Nothing represents the physique more than the legs, and in this article, you’ll learn the best leg practices for building legs that amazing.
If you’re hitting the weights frequently yet dismissing your leg workouts, reevaluate your life.
All joking aside, I comprehend the temptation to skip legs day.
I used to do it all the time and, very much, looked more like a cartoon character than I would like to admit.
Be that as it may!
I’ve atoned and changed my ways keeping in mind my legs are still slightly inadequate with regards to the division and thickness that comes in time, I’m at least to the point where they’re not a glaring shortcoming…
1. Barbell Back Squat
No surprise here, of course.
The barbell back squat is hands down the most effective leg exercise you can do for building overall size and strength.
Many people think of it as just a leg exercise but it’s much more than that–it’s a whole-body exercise, really, because it engages every muscle group but your chest, really.
It must be performed correctly, however. Bad squat form not only makes the exercise less effective, it increases the risk of injury.
The first thing you need to know about squatting is proper depth. You should be getting your thighs to at least parallel to the ground.
Here’s what I mean:
See how the butt is slightly lower than the knees and the thighs are slightly below parallel?
There are several reasons for this but one of the main ones is simply that the shallower the squat is, the less work your leg muscles have to do, which results in less muscle growth.
Notice also in the image how the head is neutral, the chest is up, the shoulders are back, the spine is in a neutral position, and the knees are just slightly beyond the toes.
2. Barbell Front Squat
The barbell front squat is, by far, my second favorite legs exercise.
Research shows that the front squat emphasizes the quadriceps more than the back squat (which involves more hamstring), but it also places less stress on the knees and lower back, making it ideal for people struggling with back or knee problems.
3. Barbell Lunge
Although the lunge is generally thought of as a quadriceps exercise, research shows it relies more on the hamstring and glutes.
Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile inclusion in your leg workouts.
4. Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian deadlift, or RDL, is one of my favorite exercises for isolating the muscles of the hamstring.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
You don’t see many people at the gym doing Bulgarian split squats but it’s not some random “foo-foo” exercise.
In fact, the split squat is quickly becoming more and more popular among high-level strength and conditioning coaches, and for good reason.
Research suggests the split squat may be as effective at increasing back squat one-rep max as the back squat itself while placing less strain on the lower back.
Furthermore, it differs from the front squat in that it more heavily involves the hamstrings.
6. Hack Squat Sled
While I’m generally not a fan of machines, I like the hack squat sled for emphasizing the quadriceps.
Like front and split squats, it’s an effective way to train the legs and hips while minimizing stress on the lower back.
7. Leg Press Machine
The leg press is another worthwhile machine for leg training and for building quadriceps strength in particular.
There are two types of leg press machines found in most gyms, though.
One has you seated more or less upright, pressing the weight straight out and back:And the other has you seated, pressing the weight up at a 45-degree angle:I much prefer the latter as it allows for a fuller range of motion.
8. Hip Thrust
While this exercise looks silly, it’s one of the best exercises you can do for your gluten.
9. Standing Calf Raise
This simple exercise is a tried-and-true calf builder.
10. Seated Calf Raise
This is a worthwhile variant of the calf raise.
I like that it doesn’t place any stress on the lower back as you get into heavier loads.
That’s it for the best leg exercises.
The key, however, isn’t just doing the exercises–it’s progressing on them. That is, increasing the amount of weight you can work with over time.
If you don’t get stronger, you won’t get bigger.
But if you do work on building your strength on these exercises, and you eat enough food to grow, your arms will respond.