There is no doubt regarding the best exercises for building your legs. However, as the trends and perceptions change, so do the training procedures. We are not discussing adding quality beef to your quadriceps and hamstrings; but creating sturdy, durable lower appendages suitable for real-world demands.
Let us review the five most efficient leg exercises and apply some new variations to make them more challenging.
I. MOVEMENT PATTERNS IN AN EFFECTIVE LEG WORKOUT PLAN
When it comes to creating an efficient leg workout, simple is best. The most basic movements for the lower body, such as squats, leg hinges (deadlifts), and lunges, should make up the bulk of your workouts.
These exercises focus on the primary muscles of the legs, including the quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings. Once you master these movements, there are many options and ways to advance to keep you challenged.
If you are thinking of the most effective exercises for building your legs, here is an easy method of breaking the workout down into parts: Begin by squatting, then move on to a hip-hinge before adding your single-leg workouts.
II. EXERCISES FOR BUILDING YOUR LEG
2.1. Barbell Squat
a. Back squat
Focus on your posterior chain, the part at the rear that includes the glutes and hamstrings, by doing the back squat.
How to do back squat
- Put a barbell in your traps and sit with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart. Your eyes should look ahead, your chest should be high, and your feet should be slightly pointed out.
- Recover your hips, bend your knees and lower your body towards the floor. Ensure your knees are slightly to the side but do not collapse.
- Lower your legs until they are in line with the ground or as low as your body’s mobility permits, then push towards the starting position.
b. Front squat
Concentrate on the front part of your body, especially those quads using an upper squat.
How to do front squat
- Place a barbell on your shoulders front and then secure your fingers with an underhand grip on both sides to support the barbell. Lift your elbows upwards and look in the direction of your goal.
- Relax your hips, bend your knees, and lower them towards the floor. Be sure that your knees follow out and your chest stays strong, resisting the urge to lower into the floor.
- Lower your legs until they are in line with the ground or as low as you can move -and then push into the starting position.
c. Good mornings
Refresh your hamstrings by making the perfect morning routine move, a hip-hinge.
How to do good mornings squat
- Put a barbell on your traps and sit with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- With your knees at a comfortable level, pivot at your hips. Slowly turn your body toward the ground, bringing your butt forward. Keep your chest straight and maintain your focus throughout the exercise.
- Reduce until you notice an increase in the length of your hamstring, and then work your glutes for a return to your starting point.
d. Goblet squat
The goblet squat is less challenging on the back muscles than the back squat, but it is still good exercise for your glutes and quads.
How to do goblet squat
- To set up the setup, you need to hold a dumbbell horizontally and place both hands beneath the weight’s top. Place the dumbbell on your chest, and keep it in contact throughout the entire movement.
- Start squatting, sit on your heels, and bend your knees. Keep your torso straight and lower as low as you can move.
- Do your best to push yourself until you return to the starting point.
2.2. Bulgarian Split Squat
Train your legs and strengthen your core using this Bulgarian Split squat.
How to do:
- Place your feet about 2 feet in the front of a knee-level bench or step to the side. Your right leg should be lifted behind your back, and place the upper one of your feet on the bench.
- Lean slightly in your waist and lower your left leg while bending your knee. Then stop when you have got your right thigh in line with the ground.
- You can push up your left foot to return to a standing posture.
Read more “THINGS TO PAY ATTENTION TO DO SQUATS CORRECTLY”
2.3. Single-leg and Romanian deadlift
- Single-leg deadlift
Get your hamstrings in shape and improve your balance by doing the single-leg Deadlift.
How to do single-leg deadlift
- Use a dumbbell or two. Maintain your back straight and keep your focus on the task at hand.
- You can put your weight on your left leg, raise your waist, and keep your left knee supple.
- Continue to pivot forward, raise the right leg, and then back until your body is in a unison line from toe to head. Be sure that your hips are square to the ground.
- Pause for a few seconds, then return to your start position. Repeat. Perform the desired number of repetitions for each leg.
- Romanian Deadlift
Strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and calves for hip mobility by performing the Romanian Deadlift.
How to do:
- Take a barbell or a dumbbell each. Maintain your back straight and focus on the same spot throughout the movement.
- Begin to lean forward on your hips. Lower your weight toward the ground by bending your knees. The weights should align with the direction of your legs. Slowly lower them until you notice tension through your hamstrings.
- Pause and then drive your hips to the side to rise and allow your glutes to assist in the movement.
a. Walking lunges
Test your balance and hamstrings, quads, and glutes with walking lunges.
How to do:
- Begin by putting your feet in a row. Place a dumbbell on each hand if you want to do a weighted exercise.
- Keep your chest up and looking straight ahead, and walk forward and squat using the right leg to ensure your hip is level with the ground.
- Then, push upwards through your heel to the right and back to your beginning position.
- Continue forward by using the leg on your left.
b. Reverse lunge
A more relaxed alternative to the forward lunge, it is an excellent exercise for achieving the perfect lunge position.
How to do:
- Your feet should be wide apart, and your arms at your sides.
- Retract your steps with your left foot, extending your lung until your left leg is at a 90-degree angle. Maintain your torso straight.
- Continue to push up with your left heel back to the beginning position.
c. Lateral lunge
We tend to move in front-to-back motion planes. Moving side-to-side, such as lunges lateral, can help strengthen and stabilize your body.
How to do:
- Begin with feet that are wider than your hips.
- The left knee should be bent, sit back on your left leg, and maintain your torso straight. Maintain your right leg as straight as possible, and then lower the leg on your left until your knee is 90 degrees.
- Reverse back to the starting point and repeat. Do the desired amount of repetitions per side.
2.5. Glute/Ham Raise
a. Leg press
Although machines do not have the benefits of exercise, using free weights such as the leg press permits you to isolate specific muscles quickly, such as quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
How to do:
- Put yourself into the leg presses machine while keeping your back and head flat on the mat. Set your feet about hip-width apart. Your legs should be at 90-degree angles.
- Engage your core and then extend your legs. Then, stop at the top but be careful not to lock your knees.
- Return the plate slowly back to its starting position with bent knees.
b. Leg curl
Separate your calves and hamstrings by using the leg curler machine.
How to do:
- Begin to sit on the leg curl machine, lying flat on your stomach, and place the roller pad on top of your knees. Make sure you have the support bars on each side of the device.
- Engage your core muscles and raise your feet while pulling the pad towards your butt.
- Stop at the top before returning to your starting point in a controlled way.
III. HOW MANY REPETITIONS SHOULD YOU DO WITH THESE EXERCISES FOR BUILDING YOUR LEGS?
A few fitness experts suggest performing the two sets in 10-12 repetitions for each leg workout. If it seems too easy, you can add the additional resistance using heavier weights. You can use less resistance or do fewer repetitions if it is too complex.
Home Workouts versus Gym Exercise
A few recommended exercises recommend using the gym’s equipment, such as dumbbells and others. You can try numerous alternatives if you exercise at home without dumbbells: Fill an empty milk jug using water or sand, or use some containers of soup or water bottles for weights. Using weight bands or even bucket-filled sand is also possible.
Before You Begin, Warm-Up
When working out using weights, it is vital to warm up before and cool down after the training. Carefully warming up can prevent injuries. Warm-ups may include running, stretching, or jogging and exercising with your body weight. Lots of stretching should accompany the cooldown.
Wear shoes with an excellent grip to help you remain in the correct position while exercising. Keep your back straight throughout exercises, particularly when bending your back for deadlifts.
If you feel you are hurting when you exercise, stop performing the exercise. If your pain does not disappear after a few days, speak to your doctor. If you are new at working out, start slowly. Utilize lighter weights and perform smaller repetitions. Incorporating your workout into your routine can help to avoid injuries.
Leg press exercises are excellent for your legs’ upper extremities, particularly the quadriceps. A leg press can be like squats. The significant difference is that you sit with your back and hips stationary, and your feet move. While with squats, your back and hips are in motion, and your feet are stationary.
It means you are not getting the full-body workout you would get from squats. Nevertheless, you receive a more precise leg workout since you do not have to concentrate on balance and use stabilizers to lift the weight.
In the end, the leg press allows you to use big-boy weight. Therefore, one can build lots of strength and muscle by using these exercises for building legs.It is also an excellent alternative to squats when you struggle with mobility, flexibility, or injuries that hinder you from doing squats correctly or safely.