Killer Exercises for Strong Legs
Leg day is probably the hardest training day of the week. But why is that? A good leg workout involves complex exercises that work multiple muscles at once. That’s a good thing, too, because your legs are made up of different muscle groups, including the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. And basic exercises like squats and lunges are essential too, of course. They also recruit your core muscles effectively, so you’re not just working your legs.
Basic exercises in particular are very strenuous and require a lot of strength. But it’s worth it, because the more muscles that are involved in an exercise, the more hormones that are released. This also applies for the growth hormone testosterone. According to a paper published in Sports Medicine Journal, testosterone levels increase after strenuous strength training. This then stimulates protein metabolism and supports muscle growth. Just the thing if you want more muscle!
Take 10 minutes to warm up. We recommend mobility exercises that specifically prepare your lower body for the workout, such as Squat to Pikes and the 90/90 Stretch. You can also do a few air squats with your own body weight and lunges with an upper body twist.
This leg workout puts a special focus on your quads. It also includes single-leg exercises such as lunges and side lunges, which help you to compensate for any imbalance between right and left and train your weaker side effectively.
The workout consists of 4 exercises. Complete 3 sets of each exercise and focus on good technique. Rest for 90 to 120 seconds between sets. And remember: quality over quantity! Focus on your form, and adjust the weight to suit your fitness level and the exercise you are doing.
|Front Squats||8-10||1.5-2 minutes||3|
|Lunges||8-10 per leg||1.5-2 minutes||3|
|Wall Sits||Hold for 1 minute||30-60 seconds||3|
|Side Lunges||10-12 per leg||1.5-2 minutes||3|
#1 Front Squats
Depending on how flexible your shoulders are, you can secure the barbell on your chest using the front rack grip technique or cross your arms in front of your chest. Position the barbell between your neck and shoulder and raise your elbows so that they are horizontal to the floor. Stand with your legs hip-width apart and your toes turned slightly outward. Lower yourself with your hips between your thighs, spreading your knees outward. Keep your upper body upright and your back straight. In the lowest position, your hip joints should be lower than your knees. Push through your heels to come back up into an upright position.
Muscles: quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
Remember: If you want to improve the depth of your squat, then place weight plates under your heels. This will change the angle, so you can push your knees further forward and lower your hips deeper.
Place the barbell in the power rack and stand underneath it so that the bar rests on your trapezius muscles, directly below the base of your neck. Take a few steps back and a then big step backward. Position your feet about shoulder-width apart. Once you’ve found your balance, lift your back heel off of the ground. Lower yourself straight down, bending your knees. Drop your back knee toward the ground, stopping just before you touch it, and then reverse the movement, pushing through the heel of your front foot. Complete all repetitions with one leg and then switch sides.
Muscles: quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
Remember: Keep your hips square and your knee in line with your front foot.
#3 Wall Sits
Grab a weight plate and use a wall as a backrest. Sit against the wall and place the disc on your thighs. Your legs should be at a 90 degree angle, as if you were sitting in a chair. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Tighten your glutes and hold this position.
Muscles: thighs, buttocks.
Remember: Be sure to continue breathing calmly during exercises in order to regulate your blood pressure and provide your muscles with enough oxygen.
#4 Side Lunges
Take a kettlebell and hold it firmly in front of your chest with both hands. From a stable stance, take a big step to the right, placing your right foot down so that it’s straight. As soon as your foot touches the ground, shift your weight to it. Tilting your upper body forward slightly, lower yourself into a deep squat, turning your right knee outward. Straighten your left leg, keeping your left foot planted firmly on the ground. Shift your weight back to your left leg, straighten up, and return to your starting position. Complete all repetitions with one leg and then switch sides.
Muscles: quads, glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
Remember: Make sure your feet are as parallel as possible.
Done? Good job! Time for a cool down. Learn how to cool down properly here.
More workouts from foodspring:
- Get Your Muscles Burning With Our Medicine Ball Workout
- The Ultimate Workout for Rounded and Healthy Shoulders
Sources for this article
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