20 Minute Bodyweight Leg Workout | Calisthenics Giant Sets

20 Minute Bodyweight Leg Workout | Calisthenics Giant Sets is a short but intense body weight strength workout from Caroline Girvan. During the month of December she created a lot of short workouts (most 20 minutes). I’m on the last week of my 7 Week Rotation and it is all body weight workouts, so this fit in perfectly. No equipment does not mean this is any easier than any of Caroline’s other intense lower body workouts. Caroline burned my legs out big time and over an hour later, I still feel it! What an excellent workout. You can use it on its own if you want to, you could use it as a finisher at the end of another lower body or total body workout or you can use it like I did today. I combined it with Naomi Joy‘s excellent upper body bodyweight strength workout for a total body workout session–sans dumbbells. Since this workout does not have a warm up, I also used Heather Robertson‘s 5 Minute Booty Burn as my warm up, which was perfect. BTW–all of the workouts mentioned in this review (including this one) are perfect travel workouts.

This workout is made up of giant sets, which is 4 exercises done back to back without any rest. Each exercise is done for 30 seconds. Between each giant set you get 20 seconds of rest. There is a timer in the upper left hand side of the screen counting down your intervals and recovery. During the recovery Caroline previews the next giant set. There is also a little bar at the bottom of the screen that counts down the entire workout time as a percentage. This workout is done to music with plenty of visual cues as well as “dings” to keep you on track.

20 Minute Bodyweight Leg Workout | Calisthenics Giant Sets is 25 minutes; 40 second intro, no warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment: chair or high step, a yoga block and a mat. I used my square high step at 18 inches for the Bulgarian lunges, the step topper (4 inches) for elevated lunges and a set of dumbbells to raise my heels for heel elevated squats.

Giant Set 1:

  1. Elevated lunge (stationary/static lunge, front foot is on yoga block)
  2. Rear step lunge (reverse lunges, front foot is still elevated on yoga block)
  3. Repeat #1 & 2

Repeat Giant Set 1 on other side of body

Giant Set 2:

  1. Step out to elevated curtsy lunge (curtsy lunges w/ front foot elevated on yoga block)
  2. Curtsy lunge to stand (lower into curtsy lunge and when you come out of lunge, front leg straightens and you raise back foot off floor, front foot is still elevated on yoga block)
  3. Repeat #1 & 2

Repeat Giant Set 2 on other side of body

Giant Set 3:

  1. Bulgarian lunge (back leg is elevated on chair)
  2. Forward leaning Bulgarian lunge (same as #1 but lean torso forward over front leg)
  3. Repeat #1 & 2

Repeat Giant Set 3 on other side of body

Giant Set 4:

  1. Hamstring hold (one leg is extended on the mat, knee slightly bent, heel is elevated on yoga block, other leg is raised, lift hips and keep hips/glutes raised isometrically for 30 seconds)
  2. Full range hamstring lift (same position as #1 but raise and lower hips)
  3. Repeat #1 & 2

Repeat Giant Set 4 on other side of body

Giant Set Finisher:

  1. Heel elevated squat hold (heels are elevated on yoga block, lower into a squat and hold isometrically)
  2. Pulses (same position as #1, pulse glutes up and down at bottom of squat)
  3. Half reps (same position as #1, lower to bottom of squat but only raise halfway)
  4. Full range squat (heels still elevated)

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


2 thoughts on “20 Minute Bodyweight Leg Workout | Calisthenics Giant Sets

  1. Hamstring holds are soooo difficult, especially when Caroline puts them at the end. It’s definitely one of those sneakily tough exercises.

    Yesterday was my leg day. I did https://youtu.be/4MTgA7veAs0 and https://youtu.be/zgnXt9c5zzA. Many of the exercises were the same between the two but tempo and time was different so the burn was different which made them quite complementary.

    Today was total body (https://youtu.be/QD90RtXFXbg) and cardio (https://youtu.be/XTzgm-pMQ6I). The first one was pretty standard fare but I’d say it was more chest- and abs-heavy. The jack challenge was tough because there were no breaks. Every other exercise is a jack variant. I had to pause several times. This one really needed breaks but I imagine to keep the published length around 20 min she eliminated them.

    Tomorrow is my birthday so I’ve selected a low-key rebounder workout (https://youtu.be/U7vDjooyJho). Like you, I’m really jonesing for dumbbell workouts so I’m looking forward to Caroline’s endgame!


    1. Looks like some fun and intense workouts! I know have most of her calisthenics workouts on my To Do list but only one of them scheduled for next month. Happy birthday! New Years eve baby! I was almost a New Years Day baby. I was born the wee hours of the morning on Jan 2–so our birthdays are within days of each other! You’re also a Capricorn–I’m not an astrology nut but there is something to the signs. I think being a Capricorn is one of the reasons I can get up every single morning for the past 20 years and workout.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s