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The Best And Most Effective Leg Workout For Building Strong Muscles

Leg Workout

Working out at a gym is fun till leg day shows up, a Most proportion of the people who go to a gym or a fitness center hates leg day and often skip it. Skipping leg days will make your lower body weak and the size of your body muscles will be unbalanced.

Leg muscles are a very important part of your body as most of the daily activities are performed using these muscles. Many sports activities like running, jumping, walking, cycling, hockey, football, and basketball require strong leg muscles.

So the big question is, why people hate to train their leg muscles?

All the muscles in your legs are among the biggest in your body so training them can cause fatigue and late recovery. Working out your lower body with heavy weights can cause soreness in your muscles which causes pain and difficulty in doing the daily activities.

But once your leg muscles get mature then it’s not as difficult and painful.

To make your lower-body muscles strong and muscular, I have listed some of the best and effective leg exercises below. These exercises don’t require a lot of equipment and space.

Here Are The Best And Most Effective Leg Exercises

1) Deadlifts

Deadlift
The deadlift is one of the best weight training compound exercises that work for many muscle groups present in your upper and lower body. In this exercise, a loaded bar or barbell is lifted off from the ground to the level of your torso, perpendicular to the ground.
Deadlift performs in most of the powerlifting competitions among other weight lifting exercises like bench press and squats, to examine the strength of the lifters.

Benefits:

1) It promotes weight loss

While performing deadlifts, many muscles are being trained which helps in burning large amounts of calories; hence promotes weight loss. Due to the working of many muscles in a single move, this exercise stimulates muscle growth, which results in a high rate of metabolism in your body.

2) It works on your abdominal muscles

One of the primary muscles trained during the deadlift is the abdominal muscles. These muscles act as stabilizers in this exercise, so to train them you need a proper form. You can engage your core while doing deadlifts by keeping your abs tight.

3) It strengthens your glute muscles

Deadlift train’s your glute muscles better than squats due to the higher range of motion. Deadlift improves strength, endurance, and promotes muscle growth for the gluteus maximus.

4) Improves cardiovascular fitness

Deadlift with higher repetitions and with proper form improves your cardiovascular fitness by delivering oxygen to the working muscles. In the case of deadlift, many muscles are working together, so the more you perform deadlift the better you get at it.

5) Activates many muscle groups together

The deadlift is best known for training various muscle groups together. This exercise releases growth hormones for muscle development and also makes your bones and joints stronger. Performing deadlifts regularly will give you a well-developed physique.

Equipment Required:

A barbell having weights as per your fitness level.

Safety Equipment:

The deadlift has a high risk of injuries due to the working of many muscle groups together. Poor technique can cause an imbalance in the distribution of load on the muscles, increasing the risk of injuries.
To prevent injuries while performing the deadlift exercise, some safety equipment is listed below.
1) A powerlifting belt (if working with heavyweights) for supporting your lower back.
2) A set of wrist wraps for supporting your wrist, preventing any injury. Wrist wraps help the lifters to apply their full strength.
3) You can also apply chalk on your hands for increasing your grip on the barbell. Applying chalk creates a thin layer on your skin, which increases friction.

How To Perform:

1) Start this exercise with your feet hip-width apart and your back straight. Hold the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.
2) Brace your abdominal muscles and look in front while lifting the barbell off the ground, using your leg and back muscles. Inhale while lifting the barbell. Your elbows should be kept locked for the entire movement of this exercise.
3) Stop the movement when the barbell approaches the level of your thighs. Don’t lock your knees, a slight bend is important.
4) Return the barbell to the starting position. Exhale while returning the barbell down on the ground. This is one repetition of the deadlift exercise. Perform 12-15 repetitions in 3 sets each.

Variations:

1) Romanian Deadlift:

Romanian deadlift focuses more on your hamstring muscles than the original deadlift exercise. You can perform this exercise anywhere as no heavyweights are required, reducing the risk of injuries hence making this move safe, easy, and effective.

2) Sumo Deadlift:

The sumo deadlift is a great alternative to the standard deadlift exercise if you have a weak back or suffering from back injuries. In this movement your feet are open wide to lower the distance between the body and the ground, this creates less tension in your back and more in your leg muscles.

3) Rack Pull:

The rack pull has a lower range of motion than the traditional deadlift exercise, this creates an opportunity to lift heavyweights. Rack pull focuses on your lower back muscles as the barbell is lifted from the power rack, not from the ground. You can also perform this exercise if you want to improve your form.

4) Trap Bar Deadlift:

Trap bar deadlift also is known as hex deadlift and the diamond bar deadlift is a hypertrophy and strength variation of traditional deadlift exercise. The pulling force of overall body muscles is required to do this movement. Trap bar deadlift is mostly performed by athletes and lifters for developing strength, endurance, and agility.

5) Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift:

The Kettlebell sumo deadlift is a variation of the sumo deadlift exercise. To perform this movement you need a Kettlebell. This exercise is best for beginners who want to improve their form and strength for more challenging deadlift exercises.

2) Sumo Squats

Squats

Sumo squat is a bodyweight strength training compound exercise that derives from the traditional squat exercise. This exercise is performed by keeping your legs wider than normal squats, giving an impression of a sumo wrestler. Sumo squat requires more stability than the traditional squats due to its form.

Sumo squat exercise primarily target’s your inner thighs, quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, and calf muscles.

You can also use a resistance band around your knees when performing this exercise, to increase its difficulty and train your muscles harder.

Benefits:

1) Activates your abdominal muscles

While performing sumo squats, your core muscles are activated to balance the move. Your abdominal muscles take the tension from your lower back, which lowers the risk of injuries.

2) You can use additional weights

You can use additional weights like dumbbells and kettlebell, after becoming an expert in the bodyweight version. A weighted barbell can also be used to challenge your strength.

3) Promotes muscle growth

Sumo squat is a great exercise for building muscle mass and strength in your lower body muscles.

4) Strengthens your inner thigh muscles

In this movement, the adductor muscles are also trained which are present in your inner thighs. Strong inner thighs will help you in performing daily activities more effectively.

5) Promotes weight loss

Sumo squat is a compound movement, meaning it builds many muscles in your lower body which helps in burning a large number of calories.

Equipment Required:

No equipment is needed as this movement uses body weight to train your muscles.

How To Perform:

1) Stand on the ground with your back straight. Open your legs wider than your shoulder width, toes turned out at 45 degrees.
2) Activate your core muscles and lower your body by bending your knees. Keep your hands in front of your chest for the whole movement. Inhale while lowering your body.
3) When your thighs are parallel to the ground or when your hips are in line with your knees, pause the movement. Hold the position and then return to the starting position by pressing your heels. Exhale while returning.
4) This is one repetition of the sumo squat exercise. Perform 12-15 repetitions of this exercise in 3 sets each.

Variations:

1) Goblet Squats:

Goblet squat is a weight training variation of sumo squat exercise. This exercise can be performed with a dumbbell or Kettlebell. Goblet squats target’s your legs, glutes, and core muscles. This exercise provides you with a full range of motion while preventing common mistakes like leaning too forward or knees caving inwards.
Goblet squats can also be used as a warm-up exercise before performing intense lower body workouts.

2) Sumo Jump Squats:

Sumo jump is a plyometric exercise that is performed in high-intensity interval training programs for toning your body muscles. This exercise increases your heartbeat which results in weight loss. The quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, calves, and abs are the muscles used in this movement. For performing the sumo squat jump, very little space is required as no equipment is required.

3) Barbell Sumo Squats:

Barbell sumo squat as the name suggests is a weight training variation of sumo squat exercise, performed with a loaded barbell. Having external weight on your shoulders increases the intensity of the regular sumo squat exercise, strengthening lower body muscles, and promoting muscle mass. Barbell sumo squats require good form as a lot of tension is on your leg muscles.

3) Farmer’s Walk

Farmers walk

The farmer’s walk is a weight training compound movement that is performed by carrying weights in each hand while walking. This exercise can be performed by all the people with either beginner or advanced level of experience.

Farmer’s walk target’s upper body, core, and lower body muscles. Farmers walk is a great way to increase your overall body strength and can also be used as a warm-up exercise.
You can perform this exercise anywhere as only a set of dumbbells or kettlebells is required.

Benefits:

1) Builds core strength

Walking with the weights in your hands activates your core muscles. Strong core muscles are very important as they are required in most of the lower body exercises. Training your core improves your balance and movement of your trunk.

2) You can lift as per your requirement

In the farmer’s walk, you can train your muscles as you wish. The heavier you lift the more your muscles grow. This makes the farmer’s walk both easy and challenging to the people.

3) Needs minimum equipment

Due to its minimal equipment requirement, farmer’s walk is accessible to anyone with weights (dumbbell or Kettlebell)

4) Increases metabolism and burn large amount of calories

This exercise increases your metabolism and thus burns a large number of calories, as most of your body muscles are activated during the movement.

Equipment Required:

A set of dumbbells or Kettlebell.

How To Perform:

You can perform a farmer’s walk in two ways: Using time or distance. If you’re using time, then you can walk for 30-45 seconds or if you’re using distance, then you can walk for 30-50 meters.
Select weights according to your strength. If choosing heavyweights, then perform this movement for a small duration or distance and if using light weights, then perform for a long duration or distance.
1) Hold a set of dumbbells in each hand with a tight grip, facing in a forward direction. Your hands should be beside your body and shoulder-width apart.
2) Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Your head should be facing in the forward direction.
3) Start the movement while engaging your core muscles, pulling your shoulders down, and keeping your posture upright.
4) Walk for a certain amount of time or distance and then stop the movement. This is one set of farmer’s walks. Perform 3-4 sets of this exercise. Remember to keep breathing with every step.

Variations:

1) Farmer’s Walk Using One Arm:

This exercise is almost similar to the farmer’s walk the difference is, in the farmer’s walk you carry weights in each hand but in this exercise, you carry weight in only one hand. Carrying weight in one hand at a time is great for beginners and for training oblique muscles.

2) Farmer’s Walk Using Trap Bar:

This exercise is a more intense variation of the farmer’s walk. Doing the farmer’s walk using a trap bar keeps your body in proper form, but at the same moment provides great tension to your body muscles, results in better muscle development. Due to its high intensity, this exercise is mostly performed by advanced level lifters or athletes.

3) Kettlebell Bottoms Up Carry:

The most dynamic variation of the farmer’s walk is Kettlebell bottoms-up carry. This exercise is performed by holding a Kettlebell upside down in one hand and then walking for a certain amount of duration or distance. The primary focus of this exercise is on your rotator cuff and abdominal muscles. Your strength and balance are also improved with this movement.

4) Dumbbell Lunges

Lunges
Dumbbell lunges are one of the most popular and effective weight training lower body compound exercises. This exercise works for your quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, calves, core, shoulders, and arms.
 
You need good form to perform dumbbell lunges. If your form is not correct you can perform lunges without weights to improve it. Due to its functionality, this exercise is a great fit for a lower-body circuit training program.

Benefits:

1) Its major focus is on your quadriceps muscle

The primary focus of this exercise is on your quadriceps muscles, present in your thighs. This muscle helps in the movement of your knee joint. Strong quadriceps are used in many sports like running, jumping, cycling, football, and basketball, etc.

2) Burns calories and promotes weight loss

Dumbbell lunges work for large muscles in your lower body which promotes lean muscle and burns a large number of calories. This exercise increases your resting metabolism therefore burning excess fat from your body.

3) It improves your posture

 This exercise improves your posture and balance. Working one leg at a time challenges your core and back muscles, making them work harder to maintain your body balance.

Equipment Required:

A set of dumbbells with a weight according to your fitness level.

How To Perform:

1) Stand tall with your back straight, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Both the dumbbells should be on either side of your body, facing in the front direction.
2) Activate your core muscles. Take a big step with your left leg while bending the knee of the right leg. Inhale while bending your knee.
3) Stop the movement when your right knee is closer to the ground and your left thigh is parallel to the ground.
4) Raise your right knee using your left leg, returning to the starting position. Perform the same steps with your other leg. This is one repetition of dumbbell lunges.
5) Perform 12-15 repetitions of this exercise in 3-4 sets each.

Variations:

1) Reverse Lunges:

Reverse lunges are a bodyweight strength training exercise which is a variation of traditional lunges. This exercise works more on your glutes than on your quadriceps muscles, as you’re moving your leg in a backward direction. In the reverse lunge, you take a step back with your left leg and bend the knee till it’s closer to the ground while your right thigh will be parallel to the ground.

2) Lateral Lunges:

Lateral lunge is based on moving your body sideways than in the front or back direction. This exercise primarily targets the inner thigh, outer thigh, and glute muscles. This increases the functional strength of your lower body, therefore making lateral lunges best for sports activities like football, basketball, and athletics.

3) Lunge Jump:

Jumping lunge or lunge jump is a dynamic variation of traditional lunge exercise. This exercise promotes strength, endurance, and agility in your lower body and core muscles. This movement is done by performing a normal lunge and then jumping to change the leg. Lunge jump also challenges the dynamic stability and muscle coordination of your body.

4) Curtsy Lunge:

Curtsy lunge is a bodyweight strength exercise which is a variation of standard reverse lunge exercise. Curtsy lunge is almost similar to normal lunges, the difference is that in curtsy lunge the leg moving backward is crossed behind the stationary leg. This movement primarily works for your glute muscles and secondary for your core, quadriceps, hamstring, and calves.

5) Wall Sit

Leg workout
Wall sit is the most simple and yet effective lower body exercise that primarily focuses on your quadriceps muscles. Wall sit promotes isometric strength and endurance in your lower body muscles.
This exercise is performed by keeping your body in the air, forming a chair position, and using the wall as a support. Wall sit can be very painful if done for a long duration.
Wall sit is also used in the armed forces as a disciplinary action as it takes less space and no equipment.

Benefits:

1) It develops muscle endurance

Wall sit promotes muscular endurance which increases stamina and allows athletes to play for long periods.

2) Strengthens your quadriceps muscles

It isolates your quadriceps muscles which makes it easy to play sports activities like running, soccer, hockey, and skiing.

3) Minimum equipment is required

This exercise requires minimum equipment and very little space which makes this exercise simple and convenient.

Equipment Required:

This is a bodyweight exercise so no equipment is required. You can use a resistance band around your knees to increase the intensity of this movement.

How To Perform:

1) Start this movement with your back against the wall. Legs hip-width apart and 2 feet away from the wall.
2) Engage your core muscles and slowly slide your body down till your thighs are parallel to the ground.
3) Hold the position for 30-45 seconds, keeping your back straight and against the wall. Slowly raise your body to the starting position. Remember to keep breathing to supply oxygen to your muscles.
4) This is one set of wall sit exercise. Perform 3-4 sets for developing muscle mass in your lower body.

Variations:

1) Straight Leg Lift:

This movement trains your lower body muscles even harder than the wall sit exercise. Straight leg lift is done by keeping your body in the position wall sit exercise and then lifting one leg straight in the air, parallel to the ground.
Your arms and back are the major supporters of this exercise.

2) Heel Lift:

Heel lift strengthens your calf muscles better than standard wall sit exercise. This movement is done by keeping your body in the air using your heels while the rest of the form remains the same as wall sit. Your hips should be aligned with your knees and your back should be straight for the whole movement.

3) Marching:

This exercise is a dynamic variety of wall sit as both the legs are used in the movement. Your abdominal muscles are activated for this movement. Marching is done by raising your legs alternatively in the air, lifting your knee to your chest level. Your core muscles are used to stabilize the movement and to hold the position between the changing of the legs.

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