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The 5 Best Leg Exercises Workout

"Leg day" the very phrase conjures up images of nausea, days of hobbling, and legs that feel like jello. The feelings may be universal, but bodybuilders looking to annihilate legs have countless workout options at their disposal. While most workouts start with some variation of the squat widely acclaimed as the best lower-body movement exercise choice, foot position, and advanced training techniques all allow you to emphasize one particular area of the legs over others. That's great if you want to thicken up your quads, fill out your glutes, or beef up your hamstrings because of a weakness or simply because you want to prioritize an area for a length of time.

front squat

Set a barbell on a power rack at about shoulder height. Grab the power with an overhand grip at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips. Your elbows should be all the way up throughout the movement. Step back and set your feet at shoulder width with toes turned out slightly. Squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back.

hack squat

When it comes to lower-body focused exercises, free weight barbell squats are king. But the Smith lends itself to another version of the squat that is of great value: the hack.

“Hack squats are easy to perform in a Smith and you can really target the muscles of your quads,” says David Sandler, MS, CSCS. “I do six sets – two with my feet really wide, two with a normal stance, and two with a narrow stance. And since the bar is controlled, I take it as deep as possible, well below parallel to crushing-soda-cans-with-your-butt depth. Step out so that you are on slight angle leaning back slightly against the bar. Take your time, tighten your core and hit 12 good deep reps for 4-5 sets.”

The Dumbbell Leg Thrasher

Have you ever gone to the gym and the squat rack or barbells were taken? This workout gives you an alternative route to take with just a set of dumbbells and some hard work. If you put in the work and rest no more than 15 seconds between exercises, you’ll soon notice the soreness in those legs. Just make sure you come ready to sweat, because this high intensity lower body circuit is a combination of calorie torching and big muscle-building moves.

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds, rest 15 seconds and move on to the next. Once you've completed the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and begin again. Do three circuits total

Lying Leg Curls

 Adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the leg curl machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches under the calves). Tip: Preferably use a leg curl machine that is angled as opposed to flat since an angled position is more favorable for hamstrings recruitment.
Keeping the torso flat on the bench, ensure your legs are fully stretched and grab the side handles of the machine. Position your toes straight (or you can also use any of the other two stances described on the foot positioning section). This will be your starting position.
As you exhale, curl your legs up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the pad. Once you hit the fully contracted position, hold it for a second.
As you inhale, bring the legs back to the initial position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

seated calf raise

Use a seated calf raise machine, or sit on a bench and rest the balls of your feet on a block or step (and hold dumbbells on your thighs for resistance). Perform a calf raise as described at left, but with hips and knees bent 90 degrees.