With so many options for lower-body training, it’s no surprise that many lifters get overwhelmed and skip leg days entirely. Leg exercises work your greatest muscle area, so keeping them toned has a lot of advantages. Leg strength raises your metabolism while improving balance and coordination.
It also protects your joints from injury. Leg workouts become even more vital as you get older to keep your ankles, knees, and hips in good health.
Effective Legs Workout For Building strong Muscle
1. Barbell Back Squat
Squats are the most difficult leg movement you can do, hence they’re the king. They target the entire lower-body musculature and have been shown to increase the production of muscle-building hormones. In fact, squatting before curls has been demonstrated to boost arm strength significantly!
Is it better to set a high or low bar? That is entirely up to you and your objectives. The leg musculature is quite evenly hit by the high bar, which rests atop the traps. Powerlifters prefer the low bar because it works the glutes and allows them to lift more weight. Not sure which one to choose? Select the variety that allows you to squat deeper, more comfortably, and without curving your back excessively.
2. Alternating Knee Lifts
It’s a good idea to start each strength-training session with an aerobic and muscle-building activity. Alternating knee lifts work your hamstrings, quads, and glutes while also raising your heart rate and improving your balance. Another advantage is that they are straightforward to implement. Standing with your feet hip-width apart is a good idea. Raise your right knee to the level of your hips. Lower your right knee and repeat the motion with your left. For one to three minutes, repeat the sequence.
The lunge is a great way to work all of your leg muscles at once. Gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves are all worked out. Standing shoulder-width apart, take a stride forward with your right foot while lowering your rear knee to the floor. Return to the starting position by pushing off your rear foot. Reverse the process with your left leg. You can also do reverse lunges by taking a step backward. In either case, you must always lower your back knee to the ground. Try practising forward lunges while moving forward each time you lunge to create variation.
4. Leg press
Place yourself correctly in the machine according to the instructions. Place your feet closer together and lower to target your quadriceps, or higher and broader to target your hamstrings and glutes. Bend your knees to bring them closer to your chest, then return to the starting position.
5. Calf Raises
Although your calves aren’t as large as the rest of your leg muscles, they still need to be toned in order to support your ankles and aid with balance. Calf raises are a simple yet effective exercise. Stand shoulder-width apart with your feet shoulder-width apart. It’s simplest to support yourself by standing near a chair, counter, railing, or wall. Hold for three seconds on the balls of your feet, as if you’re standing on tiptoe. Then gradually lower your heels to the floor. Two or three sets of 15 rises are sufficient.
6. Barbell Front Squat
Exercising is greatly changed when the bar is moved from the back to the front of the body. Front squats emphasise the legs over the glutes and legs, so you’ll have to give up some weight. It also aids in maintaining a more vertical torso position, which can aid in increasing squat depth and lowering the risk of lower back injury.
Front squats also require a lot of upper back and core power, which they help you build. Variations like dumbbell front squats and goblet squats reap the same benefits.
7. Side Hip Raises
You can do this exercise in the same chair you used for squats and calf lifts. Your hips, thighs, and glutes will all benefit from the side hip raise. The action also aids in the flexibility of your hip joints. With your feet planted and toes facing forward, take a seat behind a firm chair. Maintain a straight line with your legs, but don’t lock your knees. Raise your right leg to the side slowly. Then go back to where you started. This movement should be done as slowly as possible. Do this sequence 15 times on each leg, starting with your left leg.
8. Split Squat
Split squats, especially rear-foot-elevated or “Bulgarian” split squats, are deadly to your legs when done correctly. In fact, EMG evidence reveals that 4 sets of Bulgarians using your 10-rep max activate the quads similarly to back squats. The same study discovered that Bulgarians and back squats have similar testosterone responses!
Split squats, on the other hand, are deceptively tough, partially due to balance and partly due to the fact that you’re only working one side at a time. Everything becomes even more difficult when you raise your back foot in a so-called Bulgarian split squat. If balance is an issue, simply lower your back foot, grab onto a sturdy object, or execute the exercises in the Smith machine.
9. Knee ExtensionsKnee
Extensions strengthen the quadriceps and the knees. With or without ankle weights, you can do this. Try putting a bag of rice over your foot if you don’t have ankle weights. Sit in a chair so that your feet are practically touching the ground. If necessary, use a rolled towel to lift your feet. Flex your right foot and gradually raise your toes to the sky until your leg is fully extended. Then slowly lower your leg by bending it. Remember to walk softly and keep your foot flexible. Reps should be between 10 and 20.
10. Hack Squat
One issue of machine-based leg exercises is that the hormone surge they provide is inferior to that of free weights. That isn’t a reason to avoid them, though! It just implies that you should do them later in your leg workout when you’re already exhausted.
The ability to change foot placement is one of the main advantages of the hack squat, which is why fitness model Julian “The Quad Guy” Smith considers it one of his signature leg routines. The glutes and hamstrings are emphasised by a high position because you may descend further. With a lower placement, the quads take on a larger share of the labour.
Because you can change weight rapidly and aren’t balancing a barbell, advanced intensity tactics like forced reps and droplets are also easier to use.