People often say that you shouldn’t skip a “Leg Day.” Leg Workouts are essential for several reasons. Yet, sometimes they’re neglected in favour of upper-body exercises. Strong leg muscles keep your structure balanced. But it won’t be possible if one solely focuses on the upper body workout. Follow these 10 best leg workout programs that support a balanced body, including a robust and stable foundation.
It’s crucial to stay consistent with your leg workout routine. The leg muscles are a fundamental part of your overall fitness.
Benefits of Leg-Exercises
- These best Leg workouts include your body’s major muscle groups and develop a better balance.
- It’ll help in improving the overall athletic performance.
- A strong lower body averts injuries.
- It manages chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
- Leg workouts stimulate the release of a more significant number of hormones. Like- testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), cortisol.
- Other benefits may include strengthening core muscles, alleviating lower back pain, improving range of motion, etc.
Top 10 Best Leg Workout for Toning and Strength
Here are our ten most favourite & preferred best leg workouts of all time. Make sure to do a proper warm-up and stretching before starting any workout. You can see the importance of stretching exercise before a workout session.
1. Leg Press
How to do:
- Sit squarely in the leg press machine.
- Position your feet & shoulder-width apart on the sled.
- Unlatch the sled from the safeties carefully. Do this while keeping your chest- up and lower back pressed into the pad.
- Flex your knees to lower the platform, stopping before the glues lift off the pad.
- Just from there, extend your knees powerfully to press the weight up.
- Remember not to lock them out at the top.
Strengths: This one’s a closed-kinetic chain leg workout. Meaning your feet are planted instead of being free. A closed chain offers a more substantial base of power. It doesn’t shear much force on the knee joint as can occur in the open-chain exercises.
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2. Step Up
How to do:
- Take a dumbbell in each hand. Position it in front of a knee-to hip-high step, platform, or bench.
- Begin with your feet in a shoulder-width stance. Step forward with a single leg onto the platform.
- Drive through that thigh to move your body upward.
- Bring your trailing leg up and stand at the top of the bench/platform.
- Then, step back with another leg to return to the floor.
- Repeat the procedure a few times with the same leg and alternate your lead leg from step to step.
Strengths: The step-up leg workout comes in all types of variations. It develops power through the hips, thighs, and glutes. The workout will help you practice balance and jumping force, convenient if you’re in a sport that demands vertical hops.
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3. Pistol Squat
How to do:
- Start in a standing position.
- Extend one leg straight out, balancing on the other foot.
- From there, squat down by lowering your glutes and hips straight towards the floor. Keep bending your knee until your working thigh is below parallel.
- At the bottom, your nonworking leg & arms will be out. You’ll balance on your planted foot, flat on the surface.
- Drive through that heel to return to the neutral position.
- Never let the heel come up as you rep.
Strengths: After trying your first pistol squat, you’ll find your quads burning deep for days. It’s a sign that you’ve been short-changing the range of motion on traditional leg exercises for several years.
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4. Glute Ham Raise
How to do:
- Take your position on the bench.
- Secure your ankles between the rollers, knees on the pads, and feet on the platform.
- Start with your thighs and torso perpendicular & aligned to the floor.
- Cross your hands and place them on your chest.
- Extend your knees slowly. Do so while lowering your torso as far, parallel to the floor.
- Bend your hams to bring your figure back to vertical.
- Remember that the ankle/calf area will alternate between the top roller and touching the bottom when correctly performing the reps.
Strengths: From the perspective of muscle-stimulation, the glute-ham raise is quite a par on the list. The specially designed westside bench gives support in all the right places. But, don’t let an absence of equipment dissuade you. You can alternatively perform glute-ham raises with a partner. This is one of the best leg workouts for men for stronger legs!
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5. Walking Lunge
How to do-
- Hold dumbbells in each hand.
- Step forward with one foot.
- Flex both the knees to lower your torso towards the surface.
- Ensure that your front knee does not pass your toes at the lowermost position.
- Stop when short of your hind knee touches the floor.
- Then, drive through the front foot’s heel and bring your back leg forward until you go back to a standing posture.
- Step forward with the opposite leg into a lunge, repeating the pattern.
- Keep alternating down the floor.
- Most importantly, don’t let your front knee turn in or out exceedingly.
Strengths: The walking lunge is a dynamic leg workout. It requires muscle recruitment & coordination to perform accurately. It’s an excellent finisher to leg-workouts. You’ll get a considerable number of co-contractions from the knee joint, hip, core to the foot and ankle.
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6. Bulgarian Split Squat
How to do:
- Step forward with one foot with dumbbells in each hand.
- Rest your back foot on a bench or an elevated platform. Face the top of your foot downwards.
- Flex your fore knee to lower yourself. Make sure the knee doesn’t track out ahead of toes.
- When your knee joint is at a 90-degree angle, reverse the motion. Return to standing by driving through the forward foot’s heel.
- Don’t lock out the knee forcefully.
Strengths: Bulgarian split squat focuses on each leg individually. It enables you to pay full attention to each leg without compensating. In other words, any weakness in your thigh development & strength has nowhere to hide.
see: Top 10 Forearm Workouts to Increase Forearm Strength and Muscle Mass
7. Hack Squat
How to do:
- Step inside the hack-squat machine.
- Place your back & shoulders against the pads.
- Place your feet at mid-platform inside the shoulder width by keeping your feet flat throughout the activity.
- With your core tight and chest up, unhook the safeties and lower yourself slowly.
- Stop when your thighs become parallel to the platform.
- From there, press upward powerfully to the start position. Keep your knees slightly flexed at the top. It’ll protect them from hyperextension.
- You should feel the weight on your heels, not on your toes.
Strengths: One performs this best leg workout in a weight-bearing function position. It’s more like a standing squat. The hack-squat machine enables us to go a little heavier.
You won’t sacrifice too much form as you’ll be performing bar squats, considering your back is supported. Chances of injury get decreased, which is essential when the aim is to increase strength & mass.
8. Romanian Deadlift
How to do:
- Stand upright. Hold a barbell in front of the upper thighs with an overhand grip.
- A shoulder-width apart, place your feet. Bend your knees slightly.
- Your arms straight, chest up, and core tight to maintain the natural arch in your lower back.
- Incline forward from your hips, pushing them back until your torso becomes parallel to the floor. Or unless you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- At the bottom, keep your head neutral & back flat.
- The bar should be closed. Else, it should be in contact with your legs all around.
- Flex your glutes & hamstrings to reverse the motion, bringing back the bar to start position.
Strengths: The Romanian Deadlift is a pinpoint form. You’ll get thick, protruding, and impressive hamstrings. Enable your lower back to take the load & collapse, and you’ll help put a Lamborghini in your chiropractor’s garage.
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9. Front Squat
How to do:
- Set the pegs in a power rack at/below mid-chest. Place the safety bars at a level between your knees & hips.
- Step-up to the bar, crossing your arms to build a shelf. Then, cradle it at your upper chest and front delts.
- Keep your abs & lower back tight, eyes forward, and chest up as you step rear into a shoulder-width distance.
- Flex your hips and knees, like sitting on a chair. Do until your thighs are parallel to the surface.
- Reverse the direction by driving through the heels and pressing your hips forward. Get back into a standing position.
- Keep your back, neck straight, and elbows lifted throughout the exercise.
- Inhale to support the abdomen & trunk of your descent.
Strengths: Both the barbell back & front squats are great workouts. It’ll help in growing back, leg, core strength and positively affecting anabolic metabolism.
Read: 5 Essential Stretching Exercises for Flexibility
10. Barbell Squat
How to do:
- Stand with your feet at an interval of shoulder-width apart.
- Grip a bar across your upper back.
- Flex your knees slightly, and your toes turned out a bit.
- Keep your abs tight, torso upright, and head in a neutral position.
- Bend at your knees and hips slowly to lower your figure. Like, you’re going to sit on a chair.
- Go as deep as you can tolerate to a point where the thighs become parallel to the surface.
- Then drive through your heels forcefully and extend your knees & hips to return to a standing position.
Strengths: Squats are favourable in developing power, muscular growth, and strength. All this while strengthening the core and stabilizers.
Leg exercises are a must! If you don’t work out your leg muscles regularly, you’ll miss out on getting the most robust foundation possible. That foundation can support all of your activities swiftly. So, go and enhance your mobility!