Home Business Insights & Advice Eight tips for a great leg workout by Majed Al Hamad
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Eight tips for a great leg workout by Majed Al Hamad

by Majed Al Hamad
11th Mar 20 11:18 am

If you pour all your energy into your upper body and don’t bother with a leg workout then you are missing out on some real overall benefits. Having strong legs and glutes will help your upper body and core strength.

One big benefit of great leg strength is the way it stabilises you and helps you lift more, work for longer and get more benefit from your old exercises. Here are some tips for building a killer leg workout.

1. Do the toughest exercise first

Your legs and glutes are the biggest, strongest muscles in your body, and they use up a lot of energy. This is why you should do the most complex exercises first in your workout, and you can’t go far wrong by starting with squats.

In fact, you should include squats in every workout you do, because they are absolute bedrock of all lower-body exercises. If you squat well and often, then you will find other leg exercises easier and more productive.

The more reps and sets you do the better, and you don’t have to be lifting heavy weights every time. Try to do weighted squats two or three times a week, but fit in bodyweight squats on the other days.

One huge benefit of squatting well is the improvement it gives you in flexibility, especially if you do deep squats without any weight. Your knees, ankles and hips will become more durable and flexible, which is good news for all your exercises.

2. Try goblet squats for better range of motion

A useful variation on the standard squat is the goblet squat, which can be done using a kettlebell or a dumbbell. Rather taking the load across your shoulders like a normal squat, you hold the weight in front of you.

This is a brilliant exercise if you are trying to increase your range of motion and is a lot easier technically than the barbell squat.

3. Lunge often for a great leg workout

Lunges are one of the great leg workout exercises, partly because you can build strength and endurance quite quickly and get benefits that you will feel across your whole workout.

Try to include lunges at the end of your sessions, and if you get bored of them you can alternate with doing step-ups instead. Lunges will target your quadriceps, while the step-ups will build the strength of your hamstrings and glutes.

You don’t even need to use weights to be effective, so doing lunges with just bodyweight is a great option if you are training at home or want to add a leg workout to an outdoor session.

4. Get your legs moving with different jumps

Bodyweight exercises are excellent in general, and they can be brilliant for your legs in particular through variations on the theme of jumping.

Box jumps demand real power from your legs as you start on the ground and drive up with both legs and land square on the box. This exercise also engages your core for balance.

Speedskater jumps are sideways jumps from one leg to the other. You should start cautiously until your strength and co-ordination build, then you can increase the distance of the jump and even carry a weight while you do it.

5. Strong glutes are key to any leg workout

Step-ups are just one option for building your glutes, which are an important part of your overall physique because they provide the basis and stability for lots of upper body work.

You can target your glutes with a range of exercises, including barbell hip thrusts, and sumo squats, which you can do with a kettlebell. Walking or running uphill also engages these big, powerful muscles more than work on flat or downhill surfaces.

6. Don’t let your legs get lazy6

The leg muscles respond well to working hard, but they will also plateau if you allow them to become too accustomed to a standard workout.

Try introducing some chaos, so your legs are always developing. You can do this in lots of different ways, as long as you are careful and don’t overload the muscles.

If you’ve noticed your legs are not working quite as hard in a session, add some extra reps to your sets, or extra sets. Throw in some drop sets, where you work the muscle to failure, then immediately reduce the weight and continue.

Keep some new exercises in reserve so that you can add one in on a whim, perhaps targeting a muscle group you haven’t worked hard for a while.

7. Be safe during your leg workout

 Safety is absolutely vital, whether you are planning a new leg workout or changing an existing routine. Your legs are essential for your everyday life and they need to provide a stable base for your workouts, so injuring them can frustrating and demoralising.

The most important safety advice for a leg workout is to avoid locking your knees. This happens when you straighten your leg to such an extent that all the weight is transferred to the joint rather than the muscles. Doing this can cause serious knee injuries.

Another risk is your toe angle, especially when using weight machines. Unless you are specifically advised otherwise by a trainer, you should keep your toes pointing straight to ensure that your ankles and knees are distributing the weight evenly.

8. Stretch your leg muscles regularly

One of the most underrated aspects of all workouts is the importance of an effective stretching regime. Your muscles need to be flexible and long, enabling them to provide the leverage you need to do your workout.

Make sure you build stretching into your day, both before and after a session, or even if you haven’t exercised that day.

Your legs are incredibly important to your health and wellbeing; paying attention to their strength and general health will help you to be happier and healthier.

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