EPIC LEG DAY – Dumbbell Leg Workout | EPIC III Program Day 1

I was pretty excited about Caroline Girvan‘s newest EPIC program. In the free program guide she created on her website, she says that unlike her other programs, this one contains more repetition. I was pleased to read that because I do think repetition is very important in serious strength training. Dumbbell Leg Workout is Day 1 in Caroline’s EPIC III program. Since this is the first workout in the program, Caroline spends the first part of the intro talking about the program before she moves onto talking about the workout. I am not doing EPIC III as a program. I do plan to do the first 3 EPIC III workouts this week because they look so awesome but after that I will be picking and choosing just like I have done with her other 3 EPIC programs.

This was a great lower body strength workout. It was not easy but I did find it easier than some of Caroline’s other lower body workouts. That is not a bad thing. It gives you the opportunity to lift heavy and really focus on form and depth. My lower body feels well worked. There is a staple exercise that really started fatiguing my legs: Kneeling to Squat (#6 below). You will repeat that exercise a total of 5 times. 4 times with a dumbbell and once body weight. Caroline uses her 33 pound dumbbells for everything except that exercise. She uses her 17.6 pound dumbbell for that one. Probably because it does get so fatiguing. Especially the final time you do it. You would think it would be easier because you are not using the dumbbell the last time but you just finished body weight elevated rear lunges (#27 below) so if you were using your elevation properly and really going for depth on the lunge, your legs are already fatigued from that exercise. Then you do the staple Kneeling to Squat and since it is body weight, Caroline does it faster than she did when using a dumbbell. My legs were burning! The good burn though! This was another excellent workout.

This workout is done interval style: 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of recovery. There is a timer in the upper left hand corner of the screen counting down your intervals and recoveries. Caroline previews the next exercise during the recovery. There is also a little bar at the bottom of the screen that counts down the entire workout time as a percentage. Caroline has a new 5 minute warm up for her EPIC III program so that is what I did before starting this workout. This workout is pretty metabolic. Including the warm up, I burned 383 calories.

Dumbbell Leg Workout is 46:17 minutes; 2:55 minute intro, no warm up and 3 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells, a yoga block and a fitness mat. Caroline is using 15kg/33 pounds and one 8kg/17.6 pounds dumbbell. The weights listed below are what I used. Instead of a yoga block, I used a set of 5 pound dumbbells to elevate my heels (#8 below) and my square step topper (4 inches) for the elevated rear lunges (#27 below)

  1. Squats (25# DBs)
  2. Repeat #1
  3. Static/stationary lunge (20# DBs)
  4. Repeat #3 on other side of body
  5. Repeat #3 & 4
  6. Kneeling to squat (start in kneeling lunge with one DB held at shoulder of front leg, step back leg forward into squat then return to kneeling lunge) (one 16.5# DB)
  7. Repeat #6 on other side of body
  8. Heel elevated squats (heels are elevated on yoga block) (25# DBs)
  9. Repeat #8
  10. Forward lean dumbbell tap lunge (stationary/static lunge, torso is leaned forward over front leg at bottom of lunge, hold one DB in same side hand as back leg, when you lower to bottom of lunge, tap DB to floor) (one 25# DB)
  11. Repeat #10 on other side of body
  12. Repeat #10 & 11
  13. Repeat #6 & 7
  14. Staggered squat (single leg squat, back leg is in kickstand with toe on floor (so all of your weight is on front/working leg), hold one DB in same side hand as working leg) (one 25# DB)
  15. Repeat #14 on other side of body
  16. Repeat #14 & 15
  17. Lateral lunges (stationary alternating side lunges, hold one DB in both hands, you will stay low for the entire interval, shifting from side to side) (one 30# DB)
  18. Repeat #17
  19. Repeat #6 & 7
  20. RDL w/ 2 DBs (Romanian deadlift) (35# DBs)
  21. Repeat #20
  22. 1/2 rep RDLs w/ 1 DB (lower to bottom of deadlift but only raise halfway) (one 30# DB)
  23. Repeat #22
  24. Repeat #6 & 7
  25. x5 pulse goblet squats to stand (holding one DB goblet style, lower to bottom of squat and pulse 5x before raising back to standing) (one 35# DB)
  26. Repeat #25
  27. Body weight elevated rear lunges (step back reverse lunges, front foot is on yoga block)
  28. Repeat #27 on other side of body
  29. Repeat #27 & 28
  30. Repeat #6 & 7 but body weight/no DBs

Finisher: Squat to alternating rear lunge for 60 seconds (body weight–squat + reverse lunge + squat + reverse lunge other leg)

For more info on Caroline Girvan’s workouts and other (free) streaming workouts I’ve sampled and reviewed, check out my Streaming page.

4 thoughts on “EPIC LEG DAY – Dumbbell Leg Workout | EPIC III Program Day 1

  1. Just wait til you get to day 3, epic III abs and glutes! I think it is her hardest glute workout to date, so be ready!!!! I tried to use 45 lbs for the hip thrusts like you in one of her previous workouts, I usually use 40 and about halfway thru the first set, had to hit pause and switch them out, it hurt to sit down the next day!


    1. I read what she wrote below the video–she said she thinks it’s her most intense! I am nervous. I scheduled it for Saturday so I could add on a long lower body stretch at the end.


      1. I did an extra long stretch afterwards and stretched my lower back, by the time I got to the sumo squats my lower back was really feeling it too! Just curious have you ever tried using a barbell for hip thrusts, squats etc? I know she never does, but she has incredible grip strength and mine is nowhere near like hers and sometimes I think I might be able to go heavier with a barbell. Don’t worry you will love the workout, it is intense though!


      2. I have used a barbell before for both. I don’t have problem grip wise with my 40 pound dumbbell for hip thrusts–my glutes just literally cannot seem to manage any heavier. I have done a few of Caroline’s workouts where I felt like I could probably increase my dumbbell weight but I haven’t return to those specific workouts yet. But I always start with the 40 now because when I tried to heavy up the first time through it killed me. I do plan to start returning to some of my favorite workouts in October. But yes, I have used a barbell for hip thrusts before, just not Caroline’s workouts.

        For squats, I prefer dumbbells but that is due to chronic shoulder problems. Sometimes getting a barbell over my head to set on my shoulders will tweak my shoulder. Since I’ve had rotator cuff surgery I avoid doing anything that tweaks my shoulders. But I also do not lift super heavy for squats anyway. The first time I did Cathe’s STS, I used her program that calculated my weights each week for progressive overload. At one point it had me using 45 pound dumbbells for squats. Not only was my grip suffering but my thighs got enormous. Since then I’ve pretty much limited myself to 25 pound dumbbells for squats and one 50 pound dumbbell for sumo squats.


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