Working your legs is one of the best ways to lose fat and gain strength, so it’s definitely important to have a good repertoire of exercises you can call on anytime you’re ready to make it an intense day at the gym.
We asked our five experts about their favorite leg exercises and compiled quite a list! From squats to deadlifts, with these exercises, hopefully you’ll always have a great way to strength train your legs to gain muscle.
Best Leg Exercises To Build Muscle #1 – Glute Bridge
Best Leg Exercises To Build Muscle #2 – Back Squats
I think the top 5 leg exercises for building muscle are also the top 5 exercises for losing fat, or gaining strength, so really they are my top 5 favorite leg exercises in general.
I think it’s important to understand an exercise can only help you build muscle in the context of a workout that has sufficient volume and intensity that is combined with eating a surplus of calories. In other words, you can have a “muscle building” workout that won’t help you build an ounce of muscle if you eat less calories than you burn. In fact, some of my favorite fat loss types of workouts can double as muscle building, because the only thing that needs to change is the calorie intake.
With that said, here are my top 5:
– Marc Perry ,CSCS, CPT
Best Leg Exercises To Build Muscle #3 – Front Squats
Best Leg Exercises To Build Muscle #4 – Deadlifts
Best Leg Exercises To Build Muscle #5 – Deadlifts
Deadlifts – King of exercises here. Whether it is used with a trap bar variation, rack pull, or any other variation, it is bound to fry not only your legs, but also grip, upper back and traps, and of course your hips. All around great stimulus for building muscle.
Back Squat – Second if not also another highly coveted exercise for building muscle. A few studies have actually been published on the affect of exercise hormones and back squat in relation to a total rep max percentage, and one in particular has noted that the higher up the volume and rep max percentage, the more neuro-endocrine response.
Lunges – Pick your poison – reverse, forward, even lateral. The potential for loading is almost infinite – you can hold dumbbells, kettle bells, use a barbell, or even a sandbag if you want to get a little crazy! The variety that one can use with lunges is what attracts me in terms of splitting up a leg routine.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats – These particular lunges are saved for the advanced folk – the extra height, different leverage, and balance required are all what make this exercise relatively difficult. Once you gain the requisite balance, you can really get the glutes, quads, and hammies going with this one.
Barbell Hip Thrusts – Because of the leverages used in this exercise, it is very easy to add weight to this exercise. At the same time, we want to be sure we are using the correct form for this – and not hyperextending our back during the movement. If we apply these principles, we can certainly get a great response out of the exercise – and develop a great looking posterior at the same time!