Leg Muscles: 11 Amazing Exercises To Build Yours!
If you’re into Muay Thai or the MMA sports, having a muscular lower body is essential for you.
This is quite understandable given that sometimes you’ll need to use your knees and legs to strike your opponent. Having a strong base can help you earn as many knockouts in the ring as you can imagine.
With that said, you’ll need to engage your legs muscles in exercises to help you work all your core leg muscles and gain the leg strength you need.
In today’s post, we want to share with you the 11 proven leg muscle exercises that will help you build massive legs in a short time.
Let’s get into the details right away:
1. Leg Press
The leg press exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
To perform leg press, you sit squarely in your leg press machine and then place your feet on the sled such that shoulder-width distance separates them.
With your lower back pressed against the pad and chest up, unlatch your sled from safeties (with great care). Bend your knees to make it easy for you to lower the platform, making sure to stop before the glutes rise off the pad.
From that position, extend your knees in a powerful manner to help you press up the weight (avoid locking your feet out at the top).
2. Leg Extension
This exercise works your quadriceps muscles and requires you to have the leg extension machine w/leg pad by your side.
How to do it:
Sit on your leg extension machine such that your back aligns with your support and knees stay perpendicular to the floor. Gently hold the handlebars at the side of your machine.
Breathe out and use your legs part to raise the leg pad upwards; this allows you to straighten the knees before you.
Now take a breath and return to your starting position by bringing the leg down once more.
Repeat the above process to do another rep.
WARNING: This exercise isn’t recommended for folks with knee problems. Also, we recommend you to perform it under the supervision of an experienced fitness coach.
3. Leg Curls
To perform leg curls, commonly known as seated leg curls, you’ll also need a machine. This will offer your feet a substantial resistance that helps develop your hamstrings.
How to do it: position yourself on the leg curl machine such that your back gets aligned straight to the support pad. Ensure the machine adjustments are fixed as per your height.
Ensure your knee stays perpendicular to the ground with the lower leg being right in front of the machine, e.g., pad. And then hold on to the lap pad safety handlebars.
Lift your legs so that they appear entirely straight before you (this should act as your standing position). Next, pull the leg pad back by bending your knees and hold on for seconds.
Breathe out and go back to the original position, and do another rep.
4. Front Squat
The front squat exercise requires having the bar in front of you and not on your back. The primary aim of this exercise is to make your quadriceps work a bit harder than the hamstrings.
Unlike the back squat, this exercise requires you to engage extra core strength to maintain an upright position.
Check the video below on how to perform the front squat correctly:
5. Dumbbell Squat
This is a compound exercise that goes a long way in strengthening your lower body, including the hips, quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
To do dumbbell squats, simply hold your weight at shoulder level. Ensure you stand with your feet around shoulder width apart, and the toes slightly turned out.
Squat down to the lowest possible position, making sure you don’t lose your lower back arch.
6. Jump Squat
This is one of the few exercises for your legs that do not require you to use any equipment but will effectively condition your muscles and help you build powerful legs.
To do jump squats correctly, stand with your feet apart (a shoulder-width distance is recommended) and squat the thighs appear parallel to the ground.
From that position, jump as high as possible. And land with soft knees.
Move on to the next rep.
7. Bulgarian Split Squat
If you over elevate your back leg and place it on a higher platform, you end up reducing your front leg stability and even limit your overall strength potential. This posture can also subject the spine to unnecessary stressing while putting your injury risk.
The solution to this can be found in the Bulgarian split squat, an exercise that primarily targets your glutes and quadriceps.
How to do it: with both hands holding a dumbbell, step forward with one foot as you make your rear foot rest on a higher platform/bench. Ensure the top of the raised foot faces down.
Now bend your front knee to help lower yourself, and ensure your knee doesn’t track in advance of the toes. (In case this happens, take an extended step out from your platform).
With your knee forming at least 90 degrees angle, reverse your motion and drive through your forward foot feel to go retreat to standing. Again, avoid locking the knee forcefully.
8. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
Though many strength trainers often overlook the Romanian deadlift, this killer deadlift variation acts as a great way of building bigger and stronger legs.
To do this deadlift, hold your barbell with shoulder-width grip, and then stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Bend the hips back as far as possible. Also, allows the knees to bend as necessary as you lower the barbell along your shins until the hamstrings stretch.
Be sure to maintain your lower back’s natural arched position through the entire process.
9. Standing Calf Raise
As the name suggests, the primary muscles worked in this strength exercise are the calves.
You can perform it using the standing calf raise machine or stand on a step or block with the dumbbell in one hand as your other hand hold on to something to get support.
Next, lower your heels to the floor direction until you feel your calves stretch.
Drive your feet balls into the footplate followed by contracting the calves—to raise your heels to the highest possible height.
Make sure you control the descent for every rep you do.
10. Suspension Trainer Leg Curl
This is a pretty simple exercise that involves resting your feet in your suspension trainer foot cradles, making sure your legs stay straight.
Next, bridge the hips up to let your body make a straight line, bend your knees, to curl your heels toward the butt.
Note that the closer your position your hands to the sides when performing this exercise, the higher the support you’ll gain.
11. Walking Lunge
Finally, we have the walking lunge, an exercise that also helps enhance the overall strength of your legs as well as your cores.
To do a walking lunge, stand holding a dumbbell in each and with your feet hip distance apart. Now step forward with one of your legs and start lowering your body until the rear knee nearly touches the floor as the front thigh aligns parallel to the floor.
Step forward using the rear leg to do the next rep.
If you want to obtain stronger legs and a more stable, powerful lower body or base, then we urge you to make the above exercises part of your routine.
As you can see from our discussion above, all these exercises will target your leg core muscles to help you meet your strength goals faster.
For the best results, we recommend you to choose a list of exercises that work out different muscles of your legs. This will ensure that every muscle of your legs gets targeted at the end of the day.