Strengthening the leg muscles during training can bring great benefits, such as being able to walk for a long time and swim better.
Leg day is an essential part of any good gym routine. Compound exercises like squats and lunges are the key movements for building a powerful body that is fit to excel in sports and everyday life.
They also get your heart pumping and burn loads of calories, increasing your cardiovascular fitness and strength. Here’s a routine that targets your quads, hamstrings, and glutes to help you build useful muscle mass in your lower body.
How to warm up
The workout below is made up of demanding compound lifts, so taking the time to warm up thoroughly is vital. This will reduce your risk of injury and help get you started on the first set of work ready to perform at your best.
1. Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on the floor with one knee bent and one leg behind you. Place your front knee on top of your foot. Keep the other knee in contact with the ground. Slowly push your hips forward until you feel the stretching on the upper thigh of the leg that is behind.
2. Downward Dog Pose: From a push-up position, move your hands back toward your feet, driving your hips up and keeping your legs as straight as possible to feel the stretch in your hamstrings and calves.
3. Deep stride with hip circles: While maintaining a deep lunge position with your hands on the floor in front of you, begin to rotate your front knee to stretch and mobilize your hips.
It is recommended to do warm-up exercises such as touching the balls of the feet and raising the legs to the height of the abdomen.
Stand tall with the bar in front of you, then reach down and grab it from the sides facing forward. Keeping your chest up and core tight, press down through your heels to stand up. Push your hips forward at the top, then lower.
Series: 5 Repetitions: 8
2. Leg press
Sit on the machine positioning yourself correctly according to the instructions. Place your feet lower and closer together to engage your quads more, or higher and wider to engage your hamstrings and glutes more directly.
Bend your knees to bring them toward your chest, then press back to the start.
Series: 5 Repetitions: 8
3. Curl seated hamstring
Position yourself correctly with your legs straight and the padded bar against your lower leg. Squeeze your hamstrings to bring your heels toward you, then return to the start.
Series: 4 Repetitions: 10
4. Dumbbell lunge
Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your chest up and core tight, take a big step forward with your left leg and lunge down until both knees are bent at 90°. Push off your front foot to return to start, then repeat with your right leg. Alternate your front leg with each rep.
Series: 3 Repetitions: 8 on each side
5. Dumbbell squats
Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your chest up and core tight, bend at the hips and knees to squat down as deep as you can without rounding your back. Push down through your heels to rise back up and return to the starting position.
Series: 3 Repetitions: 15