It’s been said that training legs hard with squats and deadlifts can cause up to 10% increase in upper body size. For those like myself who don’t enjoy training legs as much as upper body, that should be incentive enough to train legs hard.
These are the best leg exercises you can perform for overall mass and strength gains.
1. Full Squat:
In the full squat the bar will rest a little higher on your traps. Place your hands a little wider than shoulder width. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Look straight ahead and squat all the way down, to a little below parallel – then drive the weight back up. It’s important to go below parallel to activate the glutes and hamstrings and create a full and powerful leg development. Do 4 sets of 12 – 8 reps.
2. Romanian Deadlift:
Step up to a loaded bar in a power rack. Keep your back straight and your head level. Slowly bend at the knees while lowering the bar down past your knees and feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes. Slowly raise the bar back up to the starting position. Keep a bend in your knees during the entire movement. Do 4 sets of 12 – 8 reps.
3. Leg Press:
Situate yourself on the leg press machine. Place your feet about 30 centimeters apart. Keep your butt on the seat your back pressed firmly against the back rest. With your feet tense and ready, unlock the weight and go down till your legs are at 90 degrees and drive the weight back up. Do 4 sets of 12 – 8 reps.
Stand shoulder feet apart with a pair of dumbbells in hand. Lunge your right foot forward in a stepping motion until your back knee almost touches the floor. Contract the muscles of the right leg and drive yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat with the left leg. Do 4 sets of 12 – 8 reps.
5. Hack squat:
Firmly plant your feet, keep your back straight and flat against the back rest and your traps under the shoulder support. With your legs ready and tensed, unlock the handles and go down to below parallel and drive the weight back up. Do 4 sets of 12 – 8 reps.
6. Leg Curls:
Lie face down on the lying leg curl machine and hook your feet under the bar. Grip the handles and curl both legs upwards in unison until you can’t curl any further, and slowly return down to the starting position. Do 4 sets of 15 – 12 reps.