Have you looked into the mirror lately and noticed a trend? While you are likely building your upper body, the lower half may need a lot of work. One area that often stands out to me is chicken legs.
Today’s lifter seem to be dead-set on anti-symmetry and focus exclusively on the upper body which is dumb. Thankfully, what follows is a look at some of the best leg exercises that you can do to help bulk up and look amazing.
Before I forget, a ton (a technical term btw) of growth hormone gets released when you train your legs. A good leg workout will release growth hormone in your body and the result will be noticed everywhere, not just your legs. Make sure you eat, get plenty of protein and rest.
The 6 Best Leg Exercises
For many trainers & trainees, the best leg exercisesÂ begin with simple lunges. This is where you stand up with a single leg ahead of you, keeping your other knee bent. Then you lower the leg that isn’t bent to the floor, just before your knee touches. You’ll find that by doing this and switching between the legs will help you to develop those gnarly looking calves and quads.
In addition to your lunges, the next in the best leg exercises you can choose from will be the squat. This is one of the more popular choices out there. For this, you stand up straight, and then you slowly lower your body until your knees are out and you are in a sitting position, with your back still upright.
Bulgarian Split Squats
AÂ single-leg squat not only adds a limited amount of instability to your squat (more similar to what you would see on an athletic field than a two-legged squat), but also allows you to train with a lighter load. This has its place, like when you want to give your spine a break from those big poundages.
Stand in split stance with your back leg elevated on something like a step or a bench. It is recommended not to elevate your foot much more than about three feet. While in this position, shift your weight slightly forward so your front leg does all the work.
Keep your front foot flat on the ground and lower your body until your knee touches or comes very close to the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position with all of the force being generated through your front leg.
When you need to boost the lower section of your legs, the calf raises can be an ideal solution. This is as simple as taking your legs and keeping them an even distance apart. Now, raise your heel and leg by pushing up on your toes. Doing this several times is going to help to make an impact and you can add in a set of dumbbells to add to the effectiveness.
I enjoy performing donkey calf raises with either somebody sitting on my back or using the machine.
Sprinting is arguably the best way to firm your legs and butt without incorporating resistance training. Don’t get me wrong, doing squats, lunges and bulgarian split squats are also great ways to train your legs. But sprinting is the best alternative to these leg exercises.
With the exception of squats, deadlifts are far and away the best all-around exercise that exists. They build an all-around powerful, muscular, shredded physique faster than any other exercise can. The deadlift engages more muscle than any other exercise at one (even more than squats).
They absolutely SHRED body fat, and in terms of building muscle, they’ll put it in all of your favorite places: the butt, legs, and back.
I prefer to hold the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing in).
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of a barbell. Squat down and grip the barbell so that your forearms just touch the outside of your thighs. The bar should be rolled up against your shins.
Tighten your core, stick out your butt, puff out your chest, and keep your back straight throughout the entire movement. NEVER, ever arch your back. If you arch your back you WILL put unnecessary stress on it and cause major injury. Maintaining perfect posture is 100% necessary for these.
Drive your heels and hamstrings into the ground and simultaneouslyÂ raiseÂ your upper body into the standing position as you exhale. Hold for a second then return to the starting position. By bending at the knees and simultaneously leaning your torso forward.
Note: Keep your back straight during the descent.
Wrapping It Up
Something to keep in mind when you’re working your lower body is that you need to pay close attention to what it’s telling you. It is very easy to overexert the legs and doing so can cause serious problems. Not only do you run the risk of causing damage to the muscles and being sidelined until they heal. But if the condition is bad enough, such as a tear, it may require surgery.
Above all, keep in mind that your diet is going to play an important role in the effectiveness of your workout routine regardless of the muscle groups you’re training. Make sure you’re eating plenty of protein and keeping your energy levels up with complex carbohydrates. Both will ensure that you’re keeping your nutrition balanced and will play a HUGE role in the lean muscle mass that you can achieve when following these 6 best leg exercises available.
David “Tree Trunks” Aston