All leg workouts, no matter the one you choose, fill you with trepidation, and for a good reason. The recovery period is painful and quite long, and with its results being slow to materialize, these exercises are not satisfying in the short term. Leg workouts can sometimes be more taxing than most upper-body moves, but they target most of your body’s biggest muscles (especially the glutes, which is the foundation on which your fitness is built). These various leg workouts also help burn calories, boost your performance, improve mobility, elevate your T-levels, and build strength, power, and mass. In addition, you might not know this; leg workouts or exercises are also crucial to nervous system health and brain health.
Below are the top leg workouts or exercises you can try out today;
1. Goblet Squat
This targets the major muscle groups of your lower body, including your calves, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also engages your shoulders and upper back as you have to engage them to keep your chest and torso tall when you do this exercise. It’s also an excellent option for people who want to maintain proper squat form or lack shoulder mobility.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grab a weight in front of your chest, with your elbows pointing downwards.
- Push your hips back and then bend your knees to go or lower into a squat.
- You then push yourself back to start ( that accounts for one rep). You can do about 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps, rest for 30 seconds, and continue onto your next move.
- Stand with your legs wide ( than your shoulders) and hold a dumbbell with both hands in line with your thighs.
- Stick your backside out, lower yourself into a squat position with the dumbbell touching the floor. Drive back up and repeat.
This exercise will challenge the core and quadriceps more as you position the load in the front of the body.
2. Barbell Squats
It’s always advised to warm up before doing any of your leg workouts, and barbell squats are one of the first exercises you can try out for the day. It comprises moves that engage all the target muscles and allows you to load up the weight. Before you proceed with this workout, you’ll want to reduce the load by doing a few box squats using a weight 10% heavier than your 5RM weight. With this, you trick your mind into thinking the first weight of your workout isn’t all that heavy. After each set, hang from an overbar for 30 seconds as you’ll also want to decompress the spine.
- Start with a barbell across the back of your shoulders and your feet just wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out.
- Make sure your knees are at 90-degrees by lowering yourself.
- For the proper form of this exercise, make sure you bring the barbell down in a straight line.
- Bend at the hips, pushing your butt backward but keeping the chest straight up.
- Drive up through the floor and back to standing position.
- Focus on bringing the weight back up in a straight line by engaging your core and moving your hips and chest as one unit.
You can complete four sets, starting with your heaviest weights.
3. Bulgarian Split Squat
This single-leg training is excellent for improving your athletic performance and helps integrate more hip stability in the frontal plane of movement. First of all, you have squats, and that is combined with alternating the position of your torso and changing the focus from your quads to the posterior chain.
- To start the Bulgarian split squat, drop into a squat
- At the bottom of the squat, push explosively off the ground into a jump and keep your back foot on the bench.
- Grab a dumbbell in each of your hands and rest the top of your left foot on a bench behind you.
- Then lower your body until your knee push forwards and your front thigh is parallel to the floor
- With proper form, this single-leg training can yield serious strength gains.
4. Leg Press
Leg press works your hamstring and quads hard and safely
- Position the machine to sit comfortably with your hips beneath your knee and your knees in line with your feet.
- Place your feet lower to work your quads more or wider and higher to directly hit your glutes and hamstrings.
- Bend your knees to bring them towards your chest, then press back to the start.
Be careful not to go too low or risk your back coming off the leg press machine seat to prevent injury.
5. Sumo Deadlift
Sumo deadlift variation targets your back, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Hold two dumbbells or kettlebells and stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Keep your knees a little bent and press your hips back as you hinge at the waist and lower the weights toward the floor
- Then squeeze your glutes to return to standing (that’s one rep)
- Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps, then rest for 30-50 seconds and continue onto your next move.