Man, I don’t know where to start with this.
A really sad story about many guys who go to the gym but never use a single machine for legs.
The well-known term for these guys is- bird leg guys.
No matter if you go regularly to the gym or not you’ve probably seen many guys who have a strong torso, but legs as a stork.
Don’t be that guy.
It looks something like this:
Here’s the kicker:
Exercises for legs are very important and not only for your looks.
Strong legs are the foundation of every strong body.
This implies that if you want a strong body you need to have strong legs.
Don’t skip leg day.
Actually, spend a whole day once per week doing exercises for legs.
You will see the benefits.
So, today I will talk about the best exercises for strong legs.
But, first things first.
What are the most important muscle groups in your legs?
Leg muscles are the foundation of your body and they give you support and balance, so they are responsible for all crucial movements such as walking, jogging, jumping etc.
They are divided into several groups:
- Gluteal muscles – they are responsible for bigger physical activities such as climbing and running and they allow your upper muscles to rotate. The most important are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
- Lower leg muscles– as you can guess, these are the muscles below your knees which allow your feet to move. Each of these muscles has its particular role, and when you work out too hard you can easily get an inflammation, so be careful. The most important muscles here are Gastrocnemius and Soleus.
- Upper leg muscles – they are connected with the work of your knees and joints which allow you to move and stretch your legs. The most important are the quadriceps and the hamstrings.
So, let’s see what are the best workouts for legs.
7 Best Workouts for Legs:
1.Barbell Back Squats
It comes as no surprise.
This is one of the most popular exercises for legs.
So simple and so effective.
When you do this exercise 200 muscles are activated additionally to your leg muscles, so it’s considered to be a universal exercise. (1)
It’s important to keep your back and neck straight, feet shoulder width apart, and of course to breathe properly when you perform this exercise.
How do I squat?
I start with stretching and warming up, then I do a few squats without a barbell.
After that I usually do 5 sets with 8 reps, slowly lifting weights until the last set when I work out with 50% of the maximum weight I can lift.
There are many variations of the squats that I will write about later, but in my opinion, the classic squat is the best.
One of the best exercises for building all your leg muscles.
However, be careful, if you exaggerate with the weight you lift you can get seriously injured.
Your back needs to be straight and you need to lift the bar slowly with your legs firmly on the floor.
This is an extended version of the squat.
It’s recommended to do 5 sets of this exercise at most.
How I deadlift?
5 sets with 10 reps.
Also, don’t forget to warm up your back before deadlift.
3. Classic split squat
This is definitely one of the best workouts for legs.
Also, one of the best exercises for butt. (2)
An effective exercise, familiar to everyone and this is the modified version.
So, keep your back straight, your legs together, and your arms close to your body.
Step up and squat until you form a 90-degree angle.
Go back to your starting position and then repeat the same with your other leg.
Beginners should do the exercise without any weight, and after a while, they can add some weight.
You can use a barbell or dumbbell, which one you prefer.
As you progress you can increase the weight you are working out with.
How I do split squat?
3 sets 10 reps with dumbbells.
4. Leg press
This is a reverse squat.
If you have back problems this is the right exercise for you since classic squats strain your back.
It’s important to fully use the strength of your legs, otherwise, you will feel pain.
Fitness instructors usually recommend exercises on machines that involve the inner and outer parts of the thighs.
So, all you need is good will to try and see what works best for you.
How I do leg press?
3 sets with max weight 8-10 reps.
5. Leg extension
This is a simpler exercise that requires more effort, but you get visible results fast.
The machine is easy to use, you need to sit comfortably, to grab the handles on the sides and to point your toes up to the ceiling so that you affect mostly your calves and all the other leg muscles.
How I do this?
3 sets, 10 reps; increasing the weight in every following set.
6. Standing calf raises
Although squats are the main exercise for legs, don’t forget about your calves.
You can do exercises for your calves almost everywhere.
At the gym, there are special machines for this group of muscles, but you can do a great job at home too using your doorstep.
What’s important here is to raise your heels so that you stand on your tiptoes and then to lower your heels to feel a stretch in your calves.
This is the most important exercise for calves called standing calf raises.
How I do this?
Actually, I do this twice a week, once during my leg day and then on my cardio day.
Make sure you do the exercise properly raising your heels and then standing on your tiptoes to stretch and get your muscle fiber going.
There are many variations of calf exercises, but this is the most basic and common.
I do 5 sets with 10 reps, increasing the weight in every following set.
7. Lying leg curls
Another common exercise for the hamstrings.
It’s very easy to do.
How I do this?
I do it after the leg extension exercise.
3 sets 10 reps.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Don’t skip leg day.
A big group of muscles is in your legs so you need to dedicate to them once a week.
You’ll notice the huge benefits like greater strength, self-confidence, and looks, of course.
The exercises I recommend are old school and they are the most important for big, toned and strong legs.
There are variations certainly for every leg muscle, but I’ll write about that some other time.
The best thing to do after your leg day is to make a break so that you are ready for the rest of your workouts that week.