Fundamental Exercises To Grow Your Legs

Building strong legs is a vital aspect of your overall fitness. Who doesn’t want a pair of strong legs with well-built hamstrings, quads, and glutes? To build strong legs, you need a strategy and a lot of hard work. Don’t miss your leg days, as they are beneficial in the long run. 

It’s important to have a variety in your leg day session because if you’re doing the same movements every time, you are using your legs for less than they’re capable of doing. We have included workouts to target the main muscle groups in your legs – glutes, quads, and hamstrings. If you’re too busy to head towards the gym, we have included workouts you can easily do at home

Front Squat

There are an endless variety of squats; we are starting with a front squat. This move is going to push you to develop ankle, shoulder, and hip mobility.

How to do a Front Squat

  • Place the bar in the squat rack at shoulder-height. 
  • Grab the bar with your hands facing in front, shoulder-width apart. 
  • Bend your elbows towards the ground and bring your upper chest to the bar so it rests on your shoulders. 
  • Firmly push your elbows towards the ceiling and shoulders forward. 
  • Look at a point exactly in front of you, lift the bar off the rack, and take one step back with each foot, so you stand shoulder-width apart. 
  • Inhale a deep breath and while keeping your elbows high, drop your hips between your legs. 
  • Now reverse the motion until you’re in a standing position. 

Deadlift

The deadlift is considered a whole-body exercise, and here we’re doing it for quad activation, hamstrings, and glutes. 

 

How to do a Deadlift

  • While keeping your back flat and straight, stand straight and look in front. 
  • Roll the bar back to your shins and grab it with both hands.
  • Push through your heels and straighten your knees. Now engage your hamstrings and glutes and pull up the bar. 
  • With a straight back, lower the bar to get to the starting position. Push your hips as you’re sitting on the chair. This completes a rep. 

Kettlebell Swing

When you do a kettlebell swing in a proper form, you’re hammering your core and pushing power to your glutes and hamstrings. This workout is a must-have in your leg day routine. 

How to do a Kettlebell Swing

  • Stand tall and straight while gripping the bell with both your hands. 
  • Now firm your knees and shift your weight to the heels while lowering the hips down. 
  • Now swing the weight upwards up to the chest with arms extended. 
  • Shift your weight again to the heels and swing the kettlebell between the legs. 
  • As it makes the transition from backward to forward, drive through your heels, and repeat the movement. 

Walking Lunge

\Walking Lunge is a variation to standard lunge exercise. This workout trains your glutes more effectively and keeps the lift dynamic. 

How to do a Walking Lunge

  • Stand tall with your feet apart shoulder-width. You can keep your hands on the sides of your body.
  • Now step forward with your right leg putting the weight on your heel. 
  • Now bend the knee to parallel the ground in a lunge position and hold a second position. 
  • Without moving the right leg, move your left foot forward, and repeat the same movement. 
  • Walk forward with alternate legs as you lunge. 
  • This completes a rep; you can perform 10 to 12 reps in 3 sets. 

Leg Press

Leg press allows for a variety of foot positions. Ensure you keep your back straight while doing this workout, as a curled back increases the risk of injury. 

How to do a Leg Press

  • Sit down in the chair and push the platform away with your forefoot and heels. Make sure your heels are flat on the footplate, and you never use the front of your feet to move the pad forward. 
  • Exhale and extend your legs slowly and in full control while keeping your head and back flat against the seat pad. 
  • When you reach the top, pause for a moment, and do not lock your knees. 
  • Slowly take a deep breath and return the footplate to its original position by firmly bending your knees. Just a reminder, keep your back and head flat throughout the session. 
  • If you have never done a leg press before, start with three sets of 10 reps. 

Romanian Deadlift

It may be one of the trickiest workouts you’ll learn, and learning the correct form is vital. The key is to keep your back straight and never let it curl down. 

How to do a Romanian Deadlift

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. 
  • Hinge forward at the hips with your spine long and straight. Grip the barbell with both hands at shoulder-width apart. 
  • Squeeze your hamstrings, glutes, and core, and lift the weight to about your upper thighs. Tighten your glutes and lockout hips at the top. 
  • Repeat the movement by lowering down the weight to between your toes or knees. 

Glute Bridge

If you’re dreaming of powerful deadlifts or heavy squats, a glute bridge is a must for your training. If you find this workout very easy, you can increase the intensity by adding weights. 

How to do a Glute Bridge

  • Lie with the back straight on the floor, knees bent, and feet flat. 
  • Place your arms at your sides and palms facing the floor. 
  • Now lift your hips slightly off the ground until your hips, knees, and shoulders form a straight line. 
  • Hold this bridge position for a couple of seconds before lowering down. 

Bulgarian Split Squats

Single leg exercises are known for maintaining fantastic balance and coordination and developing muscle growth. 

How to do Bulgarian Split Squats

  • Stand 2 feet away from a knee-high bench with it behind you. 
  • Lift your right leg and place the top of your foot on the bench. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet in a position that you can easily lunge. 
  • Engage your core and roll your shoulders back. Now lean slightly forward at the waist to lower down on your left leg while bending the knee. 
  • Stop before your knees fall over your toes. 
  • Push up through your left foot, driving the power through your hamstrings and quads to return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat the movement on alternate legs. 

Hack Squat

Hack squats are usually done after free weight exercises and before single-joint leg movements. 

How to do a Hack Squat

  • Start with loading the machine by the desired amount of weight. We recommend getting familiar with the machine before adding a lot of weight. 
  • Step into the machine while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and shoulders and back against the pads. 
  • Inhale, release the safety angles and lower down. Bend your knees until they reach a 90-degree angle. 
  • Hold there and push up through the back of your feet to extend your legs. Get back to the starting position. 

The Bottom Line

People often build their upper bodies and completely neglect their legs. Can you imagine a strong chest and abs with chicken legs? No, right. Apart from these workout moves, keep a few additional things in mind for training your legs. While doing legs, train quickly as the faster movements build muscle in the legs very fast. Just make sure you have full control over your movements. 

Many people think that cardio-based exercises like cycling, swimming, and running engage leg muscles and help them grow big. This isn’t true; these exercises use a lot of energy without putting enough strain on your legs’ muscles to force them to grow. That’s why you can do other resistant training and hit the cardio when your legs are in shape. The best practice is to train your body as much as it can tolerate and never beyond it. If you’re doing machine workouts, be familiar with them before adding weights.