Bodybuilding

Your New Favorite Leg Workout

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In the fitness world, there are two camps of people – those who love leg day, and those who hate it. The only thing they can agree on is that leg day is the toughest day of their training split. Love it, fear it, or hate it, the benefits of training your legs can’t be denied.

When you think of the sports and activities you love to do, whether it’s playing basketball, completing the Crossfit WOD, or chasing your kids around the yard, your legs are your powerhouse. Training your legs for muscle growth yields many benefits beyond the ability to run faster and jump higher. One of the main benefits to leg day is the massive calorie burn you can experience. With so many big muscles in your legs, an intense training session can result in a lot of weight lifted, therefore burning plenty of calories. Couple that with consistent training and muscle growth, and you can really boost your metabolic rate – remember, the more lean mass you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. When you can kick up your metabolism, you’re setting yourself up for success in reaching and maintaining your ideal body composition. Not to mention, you will also gain the bonus of how great strong, shapely legs and glutes look in your tight jeans and dresses!

In the same way that a house needs to be built on a strong foundation, your physique is no different. Start from the ground up and build some killer legs.

When planning a leg day, exercises are commonly split into four main groups: glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Give this workout a try to hit all four of those groups in one session. Don’t fear loading the bars up, either. Breaking the muscle down with weight is the key to increasing strength, building muscle, and adding some great shape to your lower half.

It’s always a good idea to get the blood flowing before starting any training session. Five minutes on a cardio machine should get your muscles and joints ready to go. Be sure to start your first exercise with a couple lighter sets for a more muscle-specific warm up.

Laying HamstringsLaying Hamstrings

4 sets x 8 – 10 reps

Training tip: Prop your upper body up on your elbows to keep your hips pressed into the pad. This will focus the work in your hamstrings.

Stiff-legged DeadliftsStiff-Legged Deadlifts

4 sets x 8 – 10 reps

Training tip: Push your hips back, stretching your hamstrings on the way down.

Squats
Squats

4 sets x 10 – 12 reps

Training tip: Avoid locking your knees at the top to keep the tension in the muscle.
Want to make it tougher? Pause at the bottom of the movement before driving back up!

Reverse Hack SquatsReverse Hack Squats

This one is great for the glutes!
3 sets x 15 reps

Training tip: Keep your body off the pad, and sink into a squat position making sure to keep your core strong.

Leg ExtensionsLeg Extensions

3 sets x 15 reps

Training tip: Start the movement with your quads, not your knees. Control the movement and squeeze the quads at the top for an extra burn!

Split Squats2 sets x 20 reps per leg

Training tip: If you’re struggling with your balance, you can hold onto the back of a weight bench. Progress by holding onto dumbbells, or putting a preloaded barbell on your back.

Seated CalvesSeated Calves

3 sets x 15 reps

Don’t neglect the bottom half of your legs!
Training tip: Slow and controlled is key when training calves! Feel the stretch at the bottom, and press into your big toe at the top.

Hopefully you feel the burn after this one… maybe even for a couple days! Before training the same muscle group again, allow some time for recovery – at least 48 hours, or until the muscle soreness is gone. Now, go train hard and build a strong set of legs!

Ashleigh is a national level women's physique competitor with a Masters degree in Human Kinetics. She puts her passion for the fitness industry to good use - she's a health promotion specialist, group fitness instructor, competition prep coach, and loves to apply her education through research and writing. In her free time, she can be found training at the gym with her husband, or spending time with her dogs.

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