips to the ground and lift your head. Take your hands off the floor and push back up to a standing position.

3. Mountain climber sprints

The mountain climber
The mountain climber
Immediate Media

Mountain climber sprints are great for trunk strength and control. Get into a push-up position and bring the right knee in towards the chest, keeping the foot off the floor. Run/sprint in place so that you alternately bring one knee up powerfully beneath you while the opposite foot springs backwards.

Your spine should be strong, straight and long, your head not hanging between your arms, your hips level or lower than your shoulders. Alternate/run the feet at a pace to complete 60-, 40- and then 20-second sets.

4. Table thrust

Not only will this work leg muscles, it will also strengthen your hips, trunk and back. Sit on the floor in an ‘M’ shape with your knees bent and feet flat, arms behind you and palms flat on the floor, gazing forward.

Thrust your hips up, push through your palms and gaze skywards. You should be making a ‘table’ shape — four straight legs and a flat table top, without over-arching the lower back. Ensure that your rib cage and pelvis stay connected at your front by keeping your core solid.


Updated 11 January 2018