Best Tonal Leg Workouts You Should Try

I’ve been using Tonal for a number of months and I love it. One of the reasons I fall in love with this machine is its leg workouts.

Today I want to share how I use Tonal leg workouts to build strong legs, big glutes, and reduce this annoying back pain.

Why do I like training my leg on Tonal?

Although I do like to create my own custom workout plan, Tonal has over 45 different leg exercises that target the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hips.

It doesn’t have lots of resistance (up to 200lbs) but when combined with Dynamic Modes like burnout mode, eccentric mode, and chains, it does fatigue my muscles.

For my ideal workout week, I like to do old-school leg workouts (leg day, upper-lower split, etc.) together with a full-body session. (Depends on how I feel.)

My typical Tonal leg workout

I usually train my leg on Tonal using their lower body strength programs, as well as specific muscle-oriented workouts (e.g., glutes).

I also like to mix strength with stretching, mobility, and yoga to help me either improve my recovery or if I just want to focus on strengthening my knees (I have bad knees from a previous injury.)

What I love about the Tonal leg workouts is they all give me the chance to play around with Dynamic Modes.

This makes the workout more fun (and more challenging).

How do I choose Tonal leg workouts?

The type of workout I choose I often based on my personal preferences, current fitness goals (they change a lot), and personal abilities (ahh this knee pain…)

For example, with my bad knees, I don’t usually follow the same leg workout as some professionally trained athletes (obviously).

My favorite Tonal leg workouts

The Tonal work my legs in multiple ways.

Full-body workout

On some days I train my legs with Tonal using a full-body workout. They cover all major muscle groups in one gym session.

For example, in one workout I will work not only on my legs but also on the chest, back, and shoulders.

According to my Instagram feed, the full body wokrouts are often used by beginners, physique athletes, and powerlifters who want to build strength, but don’t want to put in an extra amount of muscle mass.

Bro split

This one is more difficult and can last for 40 to 60 minutes where I spend the whole session training only my legs.

This is typical bodybuilding split training where I target one major muscle group per day.

A great example of this leg workout would be a Tonal Leg Day, where I do 5 to 6 leg exercises once per week.

This type of leg training is good for advanced lifters, bodybuilders, and people who want to build a lot of muscle.


(This workout is very popular on TikTok.)

More recently, I started doing PPL (push-pull-legs) routine.

Push/pull/legs work by dividing my training days into separate push days (exercises on chest, shoulders, triceps), pull days (back and biceps), and legs (all lower-body muscles).

For me, it allows for a high frequency (typically twice per week for each day) with enough rest days for recovery.

Upper/lower split

Upper lower split is another popular split training program that allows for separate wokrouts for two days – upper body and lower body.

This training method is good for intermediate people, as well as athletes and runners who need to implement strength training into their regular field workouts.

How effective are Tonal leg workouts?

For me, Tonal leg wokrouts are effective (and important) to developing a well-rounded physique and reducing lower back pain (and knee pain).

Plus, regular leg training helps me to get stronger not only in the lower body but also in the upper body.

This last part is very important.

One study has shown that “training programs focused on lower-body muscle hypertrophy and maximal strength can stimulate greater strength and power gains in the upper body”.

This happens due to acute testosterone response (which affects the whole body, not just the legs).

“Immediately after a leg workout, there is an acute spike in the levels of anabolic hormones like testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone,” states the research.

“These temporary hormonal changes have a positive effect not only on the legs but on the whole body,” according to a study.

(Which is one of the reasons why you should never skip training your legs).

Tonal leg workouts help with my bad posture

Another reason why I’m addicted to training my legs on Tonal is that I noticed my posture is getting better. (My wife said I don’t slump anymore, whatever she means by that.)

According to the cross-sectional study, “postural adaptations (also called postural changes) is the way the body starts to adapt to the position that we spend the most time in.”

According to this study “prolonged sitting or physical inactivity can lead to glute inactivity (weakness) and reduced passive hip extension.”

Another study has shown that “normal hip extension mobility is imperative for normal mechanical load distribution in the hip and for efficient metabolic demands in standing”.

In other words, regular leg workouts on the Tonal help me engage my hip muscles more efficiently, which translates into less compensation in the lumbosacral region, therefore, better posture and less low back pain.

What leg exercises do I do on Tonal?

Almost everything. (There are over 20 of them.)

Compound leg exercises

Tonal allows me to do almost all compound exercises that I can in the gym. These include deadlifts, squats, lunges, reverse lunges, glute bridges, and hip thrusts. (It does not have an option for a leg press.)

Isolation leg exercises

The Tonal cable machine has a handful of isolation leg exercises. These include calf raises and cable kickbacks. (Sorry, you cannot do leg curls or leg extensions with Tonal.)

Unilateral leg exercises

Single-leg exercises that I do on Tonal include single-leg RDL, Bulgarian split squat, single-leg glute bridges, and resisted step-ups.

I do a lot of single-leg exercises (unilateral) on Tonal becasue it helps to improve my muscular imbalances. It also allows me to train around my injury.

Bodyweight leg exercises

Tonal also has 25 assisted bodyweight exercises (no resistance). These include bodyweight squats, bodyweight split squats, lunges, skater bounds, and high knees.

Tonal leg workout for beginners

The Tonal gym did a great job at dividing their workouts into three groups:

  • beginners
  • intermediate
  • advanced

It has over 70 leg workouts for beginners that include high-intensity, strength training, pilates, yoga, and mobility.

What’s the difference?

Tonal beginner workouts include fewer compound exercises with a heavy load and more assisted bodyweight moves (without resistance).

I also noticed that beginner workouts have fewer reps and sets, which doesn’t seem to get my heart rate as high as when I do more “advanced” classes.

(Sorry, programs.)

Intermediate and advanced workouts do not have much core and bodyweight stuff. They also have way more Dynamic Modes, more reps, and sets, which significantly increase my effort.

Which Tonal leg workout is best for beginners?

For me, the best Tonal leg workout for beginners is a full-body split. It targets the leg muscles with heavy compound exercises multiple times per week while keeping the training volume low.

Here is an example of my week on beginner full-body workout split.

Days of the weekTonal workoutsDuration
MondayMetabolic Strength with Brendon49 minutes
TuesdayCardio workout (Heart rate zone 2)30 minutes
WednesdayFoundations Of HIIT with Liz30 minutes
ThursdayRest day10 minutes
30 minutes
FridayStrength From The Ground Up with Liz37 minutes
SaturdayAerobic training (Heart rate zone 2)30 minutes
SundayRest and active recovery
Tonal leg workout for beginners

As you can see, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I have a full-body workout.

Each of these sessions includes:

  • 2 blocks of exercises (with 3 sets of each per block)
  • 3 exercises per block (6-9 leg exercises per week)
  • 2-3 leg exercises in total

Can a Tonal leg workout build muscle?

You bet.

Tonal has over 30 leg workouts that are good for building muscle and strength. (These are mainly full-leg days.)

On occasion, I made my wokrouts more challenging by adding the help of Dynamic Modes like Spotter, Chains, Burnout Mode, and my favorite Eccentric mode (which works similarly to eccentric training).

Which Tonal leg workout is best for building muscle?

If you’re an advanced lifter, the best Tonal leg workout for building muscle is gonna be bro split (also called Split weight training).

This one involves separate exercises for each group of muscles.

For example, one day is for the legs, one day for the chest, and one day for the back (usually 5 workouts a week).

If you want more muscle, this type of training split allows for maximizing training volume, especially if you’re already strong (and big) and you chase more gains.

Here is an example of a Tonal leg workout for building muscle.

Days of the weekTonal workout plan
SaturdayAerobic training (Heart rate zone 2)
SundayRest and active recovery
Tonal leg workout for building muscle

Best Tonal leg wokrouts for building muscle

Some of the best Tonal leg wokrouts for building muscle include:

  • Strength with Trace
  • Strength with Woody
  • Strength with Paul
  • Strength with Allison
  • High-Powered Lower Body with Allison

What’s the hardest Tonal leg workout?

As a whole, the hardest Tonal leg workout is a 52-minute advanced Lower Body Build class with coach Nicolette.

This session incorporates exercises like deadlifts, squats, and pull-throughs with heavy load (70-90% of your 1RM) and low rep range, which is effective for building strength and muscle.

How often do I train legs on Tonal?

I like to do separate leg workouts twice a week. On top of that, I do 3-4 full body workouts.

If you like doing a full-body split (let’s say, 3 times per week) then it’s a good idea to customize your workouts and add more leg exercises.

As a general rule, the number of leg workouts you should be doing on Tonal per week needs to be in line with the type of workout you do, as well as your weekly training volume.

Can I work out my legs every day?

I don’t.

That can lead to overtraining, and muscle fatigue, and increase your risk of injury (no thanks, I already have one.)

Here is an example of my Tonal leg workout using the full-body split routine.

Days of the weekExercises
MondayBarbell Back Squats
Cable Bench Press
Seated Row
Step Ups
Biceps Curl
Overhead Press
Cable Chest Flyes
Side lunges
Triceps Extensions
FridayBend-Over Row
Barbell Front Squats
Seated Pull-Down
Lateral Shouder Raise
Tonal leg workout full body split

As you can see in the table above, I can do leg exercises with every training session, as long as I perform 1-2 leg exercises per day.

In total that’s 5 leg exercises per week.

On the other hand, if I choose to do Bro split training, I can do one Tonal leg day per week.

See below.

Days of the weekExercises
Leg dayBarbell Back Squats
Barbell Front Squats
Step Ups
Side lunges
Tonal leg workout Bro split

As you can see, with one leg day per week, I can do the same exercises as with the full-body split but in one day.

How many leg exercises should I do on leg day?

I do 4 to 6 leg exercises on leg day together with some assisted core and stretching exercises. This helps me to target all leg muscles, without overtraining.

However, the number of leg exercises often depends on how I feel that day.

If I choose to train my legs on Tonal more often (more leg days), I usually have at least 2-3 days off in between to have enough time for the body to rest.

During this time, I can do a push/pull split or active recovery.

How long are my Tonal leg workouts?

My Tonal leg workouts take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on my recent training plan.

I like to divide my leg workouts that focus on different muscle groups in each session.

For example:

  • Monday I train quads
  • Wednesday I train glutes
  • Friday I do hamstrings

Quick Fit leg workouts

Tonal has several Quick Fit leg workouts as short as 10 minutes (kind of like a mini leg day).

This is a good option if you want to give some extra love to your legs.

For example, if your goal is to build saucy-looking glutes, I recommend adding this type of class into your weekly workout plan even 2-3 times per week.

Tonal Quick Fit leg workout plan

Here is an example of how you can add Tonal Quick Fit leg workouts into your weekly workout routine.

Days of the weekTonal workoutsDuration
MondayFull Body Workout45-60 minutes
TuesdayQuick-Fit: For The Booty
Aerobic training (Heart rate zone 2)
15 minutes
30 minutes
WednesdayFull Body Workout45-60 minutes
ThursdayQuick-Fit: In And Out Glutes
Aerobic training (Heart rate zone 2)
10 minutes
30 minutes
FridayFull Body Workout45-60 minutes
SaturdayAerobic training (Heart rate zone 2)
Anaerobic Training (Heart rate zone 5)
30 minutes
30 minutes
SundayRest and active recovery
Tonal quick fit leg workouts with full-body split

As you can see, the above is an example of a Tonal workout that is focused on building your glutes. It includes strength training, as well as aerobic sessions (3 steady-state cardio and one HIIT cardio).

What happens if you don’t train your legs on Tonal?

Do you need to train your legs? In short, yes.

If I don’t train my legs on Tonal I feel it. Walking becomes difficult, my back starts to hurt and my posture resembles Disney’s character, Quasimodo.

According to an article published in Sports Medicine Journal, “without regular leg training, muscle protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis, which leads to the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength.”

See the graph below.

On the other hand, regular strength training is an effective way to flip this around. It stimulates muscle protein synthesis and preserves muscle mass.

The same goes for bone density.

A Japanese study done on sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass due to aging) has shown that in patients with hip fractures, there is a higher occurrence of sarcopenia and a significant reduction of leg muscle mass.

The conclusion is that if you have poor skeletal muscle mass in your legs, your body becomes more prone to the risk of lessening bone density.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is a personal trainer and writer at Millennial Hawk. He holds a MSc in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Central Lancashire. He is an exercise physiologist who enjoys learning about the latest trends in exercise and sports nutrition. Besides his passion for health and fitness, he loves cycling, exploring new hiking trails, and coaching youth soccer teams on weekends.

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