These Essential Leg Day Exercises Will Help to Maximize Your Lower Body Training

If you’re being honest, leg day can get kind of stale.

It’s not always fun—but as the saying goes, you should never, ever skip it when the lower body comes up on the training plan. After all, your legs are at least half your body, and they account for some of the biggest, most important muscles of the body. Boring leg days come from boring exercises, so you should look to freshen up your routine.

If you’ve been using the same training plan with the same repetitive moves from the beginning of your training journey, you’ve probably hit a plateau. Try implementing these moves into your workouts to reenergize your leg day. If you’re already using these exercises, great–pay close attention to the video for tips to make sure you’re doing them the best possible way for safe, effective training.

Goblet Squats
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

“The goblet squat can help you pack on size, build total body strength and hit your core more than you realize,” says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Hold the weight up high, with your elbows up. Create tension in your midback and make sure your shoulders are engaged. For your lower body, your feet should be shoulder width apart with your toes turned out and your glutes squeezed. Lock in your core to prevent you from leaning forward. Push your butt back and keep everything nice and tight at the bottom of your squat, opening up your knees. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before pushing up.

Back Squats
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

The back squat will add size, strength and power to your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

To do them right, lower under the bar and pull into the bar, mimicking a lat pulldown which engages your upper back and shoulders. Do not let the bar rest on your neck. Keep your hands and elbows forward for a little bit of external rotation. Lift up from your knees, not your hips. Your feet should be wider than shoulder width with your toes pointed out. As you squat, push back your butt and turn on your glutes as you keep your chest up. Your thighs should be right below parallel and spread your knees open as you squat. Keep your gaze straight ahead or toward the ground. As you power up, squeeze your glutes.

Front Squats
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

The front squat hits your quads and core.

Using a clean grip, pull yourself into the bar, keeping your elbows forward as much as you can. The bar should only rest on a few fingers on each hand. Keep the bar close to your neck resting on your shoulders. Or, you can use the bodybuilder grip. With the bar resting on your shoulders, lock your hands on opposite shoulders. Keep your elbows up and chest high. Lower into your squat until your quads are parallel to the ground. Hold for 1 second at the bottom with your weight in heels. Press up all the way.

3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

The lunge is a unilateral move that gets you moving.

Holding your dumbbells at your hips, squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and in, looking straight ahead. Keep your chest up. Keep a right angle in your front and back leg. As you step forward, angle your knee out slightly, and don’t track over it. Land with your heel first to cerate a nice strong base. Prevent your back knee from hitting the ground. If you feel any knee pain, consider switching to the reverse lunge, stepping back.

Bulgarian Split Squat
3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

The Bulgarian split squat will hammer your glutes, hamstrings and quads at once.

To start, get in a position where you find one leg in a vertical shin position on a weight bench and the other leg with your foot planted into the ground. Drive your ribcage in, look straight ahead and squeeze your shoulder blades. Don’t overarch your back. Stand up. Keep your shin vertical to the ground the entire time. Keep your glute active and drive up. Don’t drive forward with your knee. The back knee shouldn’t hit the ground as you lower and power up.

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