Top 5 Best Must Do Leg Exercises!

Legs are often a neglected muscle group but they comprise over half of your body so it’s a good idea to pay yours due respect. Here are our Top 5 best must do leg exercises to hit those naturally powerful quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal and calf muscles of yours!

1. Squats

They can either be performed with a barbell or (a recent favourite of mine) using dumbbells. Research suggests more leg force is used when using dumbbells, taking the back muscles out of the process by not having to hold a weighted barbell on the cervical spine. Squats work the entire range of the quadricep and hamstring muscles thus making it a compound movement.

2. Lunges

Possibly the most underperformed exercise of them all and for good reason: they take leg development to a whole new level. A lot of people aren’t ready to enter the pain threshold of what lunges produce to get this greatly enhanced level leg development.

Lunges like squats can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell in a static position or with walking-type steps but this is a matter of preference. A little tip to target the gluteal muscles whilst doing lunges is to lean forward when flexing the knee on the concentric (or positive) part of the rep, stretching the gluteal muscles in the process.

3. Leg Press

This exercise is another compound movement which fully works the quads and hamstrings. More stress can be placed on the quads by placing your feet lower on the platform which you push from.

A higher foot stance on the platform will enhance hamstring and glute activation but to work both sets of muscles, the best would be in the middle of the platform with a shoulder-width foot stance.

4. Stiff-Legged Deadlift

This is isolation movement works the hamstrings but also involves the lower back depending on how high you return up with the bar on the concentric phase. This exercise unlike other well-known hamstring exercises provides a different force upon the hamstring by forcing them to stretch their way to growth, the negative part of the repetition on this exercise is just as important as the concentric part as this is when the stretching of the hamstring occurs.
This exercise can be performed with dumbbells and a barbell as a matter of preference.

5. Jefferson Deadlift

Performed with a barbell from the floor and with feet either side of the bar, the Jefferson deadlift is a vastly underused exercise but one that can be massively effective for the lower body. Take a wide stance with the bar between your legs having one hand in front and one hand behind your body. Use less weight in order to increase the range of knee motion. The key is to force your knees out as this activates the glutes and keeps them under contraction throughout the whole set.

Now these 5 exercises not only naturally increase testosterone levels, they also lead to a high degree of calorie burning and ‘after calorie burn’, just some of the many benefits of leg training. Remember your legs are the foundation of your body and by integrating these 5 into your training you’ll be doing the best exercises for ultimate leg development!

Antonio Linardi

Antonio is a Sports Scientist and Personal Trainer and currently works with people with a range of goals but specialises in muscle building, fat loss and improving athletic performance. An a FDSC and BSC student at Teesside University (in Sport and Exercise Applied Science, Fitness Instruction and Sport Therapy) his current research study involves finding out the effects of Intermittent Fasting on lean body mass increase and fat loss. He was also a former amateur boxer for Middlesbrough ABC and Natural Progression ABC and currently uses his experience to help improve the strength and conditioning of aspiring boxers and other athletes.

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