Try This Leg Day Mixed with Mobility Day Option to Relieve Soreness

A Marine stretches before a squad competition aboard Camp Geiger, N.C.
U.S. Marine Corps LCpl. Omari R. Mitchellhoke, with Motor and Transportation Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, School of Infantry-East, does some final stretching before conducting the squad competition aboard Camp Geiger, N.C., Nov. 22, 2013. (LCpl. Nicholas J. Trager/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Have you ever felt like doing a leg day when your legs were not 100% recovered from leg activity earlier in the week? If you are mixing lifting, high-repetition calisthenics, rucking and other load-bearing activities into your week, chances are that you may feel the burn on a leg day later in the week.

Recently, a few people in our local training group had some stiffness (not severe soreness) in their legs from activity three days before. This workout was beneficial for all to have "a little hair of the dog that bit them" to help break up this soreness.

Here is an answer for you, if you ever feel similarly, that mixes in some leg-day activity with a mobility and easy cardio session.

Warm up with air squats (no weight) and run/walk half-pyramid

  • Do one squat, run or walk 50 meters
  • Do two squats, run or walk 50 meters
  • Do three squats, run or walk 50 meters ...
  • Keep going up the pyramid until level 10 and stop

This totals 55 squats and 500 meters of walking or jogging. Mix in some dynamic stretches to help loosen up the legs before your leg day.

Follow the squat half-pyramid with an easy one-mile run or walk, or a 10-minute bike ride.

Mobility and Lower Body

For a normal mobility day, you do five minutes of cardio of your choice, followed by five minutes of stretching, foam rolling or massage tool. If you feel the need, do the first set like a normal mobility day to loosen up, then try the remaining sets with the following leg exercises done during the five-minute segment of the normal mobility day (see mobility day video walk-through):

Repeat five times.

  • Cardio or stretch: 5 minutes
  • Leg exercises: 5 minutes

See below for exercises you can fit into this five-minute section.

5 Minutes of Leg Options

*EMOM = every minute on the minute

Calisthenics 5-Minute Circuit

  • Squats: 1 minute
  • Walking lunges: 1 minute
  • Heel raises: 1 minute
  • Step-ups: 1 minute

Stretch 15 seconds between each of the above exercises.

Kettlebell 5-Minute Circuit

  • KB swings: 1 minute
  • KB squats: 1 minute
  • KB Romanian deadlift: 1 minute
  • KB walk: 1 minute

Stretch 15 seconds between each of the above exercises.

You can also fit in your normal leg-day workout exercises into these five-minute segments reserved for your leg-day activities. This way, you can reduce the amount of volume but still challenge your legs. You will find the five minutes of cardio and/or stretches between these leg sets to be very helpful with any mild soreness from a prior leg day.

If you are feeling serious soreness, you might be better off with the regular Mobility Day and just do several sets of non-impact cardio, followed by five-minute sets of stretching and massaging.

-- Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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