Four moves and five minutes to boost your balance and develop leg strength

This quick circuit will help you build stronger legs and boost your metabolism in a matter of minutes

WithU trainer Omar Mansour performing an exercise from his bodyweight leg workout
(Image credit: WithU / Omar Mansour)

You won't always have an hour to exercise, but there are plenty of benefits to adding a little bit of extra activity into your day, no matter how short. 

This quick workout is a great option when you're pushed for time. It takes just five minutes and exclusively uses bodyweight exercises, so whether you're at home or in a hotel room, you can lace up a pair of cross-training shoes and get moving. 

The session was programmed for Fit&Well by Omar Mansour, a trainer with audio-led fitness app WithU

It features four leg exercises — bodyweight squats, pulse squats, lateral lunges and jumping lunges — which are performed as a circuit. 

This is sure to test your muscular endurance and boost your leg strength. All of the moves will activate your core muscles to keep your spine stable, while exercises like lateral lunges can also improve your mobility and boost your balance. 

Omar Mansour's four-move leg workout

Set a five-minute timer then perform each move 10 times. After you've completed all four, return to the squats and restart the sequence. 

Continue this until the five minutes are up, aiming to complete as many repetitions as possible in that time while maintaining good form throughout.

1. Bodyweight squat

WithU trainer Omar Mansour performing a squat

(Image credit: WithU / Omar Mansour)
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out slightly.
  • Tighten your core and start to shift your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips behind you.
  • Bend at the knees to lower your hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the ground.
  • Keep your spine neutral and your chest proud then push through your heels to return to the start position.  

2. Pulse squat

WithU trainer Omar Mansour performing a pulse squat

(Image credit: WithU / Omar Mansour)
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out slightly.
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel or just below parallel with the floor. This is your starting position.
  • Drive back up by pushing the ground away through the heels, stopping when you reach one quarter of the way to standing.
  • Squat back down to parallel, making sure to keep a neutral spine throughout. This is one repetition.
  • After you’ve completed all 10 repetitions, push through both feet until you’re standing tall.

3. Lateral lunge

WithU trainer Omar Mansour performing a lateral lunge

(Image credit: WithU / Omar Mansour)
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a big step to the side with your left leg, then bend your left knee, pushing your hips back. 
  • Lower your hips until your left knee is bent 90°, then push through your left foot to return to the starting position. 
  • Complete 10 reps before switching sides and doing 10 reps on your right leg. 

4. Jumping lunge

WithU trainer Omar Mansour performing jumping lunges

(Image credit: Future)
  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, core engaged, and chest proud, step back with your left leg and lower into a lunge.
  • Push through the ball of your left foot to jump up, switching legs in mid-air so your right foot lands as the rear foot. 
  • Try to keep your knees stacked under your hips throughout, and use your arms for momentum to help you jump explosively, landing with both knees at 90 degrees. 
  • Keep switching legs with each repetition until you reach 10. 

What are the benefits of this workout?

One of this workout's biggest selling points is its length — at just five minutes, it's short enough to slip into a hectic schedule. But just because it won't take a huge chunk out of your day, that doesn't mean it's not effective.  

After all, this five-minute bout will still contribute towards the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, if you push the pace) per week recommended by the American Heart Association.  

The organization lists benefits of boosting the amount you move including a lower risk of heart disease, better sleep and less weight gain, as well as a lower risk of related health conditions. 

The leg exercises in Mansour's workout can also strengthen the muscles and bones in your lower body, protecting you against future injuries. Meanwhile, exercises like lateral lunges and jumping lunges will put your balance and mobility to the test, helping you improve in both areas. 

If you want more short sessions to sprinkle into your week and up your activity levels, why not try our selection of five-minute workouts

Or, if you're interested in honing in on your mobility and balance, you might want to give these three strength-building yoga exercises for beginners a go. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.