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Leg and Shoulder Workout: Train Two Large Muscle Groups at Once

9 min read
a man is doing squat to overhead press with a barbell, leg and shoulder workout
David J. Sautter post Reviewer David J. Sautter post Reviewer
Verified by David J. Sautter
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

Try our leg and shoulder workout as well as combo exercises to work two muscle groups same day. Give them a shot now!

Table of Contents

Please don’t tell me you skip leg day.

If working out your legs isn’t your favorite part of the week, that’s completely understandable. Legs are tough to hit, and even more so if you have stubborn quads and calves.

What if you could trick yourself into enjoying leg day?

It might sound crazy, but it works!

By disguising your leg workout as a shoulder day, not only do you train two large muscle groups at once, but you’ll see far better results.

Let’s take a closer look at leg and shoulder combo exercises, and whether there are any benefits to training these two muscle groups together.

Can You Train Legs And Shoulders On The Same Day?

Yes, you can train legs and shoulders on the same day. This is a common practice in many split routines, where different muscle groups are targeted on different days. It allows you to focus on multiple areas without overworking them.

You can either combine targeted leg and shoulder exercises or build your workout using compound movements that work both muscle groups simultaneously. In this article, we’ll focus on compound exercises for the legs and shoulders.

Is It Effective?

Yes, training legs and shoulders on the same day can be effective. It mostly depends on your fitness goals and overall workout plan. This combination allows you to work on two major muscle groups that don’t directly interfere with each other, which can benefit overall strength and muscle building.

However, ensure not to overwork your body and give each muscle group adequate rest between workouts. Overtraining can lead to injuries and hinder your progress. It’s also crucial to maintain a balanced workout routine that targets all muscle groups evenly.

However, we should note that pairing shoulder and leg muscles in one workout is not the most convenient way to organize your workout split. While it can be effective, there are better ways. For example, working out your shoulders during an arm day or as a part of the push day along with the chest and tricep.

Are There Benefits to Working Legs And Shoulders The Same Day?

There sure are!

Aside from disguising your leg workouts and helping yourself get past the first hurdle of training legs, there are several more benefits to these workouts.

Enjoy Program Diversity

If you’ve been stuck doing a monotonous leg day routine — one reason you might not want to do it — then you can easily mix things up by incorporating shoulders.

There’s considerably less boredom when we do leg and shoulder combo exercises.

Your new shoulder and leg day will give you that much-needed dopamine hit as you take yourself through new fast workout programs.

Avoid Plateaus

On top of it all, switching up the movements provides ample opportunity to break through plateaus. Nobody likes stagnant growth. Or even worse, no growth at all. It’s an end-all-be-all for most people that work out.

That’s not what we want.

Better Frequency

The wonderful thing about utilizing same-day shoulder and leg workouts is the frequency. Think about it. When you combine muscle groups, you essentially kill two birds with one stone. You used to take two separate days for shoulders and legs. Now?

You’re working on them simultaneously.

That means more frequency, more volume, and, you guessed it, more muscle!

Speaking of which…

Maximize Muscle Activation

When you implement a leg and shoulder workout routine, it isn’t just a leg and shoulder workout. There are several secondary muscles at play here. 

For example, your abdominal and stabilization muscles help you control the weight.

That’s the essence of a compound movement: multiple muscles working together. 

This type of training is effective for promoting muscle gain, weight loss, and injury prevention. When you have stronger secondary muscles, and even primary ones, you decrease your risk of injury. The point is, you’ll maintain stronger ligaments and muscle density to carry you through whatever life decides to throw your way.

Burn More Fat

What if your goal is to burn extra fat and look your best at the pool this season?

Intensity is going to be very important, especially if you’re slimming down with an effective leg and shoulder workout. Why is that?

Proper intensity during well-planned leg and shoulder workouts can decrease the number on the scale. Studies show that high-intensity, short-duration workouts are an effective way to target excess body fat and promote overall weight loss.

5 Leg and Shoulder Combo Exercises

Before we cover these exercises, it’s important to note that you should consider doing this workout toward the beginning of the week. Given the intensity, you’ll want to perform your most demanding workouts first. And this definitely qualifies as one demanding workout.

With that said, let’s review the exercises in your new leg and shoulder workout.

Barbell Front Squat to Overhead Press

a man is performing Barbell Front Squat to Overhead Press with barbell_legs and shoulders workout
  • Select a weight that is appropriate for a front squat, NOT a back squat. In other words, don’t go too heavy.
  • Start with the barbell resting across your front deltoids.
  • Move your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
  • While keeping a tight core, lower your hips as if you were trying to take a seat.
  • Pause once your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Push through the heels to return to the starting position.
  • As you come up from this position, press the weight over your head.
  • Lower the bar back onto your shoulders and immediately go into the next repetition.

Dumbbell Squat to Overhead Press

a woman is doing Dumbbell Squat to Overhead Press_legs and shoulders workout

This is the dumbbell version of the first movement, but there’s an important benefit with this variation: the location of the dumbbells.

Since each arm has a dumbbell instead of sharing the barbell, and the dumbbells are more centered with your body, it increases the demand for the stabilizing muscles involved. 

  • Start by holding the weights over your shoulders so that the handle is in line with the lateral deltoid.
  • Perform the same movement as above by kicking your hips back to squat down.
  • As you return to the starting position, press the dumbbells at the top of the movement.
  • Make sure that you are actively pressing the dumbbells and not using momentum to get them up there.

Goblet Squat

a man is doing Goblet Squat with a dumbbell_legs and shoulders workout

For this movement, you can use a dumbbell or a kettlebell. If you’re looking for exercises to help you to learn how to warm up, this is a great option.

  • Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands. 
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out slightly.
  • Keep your back straight, look forward, and push your hips back as you bend your knees to lower into the squat until your thighs are parallel or just below parallel to the ground.

When engaging in tough exercise routines, it’s important to stay informed and keep track of your progress. Use a workout planner app to get all kinds of personalized workouts to fuel your routine and take it to the next level!

Lateral Lunge Single-Arm with Overhead Press

a woman is performing Lateral Lunge Single-Arm with Overhead Press using a dumbbell_legs and shoulders workout

This one lends itself to being a great conditioning exercise since you use less weight but can go for high sets and reps. The goal here is control, so make sure to move the weight slowly and intentionally.

  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Step out (lunge out) and allow the weight to lower in between your legs, but don’t put it on the ground.
  • When you get back to the center at the top of the lunge, press the weight over your head. 
  • Repeat on the other side.

Hex Bar Deadlift to Shrug

a man is performing Hex Bar Deadlift to Shrug_legs and shoulders workout

To perform a Hex Bar Deadlift with Shrug, you will need a hex bar and weight plates. We also recommend lifting gloves to protect your hands.

  • Begin in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Step into the hex bar and place your hands on the handles on either side of the hex bar, just under your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core engaged and your back straight, gently push your hips forward as you begin to lift the bar off of the floor, using both legs to help propel the weight upwards. 
  • As you reach the top of the movement, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then lower the bar back down to the ground, being sure to keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Leg and Shoulder Workout: 3 Sample Routines

Here are a few great examples of a leg and shoulder superset workout that you can begin using today.

Leg and Shoulder Workout #1

Set A

A1) Goblet Squat — 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions

A2) Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise.

Set B

B1) Lateral Raise – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions

B2) Weighted Lunges – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions (each leg)

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise.

Leg and Shoulder Workout #2

Set A

A1) Barbell Back Squat – 4 sets of 5 repetitions

A2) Dumbbell Front Raise – 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise.

Set B

B1) Dumbbell Squat to Press – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions

B2) Arnold Press – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise.

Leg and Shoulder Workout #3

Set A

A1) Hex Bar Deadlift — 4 sets of 8 repetitions

A2) Hex Bar Shoulder Shrugs — 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise.

Set B

B1) Bulgarian Split Squats — 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions (each leg)

B2) Push-Ups — 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions (final set to failure)

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise.

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Final Words

No weightlifting program is complete without a leg and shoulder workout. With the right one, you can lose weight, build muscle, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Training legs and shoulders the same day will have you not only feeling like a superhero but looking like one too! So, will you give it a shot? It’s totally worth it!

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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