5 Leg Workouts You Shouldn't Skip and Why
Tempted to skip leg day? Exercise your better judgment and keep powering through! Try these leg workouts to improve strength, stability, and endurance.
Have you been skipping leg day? It may be impacting your fitness more than you realize. Neglecting leg workouts can lead to imbalances in your physique, especially in your lower body. When you lose strength and power in this area, you can become more vulnerable to injury, limited in your performance, and unable to support your muscles up top.
So, which leg workouts should you be doing? Well, it largely depends on your personal goals. There's no one-size-fits-all routine that works for everyone. However, these five workouts can jumpstart your lower body .
They help build strength, stability, and functional movement, making participation in day-to-day activities like stair-climbing easier. And as unilateral (single-leg) exercises, these also help improve muscle symmetry by correcting strength imbalances. Plus, they can all be modified to suit your needs better. Perfect if you're feeling a bit rusty!
Step-ups seem basic, but they can do wonders for your knees, hips, and if you practice them with proper form. You can make them more challenging by adding weights (or resistance bands) to your workout or increasing the height of your platform. But standard step-ups – like on stairs – do plenty, too. They effectively strengthen your lower body while improving stability and balance. They're a must if you want to boost functional movement in your legs.
2. Sissy Squats
This exercise takes its name from the Greek myth of Sisyphus, which tells the story of the once-great king pushing a boulder up a hill. To perform this squat, you must use the full might of your quadriceps as if you were maneuvering something hefty up an impossible incline. It also works out your hip flexors, engages the core, and improves balance. Try this if standard squats aren’t doing enough for your quads – but be warned that it’s not for the faint of heart.
A regular sissy squat takes practice. It requires you to lift your heels, stand on the balls of your feet, and lean back slowly while bending at the knees. Slowly but surely, you bend backward as far as possible without touching the ground. Yes, it'll look like you're doing the limbo – but you'll feel the burn in your quads right away.
3. Nordic Hamstring Curls
This one primarily targets the hamstrings. One of its most common applications is as a rehabilitation exercise for those with injuries in that area. It focuses on strengthening and lengthening the hamstrings to decrease the risk of injury in those muscles, the knees, and the . On top of that, this curl also improves balance, coordination, and flexibility.
It's best to perform this exercise with a workout buddy to help you maintain proper form. Alternatively, you can use weights (placed over your feet and ankles) or a solid bar to keep your shins flat on the ground. Start slowly, gradually increasing the number of sets as you build your strength and expand your range of motion.
4. Bulgarian Split Squats
This variation of a single-leg squat is also known as the split squat. It requires the use of a sturdy surface for back leg elevation. It focuses on the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves while engaging the core and upper body. When you do it right, you should feel the burn in your front leg – your back leg is mainly there for added balance and support. With consistency, split squats should also help you deepen .
5. Romanian Deadlift
This lift mainly trains the muscles in the posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. But it also strengthens your upper back, traps, and forearms. It's a great leg day workout for those who want to continue training their back and arms. As a hip-hinge exercise, it also helps with improving hip mobility.
Compared to traditional , Romanian deadlifts put extra emphasis on your hamstrings. Stronger hamstrings can enhance athletic performance, especially in sports that require explosive power and speed, like track and field, soccer, and basketball.
No exercise regimen is complete without post-workout ! Make sure to stretch out your legs to help with recovery later. Next, round out your post-workout routine by hopping in the shower to freshen up before calling it a day.
Use the CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men to wash away the grime from your grind, then cool down with the Master All-Day Active Clay Wash Cool Rush. Finally, all that’s left to do is congratulate yourself for powering through your leg workouts! Hey, now that you know exactly what to do, you may even start looking forward to leg day.