Having strong legs is always an advantage if you want to achieve strenuous physical tasks such as hiking and swimming, seamlessly. By legs, we mean the part of your body starting from the hips, all the way to your ankle containing the knees, calves, and thighs. The muscles in these areas help in extending and rotating the legs in almost all directions, while also enabling bending of your knees, pointing your toes, and more. As you can see, they are extremely vital for you to achieve physical movements.
How to Perform the Exercises?
This session contains 5 leg exercises and each of them has sets and repetitions. Start with the first one, or with whatever exercise that is comfortable for you to begin with. At least do 3 sets in each leg exercise with each set containing 10-15 repetitions. Before each exercise, take a break of 1-2 minutes, deep breath, and hydrate yourself. Some of the leg exercises like the 3rd and the 4th one have two types within them. Complete both of them to ensure that your legs are thoroughly trained.
To begin with, warm up and start with some gentle moments of your lower body. Stretch your body so that all the muscles are energized, to begin with. Initially, you can do some light warm-up sets, and gradually increase the weight of each warm-up sets while reducing the number of reps you perform before increasing the weight of the reps.
Also Read: The Ultimate Triceps Workout with Dumbbells
1) Leg Press
The leg press machine is one of the most popular pieces of equipment in the gym, and they are vital for building leg muscles. You will typically find two kinds of leg press machines in the gyms, one is the standard horizontal leg press and the other one is the leg press that reclines at 45 degrees when your legs press upwards. Both of these are used to develop and strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. This leg exercise may seem simple, but is extremely effective and is a must-do if you want strong legs. Pay attention to the form throughout the exercise and practice caution to prevent injury. Depending on your endurance at the beginning, you can do either between 5-10 reps between each set.
2) Hack Squats
Another of the favourite machines in the gym for regular goers is the hack squat machine. The machine helps in specifically focusing on your quadriceps and allows a large loading to be applied. If you do not go to the gym or do not have access to such a hack squat machine there, you can use the foam roller hack squat variation on your leg day.
To do this, first underneath you place your feet as close to each other as possible. This will allow you to achieve depth in the squat through the knee flexion and does not limit the range of motion via the hip flexion. Both of them are effective towards quadriceps development and loading.
3) Dumbbell Lunge
Lunges are vital for your core muscles and leg muscles. They work on the muscles in the upper legs including glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips. But do not undertake lunges if you have knee pain or some specific issue with your knees. It is recommended to consult your doctor before taking up lunges in your leg exercise regime.
To perform a dumbbell lunge:
- Place your feet away from each other, at almost the hip’s width, and hold your preferred dumbbells at the side.
- Make sure your body is straight and take a step forward.
- Bend both the front and the back leg at 90 degrees.
- The front feet must stay flat on the floor.
- Use both legs to stand up.
- Repeat by taking the step forward with the other leg.
There are some variations of lunges you can try, once you are comfortable with this form of movement:
- Lateral Lunge: Instead of placing your foot forward, take a step to the side and bend the leg at right angles while making the other leg straight.
- Reverse Lunge: Instead of placing your foot forward, take a step back. Do the same movements by bending both the legs at 90 degrees and then straightening them out as you get up.
- Walking Lunge: Do the lunges the same way as described above. Instead of bringing your feet together and starting from the same position, just place the next foot at a step forward. With this, you will find yourself walking around the space while doing the lunges.
4) Stiff Leg Deadlifts
The stiff leg deadlift is an important exercise for building dominant hamstrings. Unlike the deadlift exercise, this limits the stress on the knees and shifts the loading mainly on the hamstrings. Although you will be limited to use a lot of weights as you would do in the deadlift, it’s still recommended to practice caution as you can overload the hamstrings. If you want to specifically grow your hamstrings, it is recommended to perform stiff leg deadlifts more than conventional deadlifts, simply because they are most effective. Stiff leg deadlifts also put less pressure on your lower back, especially if you maintain a proper form throughout.
5) Goblet Squat
If you are just beginning a training regime to build leg muscles, then there is nothing better than squats. One of the easiest ones in squats, to begin with, is the goblet squat:
- Hold your preferred weight or dumbbell with both your hands at the level of your chest.
- Place your feet away from each other at a shoulder’s distance.
- Lower into the squat by bending your knees but keep your ankles stiff and still throughout the bend. Lower until your hips are below your knees.
- The back must be straight while bending down.
- Stand up and repeat the movement.
Like other exercises, even squats have some variations. Some of them are enlisted below:
- In the dumbbell squat, you can use two preferred dumbbells at shoulder level instead of one at your chest level.
- In the pile squat, place your feet quite wide apart, and face your toes in the outward direction.
- In the Bulgarian split squat, hold two weights or dumbbells, place a leg up on a chair or a bench, behind you and perform the squat with the other leg.
- In the jump squat, do not hold any weight, just squat down and swing your arms up with full energy. Finish back to the original position and repeat.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Are Different Types Of Leg Press Machines?
You will typically find two kinds of leg press in the gyms, one is the standard horizontal leg press and the other one is the leg press that reclines at 45 degrees when your legs press upwards.
What are Hack Squats?
The machine helps in specifically focusing on your quadriceps and allows a large loading to be applied.
How Stiff Leg Deadlifts Are Different From Conventional Deadlifts?
Stiff leg deadlifts are more effective than conventional deadlifts. Additionally, stiff leg deadlifts put less pressure on your lower back, especially if you maintain a proper form throughout.