If you were to ask any bodybuilder what the toughest body part is to train, 99% of the time, they would respond with ‘legs’. Leg training is absolutely brutal, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. As you will all no doubt already know however, in order for you to build a symmetrical and aesthetic physique, your legs simply must be on par with the rest of your body. If your legs could use some work, or if you simply want to start making improvements for next year, here’s a look at 4 of the most effective leg exercises you could wish for.
Barbell front squats
We all know that squats are arguably the main reason why leg training has such a reputation for being absolutely brutal, and we all know how tough behind the neck barbell squats can be. If you’re looking for a different variation of the standard squat, that many experts believe to be even more effective, then barbell front squats are perfect. With this exercise, you rest the bar across your upper chest, by crossing your arms over one another to hold the bar in place. As your core is doing so much work keeping you upright however, more muscle groups are recruited. For working your quads, hamstrings, and your glutes, this exercise is ideal.
Leg presses are great for really blasting your quads and hamstrings, and what’s more, by simply adjusting the position of your foot on the machine, you can actually target different muscle groups in your legs. A lot of people prefer to finish off their leg training sessions by burning their legs out on the leg press machine, and as the quads have been found to respond so favorably to high rep training, this may not be a bad call.
The hack squat machine is another underutilized machine in the gym when it comes to training legs, and that is such a shame. Hack squats make a great addition to any leg training session, and they are perfect for those who struggle to below parallel with regular/front barbell squats. Hack squats are great for working the glutes, hamstrings, and the quads.
Dumbbell walking lunges
Dumbbell walking lunges simply must be included in your training sessions if you’re serious about building up your leg muscles. This is because walking lunges are compound exercises that will target every major muscle group in your legs, including your calves. By holding a dumbbell in each arm and then lunging forwards, more balance, flexibility, and coordination is required, making the exercise a great deal more difficult, and thereby resulting in the recruitment of more muscle fibers:
– Barbell front squats: 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps
– Hack squats: 4 sets of 12 – 14 reps
– Dumbbell walking lunges: 4 sets of 10 reps per leg
– Leg press: 4 sets of 15 – 20 reps, going to absolute failure on the final set