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10 Best Exercises For Your Legs

Updated on August 9, 2014

Strengthen Your Legs With Or Without Expensive Leg Training Machines With These 10 Best Exercises For Your Legs

It`s no secret that Barbell Squats tops the list of the 10 Best Exercises For Your Legs but most people are surprised to see barbell or dumbbell lunges even made the list until you see who`s using these in there leg training program.

Legs can be the toughest muscles to train on the entire body. I had the hardest time getting good results from my leg workout programs. Should I spend more time on my leg training program? Do I need to workout with heavy weights? Am I doing the best leg exercises for men in my age range?

Whether you get your leg training at home or use the leg workout machines at the gym it`s important to use a good balance of compound leg exercises as well as isolation exercise for the legs. Don`t get me wrong squats are the best exercise for your legs but heavy squats can absolutely wreck your knees.

I have found the best results by warming up the quads with leg extensions to pre exhaust the legs & warm up the knees

Legs are the most under worked muscles in the gym. Why do you see so many people put all of their efforts into their upper body workouts and totally neglect their leg training routines. Why? Because any good leg workout routine is going to make you feel some pain and discomfort. (No Pain No Gain) The muscles in the legs and glutes are the biggest muscles in the human body therefore it takes much more energy to work your legs. For example; notice how out of breath you are when you perform barbell squats or leg presses as opposed to bicep curls or dumbbell flyes.

There are so many great advantages to training and strengthening your legs. If you are an athlete how much better could you be at your sport if your legs were bigger, stronger, and more conditioned? would it be worth your time and effort to get in an extra set of bicep curls or would it be better to concentrate on squats, leg presses or walking lunges?

Squats

Squats are the King of all leg exercises. There are a wide range of squats you can perform

  • Dumbbell
  • Jump
  • Front
  • Box
  • Overhead
  • Kettlebell Pistol
  • Jefferson
  • Single Leg
  • Smith Machine
  • Zercher
  • Sissy


To get the full benefit of squats it is best to take them all the way to parallel. Barbell squats are performed best inside a squat rack where you have the added safety of adjustable safety rails in case you should lose control of the weight.


Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles - Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Lower Back

Training Tip - Keep your heels on the floor & push from your heels, this will keep the stress on your Quads through the whole motion.

This Is The Proper Way To Squat

Leg Extensions

The leg extension exercise is a great Isolation exercise for your quadriceps. These work well when performed before squats to get your quads warmed up for your compound leg exercises or after you have done your main leg training to completely finish off your leg exercise program.

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps

Training Tip - Squeeze your thighs & hold the weight for 1 second at the top.

Hack Squats

The Hack Squat is a great compound exercise for the legs and it does isolate the thigh muscles more than a regular squat because it allows you to keep your back straight which puts greater emphasis on the quadriceps.

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles - Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves


Training Tip - Point your feet outward to work your inner Quads or slightly inwards to work the outer sweep of the quads.

Barbell Or Dumbbell Step Ups

This leg exercise is very similar to the lunge but a bit more intense which requires good balance and coordination.

To perform this exercise stand straight with eyes straight ahead, with barbell across your back step up to an elevated platform bring your trailing leg up to stand on the platform and gain your balance for a second. Step down off the platform to your original position

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles - Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves

Training Tip - Push through your heels to keep the stress on your quads

Lying Leg Curls

This is an Isolation exercise which focuses on the hamstrings.

Primary Muscle - Hamstrings

Training Tip - Squeeze & hold the muscle for 1 second at the top of the movement

Leg Presses

The leg press exercise is a compound exercise second only to the squat. Some lifters prefer this exercise over the Squat because it is more isolated to the legs and doesn`t involve the lower back.

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles - Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves

Training Tip - Angle your feet outward to work your inner quad or inward to work the outer sweep of the thigh.

Good Leg Press Technique

Cycling

Cycling gives you the best of both worlds, not only is it a great leg and thigh exercise but it also gives you one of the best cardio workouts you can get. Whether you get your leg workouts at home on a stationary bike or hit the neighborhood bike trail this one should be part of your leg training routine.

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles - Hamstrings, Calves

Lunges

Lunges aren`t just for girls anymore. Many of the top lifters in the world are using this great leg and glute exercise in their leg strengthening routines because it is considered to be one of the best quad and glute exercises of all time.

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary - Glutes, Calves, Hamstrings

Training Tip - Take a shorter step to put more stress on the Quads or take a long step to stress the Glutes

This is how Ronnie Coleman executes The Walking Lunge.

Stiff Legged Deadlift

This is a great compound exercise that works your Back Legs and Glutes.
Lower the bar over your feet keeping your legs straight and your eyes straight forward. Pull the weight back to the starting position.

Primary Muscle - Hamstrings
Secondary Muscles - Glutes, Lower Back

Training Tip - Keep the bar as close to your shins as possible as you pull the weight up.

Running Sprints

Have you ever seen a sprinter with skinny legs?

Primary Muscle - Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles - Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves

Standing Or Seated Calf Raises

Don`t forget to work those calves.

Primary Muscle - Calves

Training Tip - To increase intensity try 100 jumping jacks or jumping rope immediately after each set.

My Other Fitness Articles

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    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      Hi Jaypar7,

      Great hub! Will promote out on my Twitter account! Keep on 'hubbin!

    • profile image

      Tina 2 years ago

      That's a moebedr-aklr. Great thinking!

    • jaypar7 profile image
      Author

      jaypar7 3 years ago from California,USA

      Hey Neil, Yes Deadlifts are one of the best all around exercises for the entire body but if your form is off you can do serious damage to your lower back. Its best to keep your head straight forward or slightly up & keep the bar close to your shins as you pull the weight up to a standing position.

    • neilcook profile image

      Neil Cook 3 years ago from United States

      I have to say that the Barbell Deadlift is one of my favorite exercises. The only thing you need to be careful of is using correct form, as this is an exercise which can hurt you if done incorrectly. Anyway, I really like the write-up you've done. It's a great crash course into the world of leg workouts. Keep up the good work!

      Cheers- Neil Cook

      Source: http://bestbarbells.com

    • AvineshP profile image

      Avinesh Prahladi 3 years ago from Chandigarh

      This hub is certainly helpful for all those who are looking to make exercise muscles.

      Great hub.

    • jaypar7 profile image
      Author

      jaypar7 4 years ago from California,USA

      Yes Andy, Supersets are a great way to build your legs & make them grow.

    • Andy Bui profile image

      Andy Bui 4 years ago

      I find that the hip adductor/abductor machines can help add detail to developed legs. Bringing in the detail in the rectus femoris( mid upper thighs) and the vastus lateralis(outer thigh/sweep). Those are some isolation exercises that could be super setted after completing heavy compound leg movements.

    • jaypar7 profile image
      Author

      jaypar7 4 years ago from California,USA

      Thank You for your comment & good luck with your fitness goals.

    • sarifearnbd profile image

      Shariful Islam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      I took the information you've presented in this hub to Exercises For Your Legs. Thanks for sharing.

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