top 15 leg exercises

Top 15 Leg Exercises

You have so many choices of leg workouts at the gym if you want to train the lower body. There is no doubt in it that so many exercisers feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, they skip leg workouts entirely. It might be one of your favorite excuses, right?

When it comes to leg training, variation is a crucial element. The quads, hamstrings, and glutes are made up of multiple muscles. They are responsible for multiple lower body functions. Hence, having multiple leg exercises in your workout schedule is necessary.

Why Leg Training Is Very Crucial?


The most important thing is leg exercises targets some of your body’s biggest muscles. Furthermore, it is one of the significant components of fitness 2022. Most significant muscle which this training target is the glutes. It is a foundation on which your fitness is built. Overall, training your legs means:

  • Burning more calories.
  • Elevation of T-levels.
  • Big lifts boost.
  • Mobility improves.
  • Building of strength, power, and mass.

They might be the apparent outcomes for you. But leg workouts at the gym are also critical for brain and nervous system health. The wheels send necessary signals to the brain that help produce neural cells, especially during weight-bearing exercise. This is according to the research published in Frontiers.

Why Can’t You Skip Leg Day?


Skipping leg day more than twice can make you unbalanced and more prone to injury. Is it not convincing? It’s ok; let’s find more convincing reasons. How many of you know what a leg workout looks like? Doing leg exercises is like the following:

  • Bulgarian split squat.
  • Pistol squat.
  • Single leg curl.

It is not just good; it benefits you in the form of powerful legs. Moreover, a great way of engaging your core muscles and developing better balance. Working on one side of the body can also stimulate the same muscles on the other side of the body. If you are injured, these moves are great for rehabilitation.

Whether you admit it or not, leg day is not going anywhere. So, you should take advantage of it entirely. If your goal is building muscle size, exercise variation is as effective as the intensity of the workout. It is true according to the study published in the Journal of strength and conditioning.

What Should Be the Movement Patterns in Leg Workout?

The workout for the legs should be a simple one. The majority of your program should be based on lower body movements. The example of lower body movements are:

  • Squats
  • Hip hinges
  • Lunges

These exercises focus on the major muscle groups of the legs like:

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

First, you need to master the basic movements; then, there are plenty of movements to keep yourself challenged.

Sets And Reps Necessary for A Leg Workout:

If you are a beginner, follow the theme of keeping things simple. 3-to 5 exercises per leg workout are enough. After selecting workouts, complete 3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. It ensures that you are working your muscles for fatigue, not failure.

Why Can’t You Choose More Than 5 Leg Exercises?


With more little exercises, you would be able to focus on integral movements while performing at your peak. A long workout can be unproductive.

What Should Be the Duration of Leg Workout Per Week?

If a goal is to maximize muscle growth, there is no difference between training major muscle groups one time per week versus three times per week. The only thing which makes a difference in muscle growth is resistance training volume. It means how many sets and reps you are completing. Higher volume sessions produce better results than working on the same muscle group multiple times per week.

What Is the Process of Warm Up and Cool Down Properly?

A proper warmup and cool-down are the important elements of the perfect workout.

Start with 5 minutes of cardio for warmup to increase the heart rate and blood flow. If there is more time, hop on the foam roller for 5 minutes of soft tissue release. To cool down, use a nice stretch.

Most Famous Leg Exercises:

There are very famous leg workouts, but we will discuss some most common leg exercise names here.

1- Squat: 

It is the most well-known exercise for building strong legs and butt. The main muscles to which squat targets are:

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Core
How To Perform Squat?


Stand with feet by keeping hips and shoulders apart. Drive your hips so that you have an intention of sitting down. Allow your knees to bend until you reach the required depth. The vertical position of the shins is essential at the bottom of the squat to keep the knees from passing toes.

The depth varies from person to person depending on the following factors:

  • Anatomy
  • Mobility
  • Lower body strength
  • When knees begin to shift forward, that is your end range.

2-  Step-Up:

This is, without any doubt, the most functional exercise. We all walk upstairs at various times during the day. It’s a unilateral exercise; a strong leg is ideal for it can’t compensate for a weaker leg. Each leg takes its turn, absorbing the full brunt of the motion. It mainly targets the quadriceps and glutes.

The step-up workout comes in variations and can be adjusted for beginners and athletes. For resistance, you can hold barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells.

How To Perform Step Up?

Stand at the top of the platform. Hold a dumbbell in front of the knee to hip high step. Step forward with one leg onto the platform and drive through the thigh to force your body upward. Step back by keeping one leg on the floor and the other on the platform.

3- Walking Lunge:

There are various variations of lunges. Various directions are suitable for walking lunges like the front, side, backward, or any point in between. The following aspects of walking lunges make our list:

  • They are slightly more functional since you continually move forward instead of standing still.
  • They provide an excellent finisher to any leg workout.
  • The walking lunge mainly targets quads, hams, and glutes.

This exercise is a dynamic movement that requires coordination and muscle recruitment to perform perfectly. It is a unilateral activity, regardless of the fact in which way it is performed. It emphasizes the front rather than the back leg. You get a good amount of contraction from the above and below the knee joint.

How To Perform Walking Lunge?


By holding dumbbells in each hand, step forward. To lower the torso towards the floor, bend both knees. But make sure that your front knee doesn’t pass your toes. Stop rear knee just short of touching the floor. Move forward with the heel of your front foot while bringing your rear leg forward until you return to the standing position. Step opposite leg into a lunge and repeat the same process.

4- Romanian Deadlift:

You can use quadriceps, a four-headed beast of muscle groups, until and unless you develop hamstrings with enough strength of equal measure to balance out quads. Otherwise, your knees will forever be prone to injury. The Romanian deadlift works the hamstrings from the hips. It is a necessary addition to hams which otherwise can be dominated by the leg curl. This works on all muscles of knee joints. It mainly targets hamstrings.

How To Perform Romanian Deadlift?


Stand upright and hold the barbell in front of the upper thighs with an overhand grip. Lean forward from the hips to push them rearward until the torso is roughly parallel to the floor. Place feet shoulder-width apart and bend knees slightly. Keep chest, arms straight, and core tight to maintain the neural arch in your back.

At the bottom, keep your back flat and your head neutral. The bar should be very close to the legs. Stretch your hamstrings and glutes to reverse the motion. Brings the bar back to the start position. The movement should come from the hips by pushing your hips forward. But not extended from the lower back.

5- Stability Ball Bridge:

This exercise challenges your hamstrings and glutes. Moreover, balances the body in a whole new way.

How To Perform Stability Ball Bridge?


Start by lying on the floor and keeping your arms by your sides. Bent legs at 90 degrees and feet on a stability ball. To lift hips off the ground a few inches and push down into soles, upper back, and soles.

6- Lateral Lunge with Balance:

Most of the workouts focus on forwarding and backward movements. But the lateral lunges have importance for all-rounded movement.

How To Perform Lunge with Balance?


Stand by keeping hips apart and hands at sides. Take a big step to the right and push your hips back. Bend right knee and lower until a knee is bent to 90 degrees. Push back to an upright position, lift the knee and pull it into the chest with your arms.

7- Isometric Calf Raise:

This workout hits your carves without any need for machinery.

How To Perform Isometric Calf Raise?

isometric calf raise

Stand with feet shoulder apart while holding a pair of dumbbells. Keep the rest of the body still and lift onto the tip of your toes. The duration of one lift is up to 30 seconds.

8- Goblet Squat:

Traditional squats provide you with lower body muscle building while touching shoulders and arms simultaneously. The Goblet squat is an excellent alternative for those who lack shoulder mobility to maintain proper back squat form. Positioning the load in front of the body challenge core and quadriceps more.

How To Perform Goblet Squat?

How To Perform Goblet Squat

Stand by keeping your legs more expansive than the shoulders. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in line with the thighs. Stick your backside out and bend your knees. Lower yourself into a squat position until the dumbbell touches the floor. Get back into the initial position and repeat the same.

9- Barbell Side Lunge:

Lateral Lunges have an impact on your hip adductors and abductors. If you are feeling difficulty keeping an upright torso, try to place a wedge under the heel of the bent leg. It will reduce the amount of the desired hip flexion. Due to this, it facilitates a more upright position. Through this exercise, you will become a more flexible sportsman.

How To Perform Barbell Side Lunge?


Stand with legs under the hips and hold a barbel on the back. Stretch your leg outside and lower down the body as you bend your knee. But keep your legs straight during this time. Bring yourself back to the initial position and repeat the same thing on the other side.

10- Hip Thrust:

This exercise is valuable for building strength and increasing glutes size.

How to perform hip thrust?

Find an elevated surface like a bench and sofa, then sit on it. The bench should be positioned below your shoulder blade. Place a dumbbell, barbell, or plate under your hips. You need to support the weight via hands throughout the movement. Place your back down on the bench with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. During this position, keep shoulder-width apart. Your legs should form a 900 angle.

While keeping feet stationary, lower down. Your chin should be tucked and brought your butt down towards the ground. Stop once your torso forms an angle of 45o with the ground. Push up through the heels until thighs are parallel to the floor again. Squeeze glutes at the top and return to the starting position.

11- Single-Leg Deadlift:

This exercise whips your hamstrings and works on your balance.

How to perform single leg deadlift:

Keep your back straight and gaze forward while holding a dumbbell throughout the movement. Put your weight on the left leg and start hinging at your waist. While keeping left knee soft. Continue to hinge forward and lift the right leg up and back until the body forms a straight line from head to toe. Make sure that the hips are square to the ground. Pause and then return back to the initial position. Complete the required number of reps on each leg.

12- Lying Leg Curls:

Lie face down on the leg exercise machine and place it under the foot pad. It would be a few inches below the calves. Grab machine handle while keeping torso flat and stretch legs at their full potential. Keep upper legs on the pad and curl your legs as far as you can while exhaling. Stay in that position for a second. Return back to the initial position when you inhale.

13- Hip Circles:

This movement will make your glutes burn. Furthermore, helps in maintaining much-needed mobility in the hip area.

How to perform hip circles?

Support yourself by putting weight on the elbows and knees. Keep shoulders over the elbows and hips over the knees in circles for 30 seconds. After that, switch to the other leg and repeat the same process.

14- Broad Jump:

Doing broad jumps consistently increase the distance you jump over time. Moreover, strengthen glutes and quads as well as the ability to perform burst-like movements.

How to perform broad jumps:

Keep your knees hip-length apart, and bend at the glutes and hips. Launch body forward in a controlled jump movement. Jump on your feet as you feel comfortable from the initial starting point. Maintain a soft foot landing like a ninja. Don’t try to make a noise. It will keep knees safe and jump fluid.

15- Duck Walks:

It is genuinely a fun exercise to burn out your quads and glutes.

How To Perform Duck Walks:

Stand by keeping feet and shoulder-width apart and cross hands in front of the chest. Slowly sit by keeping hips back and down into a half square position. Keeping hips stable, lower right knee down to the ground followed by left. After that, return to a half square position. This will be the first rep and complete the required reps in the same manner.

Most Famous Machines for Leg Workouts:

Here we will discuss a few exercise machines that will be extremely helpful in effective leg workouts.

Hack Squat/ Leg Press:

According to various research pieces of evidence, leg press significantly impacts the inner quads of the lower quadriceps. It is one of the most popular leg machines at the gym. While squat hack targets outer sweep that is important for total leg development.

Leg Extension Machines:

Leg extension exercises are ideal for isolating the front and side of the thighs. This is one of those leg workout machines that target the quadriceps muscles of the legs. This exercise involves bending the leg at the knee and extending the legs, lowering them back to the original position.

While doing this exercise, it is essential to adjust the seat; it brings your knees precisely in line with the axis of the machine. Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze quads to add intensity.

Inner And Outer Thigh Machines:

This thigh workout machine is used for shaping, toning, and strengthening the leg and muscles. It is essential to strengthen inner and outer thigh muscles. They are critical to stabilizing your knees and pelvis when you walk.

Seated Leg Curl:

The leg curls help make knees, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes firm. This machine for leg workouts strengthens and tones the hamstrings besides defining the back and front of the leg. Another benefit is that they can be very effective for protecting your joints and knees from stress and injury.


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