Building a good set of legs is important to build a body that is in proportion to everything else. Many people, mainly men, focus mainly on their upper bodies and neglect their lower bodies entirely. Whether you’re a dude wanting to build size and strength or a dudette wanting to get sleek toned legs, then these are some exercises you’ll want to consider doing if you aren’t already. So here we go, my top 5 leg exercises to get great legs!
These are the king of all leg exercises. These can build power, strength, size and even tone and shape your thighs. These are the number one exercise for your quads and glutes which should be in your leg routine. These can be done on a squat rack with a barbell, with a set of dumbbells or with your own body weight all depending on your goals.
Dudettes, if you’ve always wanted that nice round booty and toned legs, then these are what’s missing from your life and should be included in your lower body workouts. These work the glutes just as much as they do the legs so don’t be afraid to lift some iron because you’re afraid of bulking up. Trust me, IT WON’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT AND UNLESS YOU’RE EATING TO BULK UP.
Again, a fantastic exercise whether you want to build muscle or just tone your legs. These work your legs unilaterally which is the main difference between these and squats because both exercises work the same muscles. You can also do these either as a bodyweight exercise, with a barbell or with a set of dumbbells. Just these two exercises alone can build an amazing legs and glutes, something every dude and dudette wants!
3. Bear Squats
These are a simple bodyweight exercise that really challenges those leg muscle. Not only are you giving your legs a good workout, you’re also working out your core muscle from all the rotation in the waist and hips. This is an exercise for those who have some knee issues and who aren’t comfortable with squats and lunges. I like putting these in my workouts to make sure my legs are really fatigued, especially when I perform them slowly. Try them out and let me know what you think of them, I’m sure you’ll like them as much as I do.
4. Leg Press
This is a great exercise for those who aren’t comfortable doing squats in the gym. The main benefit of these compared to a squat is the added safety the machine provides in comparison to the squat in a squat rack. There are virtually no risks of hurting yourself on these machines. If you move from doing squats to the leg press you should notice a big jump in the amount of weight you’re lifting. This is because the machine has no instability, whereas with a barbell on your back you’re having to stabilise yourself to stop you from falling over. This requires your muscles to work harder.
Give the leg press a go if you have a fear of dropping the barbell on yourself doing squats. It’s a way to still hit your legs without any risks.
These are my favourite exercise of all time but I’m putting them at number 5 because these are a great full body exercise, not a leg specific exercise. With the wide variety of burpees you can perform you can hit your legs as hard or as little as you want.
In a regular burpee, the leg part of the move is basically a standard body weight squat. When you thrust your legs out into the press up position, you could also add a bear squat which will hit your legs harder.
Get creative with your burpees and come up with one that really hits your legs hard. The “TFD Burpee” will be fantastic in hitting the legs as well as every other muscle in your body. Keep your eyes peeled for that!
So there you have it, 5 brilliant exercises you can use in your exercise routines. If you’re after size and strength you’ll be wanting to do low rep sets with heavy weight, e.g. 3 sets of 5-8 reps. If it’s toned legs you’re after, go with either bodyweight versions of the exercises or with light weights and high reps, e.g. 4 sets of 15-20 reps.
In my own routines I like to do three exercises to work my legs in workouts. This way I know if I hit my legs hard in each set I would have worked every muscle fibre to its maximum potential. My legs always feel like jelly at the end of a good leg workout and if yours feel the same, you know you’d have worked your legs out the best you could.
If there’s any exercise you like doing for your legs and/or glutes that I’ve missed, let me know. Love to hear what the Dude Nation are doing in their workouts!
Header Photo: Bent Leg & Colourful Background 2010 © Daily Sunny, Flickr (CC)
Filed under: Lower Body Exercises
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